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BLOG: The effects of consumerisation on the CIO

Craig Dower | Jan. 20, 2012
Steps that companies and CIOs should take to unlock the benefits of the consumerisation of IT.

The enterprise workplace environment is being reshaped as the boundaries between corporate and personal lives blur. Smartphones, tablets and laptops, as well as social networks and online services that employees use outside the workplace are increasingly being used in business. This consumerisation of IT is definitely affecting CIOs today - on one hand, CIOs need to manage and secure technology for the business but on the other hand, they have to support end-users' desire to bring personal devices and services into the workplace. For CIOs, this shift means that they are no longer in complete control of the organisation's IT environment.

Progressive CIOs and IT organisations have moved from gatekeepers of consumer technology to enablers of these innovative devices, applications and services. Because of this, CIOs have an opportunity to transform the role of IT from a reactive, risk-mitigation function into strategic enablers that leverage the breadth of today's powerful consumer technologies to drive business productivity.

So what steps should companies and CIOs take to unlock the benefits of the consumerisation of IT?

1.       Understand and Optimis: Before building a roadmap for consumerisation of IT, IT leaders need to understand the impact this trend has on their organisation. Who are the employees using personal technologies in the enterprise and how are they using them? Where do they work from and what devices and applications do they need to do their job? 

With this information in hand, IT leaders can develop a plan based on these insights that enables the company to optimise consumer technologies for their business needs. This includes identifying and prioritising employee segments, defining work responsibilities and access requirements, and aligning the applications and devices that, if implemented, could improve productivity. This step also includes establishing training for employees and IT staff that can help accelerate implementation and improve business performance.

2.       Build and Extend: Once enterprises have a clear picture of the requirements of their employee population, the current state of consumer technologies coming into their company and a plan for how they will align with the future state, they should start building the core applications and services needed to enhance employee performance.

For example, the value of consumer technologies is vastly under-leveraged today. Most employees do not have access to the same business data on personal devices as they do on their company-issued computer. CIOs have an opportunity to create a seamless experience on these devices and leverage the diverse capabilities of these technologies (e.g. small form factor, location awareness, built-in camera and GPS). This does not necessarily mean a "rip and replace" of current applications, rather it is about extending existing investments to capitalise on the new way employees work.


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