In many recent visit over the past few weeks and months, there continues to be the topic of consumerization that continues. Many businesses use the term to define a wide variety of considerations. Just as the ITIL framework added some structure to the lifecycle, it might be time to apply operational definitions to many terms.
But first, the disclaimer. The opinions expressed on this blog are mine and do not represent those of my employer.
For years, we have been told that PC's, client computing, and such as devices are commodities. While in this blog posting we will not argue that point, a topic for another day, part of the dialog is the end user community reciting the following back to IT. If PC's are a commodity, then why isn't the support of the commodity a commodity itself?"
So, when we in It attempt to explain all of the related complexities, the end users in the Planet ME environment, will not accept the response. In a sense, we in IT created this dilemma. (This should validate that PC's are not a commodity, by the way).
We now need to define what we mean so there is at least a common starting ground. This is the beginning of a governance conversation that has been a long while in the making. Technology has clearly moved faster than existing governance and in some cases, many businesses ability to govern the devices and information access. The starting point really needs to occur quickly.
I offer these as potential starting points based upon my experience, research and customer/prospect visits, and as always your point of view and feedback is greatly appreciated.
These definitions are not in any particular order of priority.
Consumerization - is the readiness of the IT infrastructure to embrace any device, anywhere, at any time. Consumerization is about being agnostic and focusing on IT back office. Cloud and virtualization are the key technologies to consider.
BYO- is about a device, usually tablets. By focusing on the device, IT becomes distrcted to the real issue of preparing and investing in the IT infrastructure so that ultimately IT can be device agnostic.
Mobility- is not a simply a single definition since the issues, form factors and information used varies considerably. Not all of my colleagues, by the way, would concur with this point of view. My opinion is that there are multiple definitions of mobility including:
- mobility smart phone
- mobility laptop
- mobility tablet
- mobility new form factors
The reasons I separate these various elements is that the one size fits all model does not work in all of the mobility categories, any more than the one size model fits in desktops and laptops. The level of risk, asset management and security should vary, and vary considerably.
The lifecycle business practices and such are decidedly different in each of these form factors and the end user usage is unique.
My observation remains that businesses respond to the stimulus of BYO knowing that we are remaining in a traditional client/server environment and placing consumer devices into the enterprise and assuming "all will be well". Sandboxing is a solid step, but it is not a governance model nor really a practice.
If you are the leadership in IT, your definition of "reasonable risk" should differ from third parties since risk is always reasonable if you are not accountable.
By beginning with definitions, defined in your IT infrastructure, we in IT can address and identify what we truly need to address in terms of management controls. Otherwise as a colleague of mine once stated (I am paraphrasing)
"Consumerization is a solution looking for a problem to solve"