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5 Reasons why CIOs can't ignore consumerization of IT

Paul D'Arcy, Executive Director, Americas Marketing, Dell Large Enterprise | March 1, 2011
Social media's emergence as a key business app is just one of the trends that have led to a point of no return on consumer IT. Dell's Paul D'Arcy explains -- and shares how CIOs can plan for and benefit from the consumerization of IT.

5. Employee expectations of corporate IT are changing. Desirable hires don't want to give up their devices, weakening the recruitment and retention abilities of companies who refuse to accommodate them. Imagine how a 2011 college grad reacts when she arrives at her new desk and turns on her PC to discover that it's running a locked-down version of an operating system that was first released when she was 12.

As these trends collide, consumerization moves from being something we all have talked about for years to a crucial a business decision. And savvy CIOs are making this a business issue because technology is becoming a talent issue. From recruiting and employee satisfaction, to driving brand reputation, to enabling new business models, employee technology a business issue, not an IT policy debate.

Today's consumerization trends are yet to peak, which means that the pressure for change in most IT organizations will only intensify. Businesses who react thoughtfully and decisively now will reap benefits for the rest of the mobile era and beyond. How?

Articulate your company's end user workplace and technology philosophy and use that as a basis for setting a consumerization strategy. Recognize that IT security and data protection policies that restrict the use of personal devices and social media applications may actually increase security and data loss risk. Begin evolving security policies to protect data in a workplace whose employees are using a variety of devices and applications.

Liberalize rules that prohibit business use of employee-owned technology in your own environment, starting with smartphones. Launch enterprise applications that mimic the best aspects of consumer communication and social media within your worker community. Pilot company-paid or employee-owned tablets with field workers and executives to see if they can replace other devices.

Communicate a clear point of view on company versus employee cost-sharing. Develop a business case for incremental investment by linking end user technology strategy with human resource planning, facilities planning, and business strategy. Consider desktop virtualization and other new technologies to reduce security and data loss risks as the demand for consumerization grows. Confront the software licensing implications of consumerization to ensure compliance. Finally, avoid end user stipends; the goal is to allow employees to use the devices they already prefer, not to shift the purchasing decision onto them.

The heart of the consumerization trend is human desire; people want to work the way they live, using the Internet to facilitate relationships and communication. It's also the foundation for the next wave of business. Companies that adapt quickly and thoughtfully to change the relationship between employees and the IT department will be better able to attract talent, execute new business models, and enhance competitiveness. So why fight it?


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