People have become mobile across locations and through time. During the last decade, working remotely has become increasingly prevalent. Many of the world’s leading organizations, including British Telecom, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, IBM, and Accenture have already partially or fully eliminated traditional offices. This trend will accelerate in the coming decades in response to the ongoing globalization of work, ever-increasing customer demands, and the cost and time of commuting. At the same time, remote employees as well as managers are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges associated with virtual work with regard to internal communication, social interaction, and employee satisfaction and commitment.
People are also becoming mobile workers because of the large demand for independent workers, changing the way jobs and careers are considered. Recent entrants to the workforce are seeking opportunities as vendors, thus controlling their own future. For enterprises, this change creates the opportunity to tap into a “people cloud” of flexible workers and respond more quickly to market demands.
Devices become mobile through advances in electronic technology that enable the development of smaller devices with more computing power and less power consumption at relatively low cost. Smartphones equipped with multi-core processing units and media tablets that easily fit into a handbag with ultra-low power consumption are the results of these advances. In its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, IDC forecasts that “smartphone demand will grow due to a confluence of factors such as the desire of users to replace feature phones with a more advanced/data-centric device while carriers want to increase the number of data plans.”
Applications become mobile through advances in software technology. Advances in operating systems and virtualization are enabling application portability, so that applications can operate across devices or even the cloud. Advances in web technology such as HTML 5 enable rich Internet applications that can be accessed from a wide range of devices. Applications are following the user, regardless of the platform, operating system, or the device.
Data becomes mobile through advances in connectivity, broad availability of wireless networks, and mobile networks across the globe. Data is flowing between devices and cloud services, which provides a common view to the user from different devices and locations.
Consumerization of IT strategies provides user-focused value to enterprises, highlighting productivity, availability, job satisfaction, and workforce retention. Modern employees demand choice in how they execute their jobs, and employers can use the consumerization of IT as an attractive, differentiating factor when recruiting.
In addition, consumerization of IT strategies relieve IT personnel of many non-strategic activities, such as device purchasing, device handling, asset management, and provisioning. These operations can be performed outside the organization and reduce operational expenses.
Although adopting a consumerization of IT strategy provides many benefits, it also introduces risks that must be addressed. Designing a roadmap that includes methods for managing digital assets, security, and governance will provide the value of improving the security infrastructure of an enterprise.