Consumerization is certainly a disruptive force, following a path similar to that of the PC decades ago, when it began to enter companies without the approval or influence of the IT department. But today, corporate employees are already accessing enterprise applications and data from home PCs, laptops, and smartphones, linking into cloud applications such as Salesforce.com (a customer relations management program), Gmail, Linux productivity tools, and server and storage offers from Amazon.com. They may also be compromising the safety of their work PCs by linking these programs and sites to their desktops inside the firewall. In other words, IT’s resistance is doing little to maintain its control.
The only way that organizations can get out of this vicious circle — of more bespoke IT driving higher costs with little productivity return and employees driving the technology agenda under the radar of IT departments — is to forge a completely new way of looking at how technology is delivered within organizations. Such a change would mean elevating the chief information officer to the role of company technology strategist and leveraging the innovation, pace, and scale of the consumer market. Many blueprints for turning flaccid IT departments into models of efficiency have been created — and then shelved. They failed primarily because they were driven from the top with little consideration for the preferences of employees using the machines. Consumerization of technology offers another chance to finally wrestle down a problem that began, it could be said, decades ago in a Silicon Valley garage.