Think the updates Apple announced for its popular smart watch won’t affect your IT department? If so, only 7.6 percent of your fellow IT professionals agree.
Of course, it isn’t just the new Apple Watch. It’s the latest smartphone, tablet or the next gadget to captures consumers’ hearts. As technology becomes more available and affordable to consumers, IT in the workplace will have to change.
How will technology consumerization affect your IT strategy over the next five years?
1. Bring-you-own-device – of course
The most obvious effect is almost fact: bring-your-on-device or BYOD. We’ve discussed the trend of employees using personal devices within the enterprise and the dilemma it creates for IT. Employees want and are willing to purchase the latest-and-greatest themselves, rather than wait on IT. That means a change in IT spending. Instead of buying and servicing corporate devices, we’ll budget for expertise to support an ever-wider variety, as well as people and policies to secure them.
2. Miniaturization brings risk
The smaller the device, the harder it is to watch out for – and to prevent its improper use in the enterprise. Just as PCs gave way to laptops, laptops are giving way to tablets. While smartphones seem to growing instead of shrinking lately, compared to a bulky computer and monitor they are still tiny and inconspicuous. And when a USB thumb drive can hold a terabyte of data, it’s no wonder we worry about our information assets walking out the door unnoticed.
3. User expectations are way up
One of the most difficult challenges is the heightened user experience that consumer devices bring. These devices change the expectations for how technology should work. With simple interfaces and well-integrated applications, they make it obvious how disjoint and inconsistent IT applications really are. That’s no longer good enough when users have seen better. We’ll have to invest more money to buy or build apps like those consumers have come to expect.
4. IT service consumption – and delivery – goes personal
Increasingly consumers can go online and get services that used to require IT. For example, with a few clicks, they can get online storage or a new website, often for free. If IT won’t provide a simple way to share files or access them on another device, for example, employees will get their own — outside the corporate firewall. We have to get smarter and better about delivering our services, if we expect our internal users to use them.
5. Accommodation means changes everywhere
Perhaps all these other changes feed into this one. BYOD, security risks, user expectations and faster service delivery – to accommodate consumer technology means we have to change the way we work. If we expect employees to be available almost anytime and anywhere, we have to establish or revamp our mobile policies. The same goes for remote working and flexible work policies. As consumer technology becomes more mobile, available and consumer-friendly, that’s what employees expect – or they’ll go around us.
Consumerization of technology will change our IT game
Whether it’s the newest smart phone, a new tablet or even a hi-tech fashion statement, consumers love technology and what it allows them to do. True, a smart watch might not turn IT on it’s ear all by itself – at least not yet. One thing’s certain, though: next year’s models will drive even higher expectations on how technology can and should work. And that means we’ll have to keep reinventing how we deliver IT services to our users and customers.