Smart users take control

In his new Smart User blog, InfoWorld's Galen Gruman drills into the biggest trend of our era: the consumerization of IT

InfoWorld has always catered to those who are first to see the possibilities opened by new technology. Some people trot out the tired phrase "early adopters." We prefer "smart users," which we define as individuals who -- once they recognize the business potential of a new advancement -- take the initiative and go get it in an effort to improve their work lives.

Our new blog by the same name, Smart User, covers the trend that embodies this new paradigm: the consumerization of IT (CoIT). And who better to write it than InfoWorld's own Galen Gruman? In his Mobile Edge blog, Galen has become one of the most recognized voices in mobile tech, offering original insight on the heels of the latest developments. More than that, in Mobile Edge and in such articles as "Who should own your smartphones?" he has helped define what CoIT really means.

[ Learn about consumerization of IT in person March 4-6, 2012, at IDG's CITE conference in San Francisco. | See Galen Gruman's presentation on the real force behind the consumerization of IT. | Get expert advice about planning and implementing your BYOD strategy with InfoWorld's 29-page "Mobile and BYOD Deep Dive" PDF special report. ]

CoIT goes beyond using consumer technologies -- smartphones, cloud apps, social networks, and so on -- for business purposes. It's a fundamental shift in the way business conducts the technology decision-making process, one that empowers individual users.

You can even argue that CoIT represents a more radical transformation than the initial effect of PCs on business. In the early '80s, like today, users were frustrated by the slow pace of IT and decided to take matters into their own hands. Back then, you needed to conspire with others to buy a $3,000 PC to run VisiCalc. With CoIT, it's usually up to the individual -- from choosing a smartphone to searching social networks for job candidates to paying $9.99 to the App Store for Documents to Go.

But as Smart User will discuss, CoIT raises its own set of IT management challenges -- from security risks to incompatibilities to redundant investment. IT needs to stay one step ahead and determine sensible policies around consumerized devices and services, so the result of CoIT is not to add liability and management overhead but instead to safely lighten IT's load.

Smart User promises to take both perspectives: that of business users determined to reap the immediate business benefit of new technology -- and that of forward-looking IT pros charged with establishing a workable policy framework for CoIT. It's a must-read addition to InfoWorld's blog lineup.

p.s. Fans of Mobile Edge, don't despair! Galen will continue posting in Mobile Edge, albeit once rather than twice per week. Trust us: Smart User will be worth it.

This article, "Smart users take control," originally appeared at Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.