The consumer side of enterprise IT

From the bring-your-own-device model and the use of Dropbox in enterprise settings to creating the ultimate user experience for employees, the consumerization of IT is alive and well. In fact, in predictions for the 2015 digital workforce, Gartner recommended that businesses review the ability of IT architectures and operations to integrate consumer technologies with enterprise strategies. It seems like companies are heeding that advice.

A report from IDG Enterprise on the consumerization of IT found that businesses are incorporating consumer technologies at every turn:

  • 90 percent of organizations use consumer services such as Skype and LinkedIn at work
  • 79 percent leverage filesharing websites including Dropbox
  • 60 percent support personal laptops
  • 52 percent have bring-your-own-device policies
  • 57 percent provide enterprise-focused social networking tools

The bottom line is clear: As an IT professional, you need to know how to support consumer IT infrastructure and software as well as personal devices and other hardware. While you’re most likely familiar with smartphones and tablets, filesharing websites and social networking, do you understand the enterprise side of these technologies? Furthermore, are you aware of the consumer IT trends on the horizon? Let’s take a look.

“There are now tools to manage personal devices, consumer cloud services and communications.”

Supporting consumer tech
The good news about the consumerization of IT is that many tech vendors have you in mind when creating solutions. There are now tools to manage personal devices, cloud services and communications.

One example of those technologies is mobile device management solutions. These platforms come in a variety of styles and with a vast amount of features, but the main gist is that MDM tools allow you to manage BYOD or enterprise-supplied mobile devices. Some MDM solutions will even allow you to build apps and distribute them to employees over the air. By familiarizing yourself with this market and these platform capabilities, you’ll be in a better position to manage mobile devices if the time comes.

IT professionals should also research Gmail. This email platform spawned from consumer demand, and it is quickly encroaching on Microsoft Outlook’s user base. Specifically, you should know how to set up Gmail accounts on Outlook, as well as become familiar with Gmail security controls.

The next step for consumer IT
Before smartphones and tablets become the de facto standard for enterprise mobility, PalmPilots and BlackBerrys ruled the realm. While hiring managers certainly won’t expect you to predict what hot consumer trend will impact the office next, you should be familiar with:

  • 4K: Although it seems like we just fully implemented 1080p, 4K monitors are already being sold and getting cheaper every day. Simply put, be prepared to work with this new technology and familiarize yourself with bandwidth optimization.
  • Wearables: From the Apple Watch and Samsung gear to Google Glass and Oculus Rift, employees of tomorrow are going to wear computers. If you know how to make apps or at least create native experiences on these devices, you’ll be extremely valuable.
  • New hardware: CITE World reported on some great technologies yet to prove their worth that are on the IT horizon. Non-Volatile Memory express SSDs, for example, are so fast that they require new processors like Intel’s octa-core Core i7-5960X. By simply knowing little facts like these, you can help avoid corporate blunders when the CEO demands everyone have cutting-edge systems.

It’s always important to keep an eye on consumer tech. You never know when that’ll be the next biggest enterprise IT trend.

The consumer side of enterprise IT

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