The iPad dilemma – the consumerisation of enterprise

I recently wrote a piece on the influx of consumer technology into enterprise IT, and some of the hidden problems which (from my experience so far) most businesses are failing to address.

The original piece was more general in tone, looking at ALL personal devices rather than just those products sold by Apple.  However, the editor thought (and I agreed) that as the current conversation tends to be much more tightly focused around iPads and iPhones, we should narrow the article’s scope.

But my original thoughts still stand, and the criticisms I raised are valid against all personal devices, whether they’re running some flavor of Windows, Android or something we’ve yet to see go mainstream.

Ultimately, consumer devices and consumer device vendors don’t subscribe to concepts like lifecycle management or ROI.  Users look ahead to the next cool product but, for the most part, businesses can’t afford to.  Or at least, not without some serious overhauling of their internal processes.

My principle criticism is that consumer devices do NOT fit well into mainstream business methodologies, and I’m not talking just about the IT structure.  Of course they could be made to, but it will take quite a lot of work and compromise on both sides.  The disappointing thing is that this approach currently seems to be held as a conservative, reactionary view.  I maintain that it isn’t – IT professionals don’t tend to like change because they are often the only ones articulating the implications (the same implications which they are then often expected to support).  Having said that, IT pros (despite myths to the contrary) do actually want users to have a decent IT experience at work.  It results in fewer support calls and complaints, and that’s always a good thing.

Have a read of the article on 4sysops – am I being a dogma-toting arch-conservative, or is there a scintilla of common sense buried in the pile?

About the Author: James Bannan

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