One of the most misunderstood and overused buzzword today is consumerization of IT (or CoIT). Its hype has been further fueled by the fact that 2013 has been predicted to be the year of the consumer.
The issue is that the most enterprises approach the C-word with a reckless abandon, and start putting policies around it as an afterthought.
What is CoIT?
It is important to understand that Consumerization does not equate to a free-for-all paradigm where employees are allowed to do anything they like. Such an approach will inevitably end up in failure.
CoIT is understanding the patterns of usage of the mobile devices, apps, hardware, software, and services in the personal lives of the employees, and trying to replicate those patterns in the enterprise. The focus in not just what technology is used, or how it is used, but also how people interact with technology.
The aim is to make the employees feel empowered in making technology choices, while understanding their responsibilities towards the enterprise.
What not to do?
Approaching Consumerization without a defined strategy is a recipe for disaster. Most enterprises fail because they strategize for it after the fact. While trying to imitate the consumer’s personal habits is important, replicating them is not the only solution. The emphasis should be on understanding why those patterns are what they are. Why do people buy what they buy, or use what they do.
Another mistake that companies make while embracing BYOD kind of practices is that they do not involve the IT teams in the decision making. IT needs to support the landscape. It is like not telling a pilot that the controls on his plane have all changed, and expecting him to fly it, and land safely. It might happen, but it’s highly unlikely.
Further, an important aspect of the process generally overlooked is the user training and communication. The users are unaware of the policies governing the use of personal devices at work, their responsibilities, and consequences of their actions.
Lastly, most organizations fail to understand that IT support for new consumer devices is not the only thing that matters. What matters is how users interact with technology, and how IT interacts with business.
What to do?
For your Consumerization initiative to be successful, it has to be strategic, not an afterthought. First, time should be spent in understanding what the users do in their personal technology persona. Then, a strategy needs to be formed around how to best implement those practices in the enterprise. This exercise should include the business leadership, IT leadership, and a pilot user group. Key decisions need to be taken around what devices will be allowed, how will they be managed, what access permissions will the users have, who will control the policies, liability clauses, data protection policies, mobile device management tools, user training schedules etc. need to be taken. Post the strategy, a pilot group needs to be identified, and a controlled launch executed. Post a successful proof of concept, a general availability can be done, with the appropriate training and evangelization.
Perhaps the most far-reaching change that the Consumerization of IT has nurtured is the potential change in the relationship between IT and the business. As IT moves to a position of greater flexibility with its user base, it also can improve and deepen the relationship it has with business managers. It should be seen as an enabler of technology innovation, and can thereby be a supporter of new, more flexible business models. This can lead to greater collaboration and less rigidity in the relationships between IT and the business, with the final result that IT is be tter able to support the needs of the business for improved growth.
This was a guest article from Jennifer Lewis.
The author works with one of the best enterprise app development company. The mobile application development Dallas firm has created over 300 apps for clients including Cisco, Cienna, and Verizon. It is also one of the reliable mobile application development companies Noida.