@Gartner Wireless Summit: Weighing the impact of consumerization on mobile enterprise

**As published in RCR Wireless News** SAN DIEGO – When a trend or shift requires a new phrase or way of thinking, you can bet it carries tremendous impact – the implication being that it goes beyond words. If there’s one factor that’s impacting the mobile enterprise more than anything else it would have to be the “consumerization” of technology in the workplace. “Things happen in consumer markets first and then they impact businesses,” explained David Mitchell Smith, VP and Gartner fellow here at Gartner’s Wireless, Networking and Communications Summit. Smith delivered a nearly hour-long presentation on the impact of consumerization on the mobile enterprise while throwing in advice and the occasional words of encouragement for businesses already feeling the effect. “Consumerization is not a strategy … it’s not something you can adopt,” he said. Though this shift has led to what Gartner refers to as “the IT Civil War,” Smith said “it can’t be stopped; it can be dealt with”

The next generation of the workforce is already equipped with powerful tools and features that they’ve grown accustomed to in their personal experience with technology and mobile communication. Discouragingly enough, many of the most popular online services available today are frowned upon in the enterprise environment. And oddly enough, consumer offerings are often less expensive or free, which in turn drives down costs overall, including enterprise sectors. “Consumers, no matter the age, tend to be a generation ahead of enterprise … and this is what’s forming the next generation of the workforce,” Smith said. The “new workplace” demographics are skewing more toward those that expect to be able to work using whatever methods they’re already using on an hourly basis. Whereas IT too often feels the need to pull back due to legacy concerns, leaps in mobile technology and social media is causing employees to push even harder for IT to embrace the very same services they too use on a regular basis outside the enterprise environment. “You want to find the people that are the troublemakers and you want to befriend them,” Smith said. The IT mindset should be that “we don’t want you to have to go somewhere else to get what you want. … You don’t want to be the police officer. You don’t want to be enforcing things all the time. You want to be providing guidance.” Gartner and Smith strongly discouraged IT staff from flat out abolishing all personal applications – one-size-fits-all strategies simply don’t apply to everyone. If policies support the business goals, they should be adopted, he said. This is particularly why segmentation is key so long as you’re still able to make the end user accountable. Companies are encouraged to dictate a specific set of features or capabilities approved for use. Moreover, a segmentation plan is recommended where companies need to tighten control of specific users based on roles, responsibilities, access to data and other unique factors. Mostly though, Gartner’s message for enterprise is s to spend more time embracing or innovating and less time worrying or pushing back. “You don’t want to fight consumerization because you won’t win,” Smith concluded. “There are a lot of powerful things that can come out of the force of consumerization.”

@Gartner Wireless Summit: Waking enterprise up to the world of mobility

@Gartner Wireless Summit: Finding a place for enterprise in a world full of apps