It seems like we've been hearing about the consumerization of IT for a long time. It’s not old news; it’s evolving news.
Consumerization of IT is not just BYOD and the need to provide employees with nice user interfaces for their business apps, it’s the fact that employees have completely different expectations regarding their work devices and applications than they did just a few short years ago. Whereas IT used to be thought of as an enabler of increased productivity, today IT is more likely to be thought of as an inhibitor, a barrier to be bypassed.
With the right tools and strategies, IT can keep business data secure and return to its rightful place as enablers of increased productivity. I've described three common consumerization challenges faced by IT and offered some enabling solutions below.
1) Employees expect the same freedom to use their preferred technologies and applications that they enjoy in the personal lives. With an abundance of good, free and low-cost software-as-a-service apps that enable them to accomplish tasks easily, quickly and increase their productivity, is there any wonder why they’re bringing their own apps (BYOA) and not waiting for official IT-sanctioned tools or approvals?
Solution: Good Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) tools let IT support the Bring Your Own App (BYOA) trend while maintaining enterprise security, through authentication, access policy and enforcement, encryption, monitoring and other features.
2) In addition to the more generic business productivity apps like DropBox, employees also demand access to corporate data, whenever and wherever they wish to work. And with flexible working hours and global operations, this means your mobile business apps must be up-to-date and available 24/7.
Solution: Make sure your enterprise mobility solution offers pre-built certified connectors for your systems of record. Together with a code-free, metadata-based, drag and drop configuration will help IT deliver multiple mobile apps quickly, confidently and cost-effectively. Furthermore, make sure your mobile apps offer full offline functionality so your employees can continue to function even if they lose internet coverage.
3) Social networks and crowd-sourcing are becoming mainstream business tools. Once the domain of consumer brands, today even B2B businesses are taking part in social networks including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and others. In addition to marketing promotions, these networks are replacing traditional forms of market research, allowing businesses to get instant and inexpensive feedback by going immediately and directly to the source.
Solution: To gain maximum insight and value, social networks need to be connected to marketing, CRM and other business-critical systems. IT needs an integration platform that can handle unstructured data from these networks and be able to handle the vast amounts of big data they generate. An integration solution based on In-Memory Data Grid architecture provides the high capacity, high availability, and no-fail redundancy to do the job.
Above all, take in account the need for flexibility and return on investment. In today’s society, change happens at the speed of light. BlackBerry was the enterprise mobile leader a few short years ago and today it is clinging to life. Teenagers drove the life into Facebook, and today they are deserting it in favor of messaging and picture sharing apps such as WhatsApp, WeShare, Vine, and Instagram. Change is inevitable, and IT needs to make sure that the tools and solutions they implement can withstand the test of time.
The Chinese still have their five-year plans. The Soviets used to. In today’s environment, IT departments will be lucky if they have the opportunity to make a five month plan. Flexibility is going to be the key to success. They might also want to start taking up yoga -- to keep their bodies as agile as their IT systems.
Tania Amar is VP Global Marketing at Magic Software Enterprises Ltd.
Magic provides powerful and versatile enterprise-grade, application, enterprise mobility and data integration solutions.
This article was originally published on Wired InnovationInsight