I have recently been asked a few times, by multiple companies, for my thoughts on the trend for consumerism of IT, and more importantly what it means for IT departments. This is likely due to consumerism being up there as one of what seem to be the top three buzz terms at the moment;
– Consumerism of IT
– BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Putting cloud to one side for a moment as I like to cover that separately, consumerism of IT and BYOD are to me very linked so let’s discuss them both together.
First I’ll briefly cover what consumerism and BYOD are, then in a subsequent post I’ll give my thoughts on their current and future impacts on IT (or ICT as is now becoming the more common term) departments.
What is Consumerism of IT?
– Consumerism of IT is concerned with the blurring of the lines between consumer and business IT devices. Obvious examples include smartphones that can easily provide access to both personal and work emails from a single device, and tablet PCs such as the iPad that can be used for viewing and updating business presentations and emails along with consuming media and accessing the internet as a personal device. The fact that devices like these have been driving change in the business world via their use as consumer devices is leading to the consumerism of IT.
What is BYOD?
– BYOD refers to the moves of some businesses / IT departments to allow users to bring their own equipment such as a laptop rather than using company owned laptops. As an example; this is often part of a program where the company would provide a budget for the staff to purchase a laptop, with certain rules such as 3 year extended support must be bought, the staff would then be able to use the laptop as both their own personal device and as their business laptop. This can also often applies to other devices such as tablets and most commonly phones / smartphones.
While technically the two things can be taken in isolation it is the consumerism that aids BYOD in many circumstances – if smartphones couldn’t easily sync to business and personal email systems at the same time there would be limited desire from users to make use of a BYOD phone policy. However this ability enables users to carry a single rather than multiple phones so has obvious benefits to them while also offering business benefits such as lower costs and reduced management overhead.