In my most recent blog post, Social Media shaping thefuture of Marketing, I talked about how social media can help businesses reach their target audience. Social media is influencing both consumers and businesses. Herein lies the concept of consumerization of IT. “Consumerization of IT is a phrase used to describe the cycle of information technology emerging in the consumer market, then spreading to business and government organizations, largely because employees are using the popular ‘consumer market’ technologies and devices at home and then introducing them in the workplace” (webopedia.com). Consumerization of IT refers to the use of consumers’ electronics such as iPhones and tablets at work, as well as online services such as data storage, web mail, and social media. It is driven by employees who buy their own devices, use their personal online service accounts, install their own apps and connect to the corporate network with that device.

The label IT consumerization has been around since at least 2005 when Gartner Inc. stated that consumerization would be the most significant trend affecting IT in the next 10 years. Gartner traced the trend to the doc-com collapse, when IT budgets shrank and many IT vendors shifted focus to bigger consumer IT markets. This resulted in the way technology enters the marketplace. In the past, as with the desktop computer, new technology flowed from business to consumer, however, now the flow has been reversed and the consumer market often receives and buys the newest technology before the enterprise.

Consumerization of IT affects all companies no matter the industry and it affects all aspects of work, not just social media. Because of the way that technology enters the market, employees are often first to purchase the latest and greatest technology. For example, you may see some employees buying the latest smart watch, tablet, or iPhone, while the company itself is still utilizing older devices. With people spending a large amount of time on these newer devices, they come to expect certain functionality on enterprise applications. For example, they expect applications to be more streamlined, easy to use, and good to look at. This means that companies are then influenced by their employees, the consumers, to adapt the functionality of these IT systems, making them more similar in look, feel, and design to those in the market.

According to the IDG Enterprise press release last year, the proliferation of personal devices being used for work purposes has required the majority of organizations (82%) to make changes. The benefit of consumerization of IT is that it puts pressure on the organization to maintain a policy of innovation. When you have users constantly demanding the newest technology, organizations are forced to innovate.

There is a universal expectation that both enterprise IT applications and all digital marketing output have a similar look, feel, and design. With more organizations adopting the BYOD (Bring your own device) policies, continual adaptation to the technology trends is required. Some companies may be the innovators of digital design, but others need to be aware of the trend to keep up. Source One is well versed in these technology trends and we can help you evaluate whether or not your organization is innovating with consumer technology trends.
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Nicole Mahaffey

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