No denying productivity benefits of enterprise device consumerization

AS BYOD and BYOC mentalities abound in this age of cloud computing and mobile devices, there is no denying the productivity benefits to be gained by following enterprise device consumerization trends.

IT directors, managers, CIOs and CTOs are being bombarded with one change after another in the technology space, but smart CIOs are beginning to recognize the various benefits than can be garnered if they follow the current enterprise device consumerization trends. For a while, they managed to stay in nominal control of the direction their organizations headed with each new change. But now, they are barreling down the river of consumerization on a raft without a rudder. If they want to avoid being swept away or capsized, they'd better learn to kayak.

If an enterprise app store is unresponsive, it will just be another resource employees ignore.

IT agrees consumerization can be beneficial

In 2011, Microsoft published a report from Forrester Consulting about the attitude and actions of IT in relation to consumerization. According to the surveys and interviews conducted by Forrester, "IT perceptions regarding consumerization are overwhelmingly positive, but concerns exist regarding IT's ability to selectively embrace consumerization where appropriate, while also overcoming its associated security, compliance, liability, software licensing, and infrastructure compatibility challenges."

The IT leaders questioned by Forrester agree that consumerization has the potential to increase productivity and lighten the IT workload. IT is learning to more fully understand the business implications of new technology. The type of software and hardware that users self-select is often more suitable for achieving business goals and enhancing workflow than those traditionally procured and provided by enterprise IT. As IT leaders realize the benefits to the organization, they are finding ways to support consumerization instead of fighting it.

Changing roles and responsibilities

Users are learning to accept that the more they rely on their own devices and non-enterprise apps, the less support they should expect from IT in troubleshooting or managing their hardware and software. They wanted self-service, now they are getting it. That doesn't mean IT is totally hands off. The Forrester report details how IT is helping implement the BYOC trend in particular by morphing existing enterprise infrastructure and software to be more consumer friendly. "An overwhelming 83% of IT managers embraced desktop and/or application virtualization as a means to enable their BYOC program." This approach allows IT to keep devices at arm's length since they can "separate and centralize user settings, data, applications, and even the operating system (OS) from the device". Cloud computing and SaaS are other core technologies IT is using to give consumers what they crave without taking on too much additional responsibility.

From half hug to cozy clinch

With 50% of employers expected to make BYOD mandatory by 2017, IT is getting a crash course in facing its fears. According to Gartner, IT is quickly coming to grips with the issues that initially caused it to be commitment-phobic about BYOD. Security is turning out to be less of a deal breaker than initially thought as the marketplace has risen to the occasion in creating enterprise-class solutions. "IT is catching up to the phenomenon of BYOD. More than half of organizations rate themselves high in security of corporate data for enterprise-owned mobile devices. This new confidence in the security posture to support BYOD is a reflection of more-mature tools and processes that address myriad needs in the security area." As mobile devices are increasingly worker-owned rather than enterprise owned, CIOs are learning to control what they can, create policies for what they can't, and have the wisdom to know the difference. "It is essential that IT specify which platforms will be supported and how; what service levels a user should expect; what the user's own responsibilities and risks are…"

You want apps? We've got apps

The enterprise app store is another new concept that Gartner expects to expand substantially in the next few years. Since half the battle over BYOD is really about BYOA (bring your own apps), IT leaders are cottoning on to the fact that delivering the apps workers crave could solve a lot of problems. "Enterprise app stores promise greater control over the apps used by employees, greater control over software expenditures and greater negotiating leverage with app vendors." Rather than relying on traditional enterprise software solution providers who tend to move and adapt slowly, organizations are turning to MDM vendors to get their app stores off the ground. Such stores need to keep fresh stock on the virtual shelves and be highly responsive to user feedback if they want to be relevant. If an enterprise app store is unresponsive, it will just be another resource employees ignore.

How is enterprise device consumerization changing the way your organization manages IT? Let us know.

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