Many in IT are living in a fool's paradise
The uncomfortable reality for IT and business executives is that most are operating in a fool's paradise when it comes to the consumerization trend. A recent IDC study shows that although 40 percent of IT decision makers say they let employees access corporate information from employee-owned devices, 70 percent of employees say they access corporate data that way. That means in many organizations IT has no real handle on what is actually happening in the systems it is managing. IDC's research also shows that the use of personally owned devices is only growing.
Other IDC research shows the IT disconnect from the already-consumerized technology reality in their companies. Note the mismatch in the slide below between IT's and users' views of policies relating to who pays for mobile services: IT thinks that the business determines and directly pays for business-related access, a view shared only by BlackBerry users (those whom IT provisions). Users of other mobile platforms say they bear the costs or charge them to the company as an expense -- and thus make the decisions. In other words, these IT organizations see only the BlackBerrys that represent the pre-consumerization state of their organizations.
Forrester Research says that the consumerization trend will only intensify as the Millennials become a greater proportion of the workforce. In 2010, a quarter of employees were Millennials, a proportion that rises to 40 percent in 2020. Think about it: The Boomers who grew up in the individual-empowerment era of the 1960s and 1970s are largely the ones who have the political clout and financial ability to use their own technologies, but the generations that follow see such technology as simply normal.
I've heard several CIOs at large, conservative enterprises say they had to allow iOS and Android devices because "kids" wouldn't work for a firm that forced them to use a BlackBerry and Windows XP PC. The U.S. Army is a great example; it's proactively looking to deploy Android devices and iPads, and it's training troops on appropriate use of iPhones and other such devices because its 20-something workforce uses them anyhow.
One more study, this time from Aberdeen Research: I covered it in detail earlier this year in my blog because it's such a shocker. The more you try to control employee-oriented technology, the more it costs you and the less safe you are. Remember that analogy of trying to fence in teenagers? That's why: When you rigidly control the technology and processes of knowledge workers, they actively work around you -- and against you. Your "secured" email ends up getting forwarded to Gmail and Hotmail accounts where you have zero control or visibility into it. Documents find their ways onto CD-Rs, thumb drives, and cloud storage for transfer to home computers and from there to mobile devices. Cloud apps will be used more and more, as IT becomes viewed as the obstacle to getting work done.