How Consumer Technology is Changing Enterprise Computing

Posted by Kris Lamberth

Jun 4, 2013 3:48:00 PM

Consumer TechnologyThat personal iPad you use to check your work email? It’s changing the very nature of enterprise computing.

That’s according to two big IT players who talked with the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg recently at the AllThingsD conference. Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers and Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, agreed that consumer technology in the form of BYODs has eroded the reluctance of IT services to adapt.

Mossberg called corporate IT “one of the most regressive forces in technology” and said it has stood in the way enterprise computing innovation by arguing that technology was too new, too different or too vulnerable to security breaches.

BYOD Breaks Through

The traditional reluctance to adopt consumer technology for enterprise use was aided by complex computing systems that lacked entry points for BYOD devices, Levie said.

Because of the cloud and mobile devices, however, there are now more entry points for Apple and Android devices, and people are demanding the flexibility to use them. That, in turn, has chipped away at IT’s reluctance to get on board.

“Finally, CIOs are getting around to the idea that I can sort of stand back and let that happen without me controlling or securing that,” Levie said, “or we can get on the front end of this trend and actually have a better way of managing that information, making it more secure, and hopefully improving the productivity of my business.”

Chambers: The Future is ‘Any Device to Any Content’

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, said the market will continue to move in the direction of “any device to any content.”

“What you’re seeing is a series of disruptions happening at a faster pace than I’ve seen in my career. The CEOs all are looking for innovation and they’re looking for speed of delivery of their products,” he said.

“So the role of corporate IT is starting to get embedded in their business strategy, whether it’s how they interface with their customers or how they interface with the supply chain or their own employees. Speed all of a sudden is the key ingredient.”

Large Organizations Are Changing

Levie said he sees evidence that the arrival of consumer devices is starting to change the corporate IT environment.

“The three biggest deals that we sold last year were all companies that were created in the 1800s,” he said. “So the most pragmatic, conservative – what you don’t think of as early-adopting companies – are beginning to make this shift. What we’ll see is the hundreds of billions of dollars that were spent on enterprise software that traditionally go into these legacy, complex environments are going to shift to simpler solutions.”

The panelists said as CEOs shift their emphasis to speed, they’ll either look to their CIOs or IT consulting help to lead the charge. CIOs who don’t want to be left behind will respond, Chambers said, and in this environment not even security can be an excuse.

“BYOD trumps security,” he said. “You’ve got to get ahead of this and say how do you make it so you can access whatever data you want from wherever it is –whether it’s stored in the public cloud, your own cloud or down to the device level? That’s going to be the future of technology.”

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Topics: IT Support, Managed IT Services, BYOD

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