So the long-range challenge for IT is to provide a consumer-like experience and enable users to self-provision through IT. In some cases, this may result in a certain class of user becoming more rather than less technical, as they customize SaaS apps and maybe even aid with simple integration. But IT must always provide a rational framework.
The trade-off is clear: IT relaxes control over a certain part of end-user technology consumption, while in exchange end-users take on some low-level IT tasks while adhering to explicit guidelines. But for this new relationship to work, IT must also be attuned to the new capabilities users want and have a fast-track process to get highly desirable new products or services on the approved list.
The limits of consumerization
The consumerization of IT is mainly about adding capabilities around the edges rather than replacing core functions -- nor does it have anything to do with the core application development that forms much of the intellectual property held by larger organizations. IT people do more than stand up servers and install software. They ensure everything works together, that people don't duplicate effort, that priorities are straight, that there's a plan and a point to the money being spent on technology.
But the surest way to cause chaos is to go overboard on control and try to stand in the way of consumerization. You can't win that battle because users will find a way around your prohibition -- and you'll be left with a mess to clean up. One the other hand, if you provide the right framework and leadership, you have a shot at enjoying one of the rarest combinations in IT: more capabilities, less work, and happy users.
This article, "Staying ahead of consumerization," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.