Disruptive Force or Just Plain Disturbing - The Consumerization of IT


Posted by Neil Wilson on 8/17/11 4:00 AM

In marketing we like to talk about how big changes occur due to disruptive forces impacting a market. The disruptive force inevitably makes us change the way things are done. From the perspective of IT departments, the current disruptive force - the assault on their resources from consumer devices, SaaS applications, mobile applications, and social networking - could actually be labeled as disturbing.

Why? Well, IT is built around standardization and control. Standardization and control help maintain security, keep costs in check, and make rolling out new things a process-driven approach. On the other end, business and external customers see standardization and control as rigid, slow, and not meeting their needs. While businesses might not like it, they had to live with it – until now.

Let’s count the ways that the business and “Regular Joe” employees are bypassing IT:

  1. SaaS apps: Departments in businesses are buying and consuming SaaS apps like Salesforce.com and using their own budget. IT usually gets involved after the fact when the business asks them to administer the app.
  2. Devices and more devices: Apple has become a headache for IT. Consumers are buying their devices (iPhones, iPads, iAnything) in droves. Just go into an airport lounge or look around in first class and you will see “consumer” devices being used for business. CEOs are consumers and are demanding that IT support their device of choice.
  3. Mobile apps: Finally, many of us are using social networking apps or other mobile apps. As we saw with Dropbox, this can be a CIO’s worst nightmare when it comes to security. We use these apps for business and personal purposes interchangeably. How can a CIO control what you do on a non-sanctioned device with a non-approved application?

So what are the CIO and IT departments to do? We think the successful folks will embrace this change and use it to their advantage both externally (competitive differentiation) and internally (higher productivity and effectiveness). The business will get what it needs to succeed faster and in the way it wants to operate.

How can UnboundID help? We are in the business of managing real-time identity and enabling IT to deploy secure identity clouds for internal or external users. By adopting an identity-centric approach, IT can leverage identity as the control point for managing, securing, and standardizing the environment. This means that the user can use any device, application, or service they choose, while IT maintains a reasonable level of control over the asylum. So, let your users “consumerize” away and turn this disturbing force into a competitive advantage.

Topics: Consumer Identity and Access Management