Ten Things I Think I Think About...The Consumerization of IT (part 1) 
Published: Oct-31-11

      Welcome back to the Accenture Internal IT Blog and my third in a series of posts about IT topics.  The concept of "I think I think" is to reflect my developing opinions and general uncertainties on these matters. The people who frighten me the most in our industry are those who are completely certain. IT is as much art as science – there are very rarely answers in the back of the book (even for the odd ones).

1)    Consumers drive enterprise IT innovation. And have for the last three decades. For virtually my entire career in IT, I’ve been trained to think that technological innovation has always been the bailiwick of big business. Corporations had the bucks to invest in the latest and the greatest new tools, our purchases drove innovation among manufacturers and there was very little reason to think that this situation would ever be different. Sure, the PC revolution was driven by the consumer, but that was a one-hit wonder, like Nena’s 99 Luftballoons. OK, maybe the consumer (along with academia) drove the adoption of the web, but we (the corporation) were just about to pounce. Alright, instant messaging snuck up on e-mail and surprised many. And yes, we’ve joined the legions of big corporations who now have an internal version of Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and the like. We were wrong about IT innovation. The real downside of us being fooled about where IT innovation comes from? We have fought the innovation every step of the way L.

2)    It’s called the Consumerprise. Get used to it. A few statistics confirm what we all already know, that consumers’ enthusiastic embrace of new tools is where the action is today. IDC predicts 330 million smartphones and 42 million computer tablets like the iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab will be sold worldwide in 2011. The explosion of tablets, social networking and other thrilling innovations has been so rapid and so massive that it has forced most corporations to play catch-up. 37 percent of Millennials say state-of-the-art technology is a vital consideration in selecting an employer. So we in Accenture’s IT shop and our IT colleagues in other enterprises are working like crazy to make sure the tools our employees have come to expect at home and in their social networks are also available in their workplace.

3)    You can’t be afraid. But a sizable contingent of IT professionals are more concerned about the chills and spills than the thrills of consumerization. 80% of IT professionals oppose the use of consumer IT in the workplace, according to IDC. And Accenture research on Millennial-generation workers found that 66% don’t abide by corporate IT policies anyway. The #1 Myth of Enterprise Collaboration? “The Enterprise chooses the collaboration tools.”

Who is going to win this argument? I invite your comments. Come back in two weeks to read #4 - #7 of Ten Things I Think I Think About…The Consumerization of IT. If you want to read any of my prior Ten Things I Think I Think About blog, click here.

I fundamentally agree with everything you wrote. I like the Cosumerprise term. The one thing sticking point with the consumer tools bleeding/driving into IT is the security implications. Most consumer tools don't really have to worry about corporate security -- folks like you do. So, it seems like finding the best ways to embrace the innovation driven by consumers by putting the right safeguards in place so that officers of the company don't show up on Page 1 of the WSJ because of confidential information leaking out via consumer tools.
Adam McClow   |   Nov-09-11   |  10:59 AM

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