April 3, 2010 will go down in history as the day that really turned the tide for modern IT Departments around the globe. This date 19 months ago may seem like a distant memory but it marked the day when IT Departments around the world had no choice but to stand up and take notice of the quiet revolution that had been going on all around them.
For those of you whose memory just isn’t what it used to be, April 3 was the release date of the 1st Generation iPad. The cute consumer device that started off as a quirky little nice to have that senior executives wanted to connect to the office network to a full blown must have item in less time than it takes a Tesla Roadster to go 0 – 60!
Now IT Departments had been struggling with the debate of iPhone vs Blackberry for a while now but the Consumerization of their department was really just in its infancy but then an onslaught occurs…knowledge workers not only start to expect that their fancy new MacBook or Samsung Tablet or well you name it can be brought from home, plugged into the the network or gain access to the WiFi and just work. The battle has gone on for the past 19 months with some companies embracing the fact that if the End User wants to buy their own equipment…then we just need to secure the network and let them have at it…with the caveat that the only support IT will provide will be the connection.
It is important to note that many of the wonderful process changing services that we now take for granted almost all started on the Consumer side…Gmail and Google Apps both are firmly planted on bridging the gap between Consumer Ease of Use and Enterprise Grade. No more License, no more Installs just a monthly service bill and a connection to the internet! Even Microsoft has joined into the fray including Nested Conversations in their latest iteration of the venerable Exchange Email Server.
Much talk of the Consumerization of IT has happened at the CIO level of major companies but in the heart of the Small to Mid-sized Enterprise their nimble cost conscious ways have permitted them to not only adopt this changing paradigm quickly but also embrace the near constant influx of “the Latest and Greatest”.
Even more impressive is the next generation of “Social Apps” that are emerging and becoming directly embedded into not only the business culture but into the very way that we do business. Chatter is a collaboration app for the CRM Salesforce.com, Facebook has quickly become one of the most heavily leveraged Marketing Platforms, Evernote replaces your desktop as a convenient place to store docs, photos, pdfs and web clippings that are accessible…well anywhere.
Just 19 months ago I don’t think even the late Steve Jobs knew what would happen at the close of business. There is no doubt that he had a glimmer of hope that it would be the next big thing but that his purely Consumer focused (hey you try and talk one of those Mac Geniuses to sell you 100 iPads all at once) device would have on an industry that spends more than $3.6 Trillion in 2011 (according to Gartner Research statistics).
Well for another day…it is time to cast of the aspirations of lounging on the sofa watching TV and to the daily grind…well not really a grind but with the 2 hour cat nap I had last night (yes I was up until 3:30 AM)…I am aloud to be a little cynical today.
Chris J Powell