This article is the fourth in a series featuring our commentary on each of the Big 5 IT Trends of the Next Half Decade (original article from ZDNet). The third IT Trend is Consumerization of IT. I recently interviewed Richard Baker, Account Manager of Nexxtep Technology Services, to get his thoughts on what consumerization is and what it means for businesses.
In your own words, what is consumerization?
I would describe it as the “Apple-fication” of everything.
What do you mean by that—“Apple-fication”?
People are bringing technology from home into the workplace. In the past, the best software and devices were made for the enterprise and eventually made their way to consumers. Now, it’s the opposite; the best, easiest and fastest technologies are released to the consumer first, and later become popular for business users. Some examples of consumerization are using iPads/tablets for work, instant messaging, and marketing on Facebook.
How do you think it’s affecting the workforce?
It simplifies things for the end-user, but it makes our jobs as technology consultants harder. There are so many things you need to look at when you’re evaluating an app, device or other technology. Just because something is easier and faster doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safer.
What do you think companies should do to manage the security risks involved with consumerization?
You have to evaluate new technologies from all angles. You can’t just say, “yes it will work on my phone, so I can use it at work too.” You need a technology advisor to at least have some input before you implement something in the enterprise that you’re using on your home PC or smartphone. Before you know it, your trade secrets could be all over the Internet. You don’t know where your data is going unless you do your due diligence of researching the technology and how it integrates with all of your other solutions.
What do you think the future holds with regard to consumerization?
I think the outlook looks good. It will eventually force enterprise software vendors to make applications that are easier to use and work on all platforms and devices. It’s going to be a good thing in the end; it’s just a matter of getting there safely.
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