Have we come to terms with the Consumerization of IT? If so, then what are we doing about it?

It's early 2014. It's probably a little late to be making grand predictions and pronouncements about the coming year, but in that spirit I'm going to say that I believe we've turned a corner with the consumerization of IT-it feels like we've acknowledged and come to terms with it, and we're ready to start solving real problems.

It’s early 2014. It’s probably a little late to be making grand predictions and pronouncements about the coming year, but in that spirit I’m going to say that I believe we’ve turned a corner with the consumerization of IT—it feels like we’ve acknowledged and come to terms with it, and we’re ready to start solving real problems. I even have some evidence, so read on to hear why I think that’s the case.

First of all, since “consumerization of IT” is a pretty broad term, I should mention that when we say it here at BrianMadden.com, we really mean FUIT. (You can skip to the next paragraph if you’ve been a long time reader here.) FUIT was a term that’s used to describe how users can easily get around IT and do whatever they want, and not only is there nothing IT can do about it, in most cases IT doesn’t even know it’s going on. In other words, IT is in competition with every single app and website out there.

Brian first started talking about FUIT at BriForum London in May 2011, and in June published an article describing it. That article would go on to be one of the most viewed and commented articles of the year. At that time, this version of consumerization felt like a radical concept, and boy did we hear about it. Not only did many people disagree with us, a lot of people completely denied that anything like that could ever happen in their environment. Then in 2012, TechTarget launched a series of half-day events dedicated to consumerization. At these shows, Brian would spend an entire audience convincing people that consumerization and FUIT were real.

But today, it seems like most everybody acknowledges these challenges, and that this concept of consumerization is widely accepted.

For the 2013 consumerization event series, we were gradually able to spend less time talking about consumerization concepts, and more time talking about actual technologies. By the second half of the year when I took over most of the shows, I would spend maybe 10 minutes on consumerization and FUIT, and the audience would respond with knowing nods of agreement—a big change from 2011 and 2012.

Today if someone says, “I’m only going to deliver my Windows environment, that’s all my users need to work. Why would they need anything else?” Or “This stuff doesn’t happen at my company. We have rules against it!” they seem woefully out of touch and curmudgeonly. I even get multitudes of PR pitches that say things along the lines of, “As you know, users have many alternatives besides what IT provides to them...”

Now does all of this mean that we have consumerization solved? Heck no! Users are still going to be users, and all this takes time and money to figure out. But from talking to attendees at our shows, looking at TechTarget’s reader surveys, and hearing from all of you, there’s a distinct feeling that we’re all onboard with the concept, and we’re ready to take the next steps into using specific technologies to address these issues, whether it be with EMM, networking, application transformation, VDI, SaaS, or other concrete technologies.

One of the ways this trend is manifested it that for 2014, we’ve taken our consumerization event series and turned it into an enterprise mobility management event series. (I’ll be coming to 9 cites in 2014 to talk about MDM, MAM, and BYOD.) And at BriForum, I’m planning separate EMM 101 session so we can look deeper into more specific issues in other sessions.

So what do you think—do you agree or disagree? Have you noticed the same acceptance of consumerization? And if so, is that translating into more specific technology projects that address issues related to consumerization, like application transformation or mobility?

And then the next question is what comes after this? Now that we’ve come to terms with consumerization and are ready to get down to work, what’s going to happen? Since I specialize in mobility, to me it’s significant that now just about every major software vendor has an EMM solution, and the MDM versus MAM debate is almost a thing of the past. For this year I’m hoping that as more companies look into EMM, some of the hype around BYOD dies down. What else do you think could happen next now that we’ve reached this level of acceptance?

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