Take Advantage of the Consumerization of IT

  • May 1, 2014
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Late last year, the digital media company IDG Enterprise surveyed readers of their business and tech magazines (Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, CSO, ITworld, and CITEworld.) Researchers wanted to assess the impact of the “consumerization of IT” on small and large organizations. IDG Enterprise defines the consumerization of IT as the “propensity for users’ experiences with technology as consumers to impact their expectations regarding their technology experiences at work.”

Given trends in consumer technology, the fact that business people are using mobile devices to access various cloud services is no surprise. After all, statistics from the Pew Research Internet Project show more than half (58%) of all Americans carry smartphones, and the percentage (42%) of the population owning tablet computers is catching up to the same level. Add the fact that researchers at IHS predict the consumer cloud services market to climb to $1.3 billion by 2017, and it’s no surprise cloud and mobility issues loomed large in the IDG study.

What is surprising, however, is how large companies continue to outpace small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) in their investment and adoption of these “consumerized” technologies. In general, the IDG study found big companies were nearly 10% more willing to purchase and adopt mobile apps and cloud solutions for their organizations than their smaller counterparts.

That trend seems counterintuitive because, as argued in the ITinflections post “Why SMBs Should Be Better at Mobility than the Big Guys,” SMBs have a legacy of agility and flexibility that can lend competitive advantage over larger, more ponderous companies. Plus, small companies have a demonstrated penchant for “new technologies.” According to a recent eWEEK article, nearly three quarters of small business owners surveyed by Brother International and Score said new technologies will offer a bigger return on their investment than new employees in 2014.

So, how can SMBs take advantage of consumerized IT to regain competitive edge against the big guys? Here are three recommendations:

  • Plunge into the Cloud with Storage Services: With as many as 50 million servers worldwide accessible via the cloud, online backup services are more available and affordable than ever before. The computing support section of About.com maintains an Online Backup Comparison chart that lists several prominent providers and a few dozen common features. Read more about the advantages of cloud storage in the ITinflections post “Surviving Hard Drive Failures.”
  • Implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy: The title of one of last year’s ITinflections posts “Mobility is No Longer Just an Option for Most Businesses (It’s a Requirement)” speaks volumes. What better way to take advantage of the devices consumers – i.e., your employees –already own than to allow them to bring those devices to work and increase productivity? Read more ITinflections posts about managing BYOD here.

Work with an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP): Not only are MSPs tech companies, most are SMB organizations, too. So by nature MSPs live on the front lines of the consumerization of IT and are designing cloud and mobility services to make the most of this trend. How? Learn more in this section of ITinflections.

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ITinflections is a blog that covers a wide range of technology-based articles IT in the workplace, focusing on small- to medium-sized businesses.

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