The consumerization of Enterprise IT

When Apple or Google announce a product it grabs a lot of media attention. Isn’t this the news that excites you most? And everyone seems to dash off to the nearest Apple store (or the Google site) to experience their products and services. But when a vendor announces a new router or server there are much fewer takers. Let’s face it—a router isn’t as appealing as the latest touch screen device.

When companies allow employees to use their own computers or phones on premise, you know where to go to find the latest and greatest model in the office. And the company-issued desktop or laptop seems almost prehistoric in comparison to a personal device.

Apple announced a cool tablet PC this year. Now Cisco, a maker of Enterprise IT systems, announced the corporate version—its Cius tablet. You might also recall that Cisco acquired PureDigital, the maker of the revolutionary Flip personal video device. Webex is another acquisition. But desktop video calls and webcams were first used by consumers.

Social networking and Web 2.0 tools were created for user-to-user interaction. These are used for sharing thoughts, videos, photos and other digital documents with friends and family (consumers). Now the enterprise has latched on to Web 2.0 and social media—especially for digital marketing and social networking (corporate Wikis).

Google applications are hugely popular with consumers and home users. Now enterprise users are dumping applications they’ve used for years in favor of Google’s applications—Google Docs and Gmail are notable examples. While Google is not making a lot of money selling applications to businesses, Mathew Glotzbach, Director of Product Management, Google, confirmed it’s a fast growing business (See InformationWeek, July 2010).

I call all this the consumerization of Enterprise IT.

For this month’s cover story we explore how enterprise users will benefit from collaboration tools offered by Microsoft and Google.