There are certain unmistakable trends in client computing, the so called megatrends. These trends can and will change the focus of client computing over time. The trends have placed IT organizations in a particularly interesting scenario- when to adopt and how to adopt?
But first, the disclaimer. The opinions and point of view expressed on this blog are mine, and do not represent those of my employer.
Before proceeding, let's identify the megatrends. Some businesses have 5 , some have 8 , others have whatever it is they position as a their focus. In other words, there is some fluidity to the number. However, most agree that the trends include:
-consumerization (almost always #1)
-ubiquitous connectivity ( the thought being is that as we embrace consumerization, there will be the ability to connect)
-emerging markets (I will not delve into this trend in this blog posting, other than acknowledgement)
-virtualization and the cloud (it is mainstream)
-mobility (it is here already)
-visual technology (welcome to the world on high definition)
-social networking (dealing with this in the business context will not be easy)
-immersive experience with big data (a lot to say about unstructured data)
In this blog posting we will address only the macro vision. Future blogs will dig deeper into the megatrend phenomenon.
The objective of this posting, and I would certainly like your point of view, is that the megatrends are not mutually exclusive, they do not stand alone. As a matter of fact certain megatrends are the enablers of other megatrends.
Many businesses now look at the megatrends as possessing the silver bullet to address previously "weak" practice levels. However, this might warrant a second look.
If your business is not at the advanced practice level on asset management (for both hardware and software), security, help desk, charge backs among other practices, the fundamental question is what will the impact of the megatrends be on the enterprise?
Will adoption improve the practice level?
Will adoption eliminate the requirement for a practice set?
In some cases the answer is a qualified - maybe.
Interestingly, with the consumerization taking hold, IT is no longer really empowered in many businesses to say "no", but to advise on how to adopt. There are very few right or wrong answers these days, but having said that, IT still needs to focus on protecting intellectual property, indentity of end users and customers, and protect from intrusions.
In the case of consumerization, as an example, if there is a weak practice level, say in software compliance, consumerization will make that situation pale in comparison. In this case as the example, virtualization and the cloud could be enablers of consumerization.
There needs to be more emphasis on secure access to the data that is required to protect the business. When IT cannot say "no", we need to escalate the decision to those in the organization whose job it is to determine how much risk and cost the enterprise is willing to take. One of my observations that I have shared is that IT should simply not take the ball and run.
In the past, organizations were risk adverse and very conservative, we may be in a generation of "reasonable risk taking" (a position by the way, I do not share).
We have all learned in the past that there a few shortcuts to achieve best practices, and that there is not a free ride or free lunch to be had. Continuous process improvement will have entrance and exit costs. If you avoid these costs and simply implement consumerization without a related change in governance and infrastructure, risk is dramatically increases.
Just look at the number of breaches and security statistics in play today as the proof point.
All of the megatrends play together and in my opinion should be viewed holistically as a portfolio for IT to view for the future trend in the enterprise. Every next generation of client computing will have a new technology and approach that can change the landscape, we have a rare opportunity today since we have 8 trends that are all in play at the same time, in the context of a technology refresh cycle, new chipsets, and new operating system.
While this is really complex, it truly is exciting.