The consumerization of IT is real. A recent IDC survey sponsored by Unisys showed that 40 percent of devices used to access business applications are personally owned, up 10 percentage points from 2010.
But IT remains inadequately prepared and is showing signs that it hasn't sought to fully exploit this opportunity. The same survey found that more than three out of four organizations have no business applications for smart mobile devices and have no plans to create applications for these devices over the next several months. This gap was evident in both internally facing applications and customer-facing applications.
The most aggressive IT departments will give their businesses a leg up by moving to close this gap. Given the potential of mobile devices to increase employee productivity and provide new ways to interact with customers, it's a key opportunity for enterprise IT to exploit.
By embracing the consumerization of IT and giving users fuller work-related utility of their mobile devices, enterprise IT can tap into consumer devices that today are more powerful and productive than their corporate-issued counterparts.
IT should also take a cue from the Apple App Store and the Android Market and make applications easy to find, easy to install, easy to use, and easy to upgrade. And it should provide apps that effortlessly tap into underlying hardware capabilities.
Think how empowering it would be for employees in the field to have access on their smartphones and tablet computers to applications like field force automation, sales force automation and executive dashboards. Imagine the edge a company would have if its IT was the first to roll out applications that let customers and partners interact with the business anytime and anywhere via their mobile devices.
Mobile enablement is also an opportunity to rethink and redesign business models and processes, so that you fully leverage the new platforms' capabilities and not simply mobile-enable existing processes.
Quite simply, the consumerization of IT is a disruptive trend, and the best way to meet a disruptive trend is head-on, anticipating the changes it will bring and exploiting those changes for competitive advantage. Other disruptive trends, such as social computing, cloud computing, IT appliances and smart computing, offer a glimpse of what the future of enterprise applications may be all about.