Since the consumerization of IT is a fairly new topic, many of the people I speak to about it aren't too familiar with the phrase. Those who have heard of it tend to think that the consumerization of IT is just about devices and BYOC. While BYOC and iPads are part of the consumerization of IT, they're only a small part—and certainly not the part that keeps a CIO awake at night!
Instead, the real consumerization of IT story as the fact that end user employees can do whatever they want, and not only is IT powerless to stop them, in most cases IT doesn't even know what the users are doing!
So even though I've been repeating that phrase for months, I realized a few days ago that the fundamental challenge of the consumerization of IT is even more simple than that:
IT departments have to compete with every single website, product, service, and offering on the planet.
Think about it. If the service or application that IT provides isn't as good as what an end user can just go get on their own, then the IT department loses. There's a huge free market with low switching costs, and IT has to compete against everyone.
For example, an IT department might think that they made the "right" move by providing a VDI desktop to iPads. What does the user do? They use it for about a week, think "this sucks," type [Microsoft Office] into the Apple App Store, find QuickOffice, wonder where their files are, find the QuickOffice Dropbox integration, and BAM!—IT just lost another user to Dropbox.
Or an IT department might think they did the right thin by using the Citrix Access Gateway SSL-VPN. It's much easier to use than an old-school IPSec VPN, right? Oh, what's that? There's no iOS or Android client? And...BAM! The end users are now sharing files via Google Drive outside of IT's control.
The examples are endless but all illustrate the crux the issue. No matter what IT provides, if users can find a better service elsewhere, they're going to go for it. So what do you do? Do you try to compete with everyone? Do you try to shut your users down? Do you bury your head in the sand?
This is a big deal. It will soon be time to reevaluate our entire purpose as an IT department.