Capitalizing on the Consumerization of IT

Long gone are the days when a person’s best and only PC was the machine used at work. In fact, most people have several PCs at home along with numerous other gadgets and smart devices. The consumerization of IT reflects the growing trend of employees wanting to use their personally owned devices within the enterprise. Consumerization is not just about devices. It’s also about services. Instant messaging, blogs, wikis and social networks all began as consumer solutions and are now deeply entrenched in the enterprise. As Intel’s CIO, my job is to enable our employee productivity–to make it easier to do great work. I would love to welcome all personal devices into Intel and give access to as many corporate applications, and as much data as employees want. The new wave of employees, don’t want to carry around multiple devices–one for professional and the other for personal use.

I understand: employees want to access the information they need, when needed, on whatever device they happen to have on hand.

Embracing the consumerization of IT has real business value. Allowing employees the flexibility to use personal devices not only results in higher employee satisfaction but it also helps attract and retain talent, especially new talent. The flexibility created by a consumer-powered IT results in a more engaged and productive workforce. We cannot inhibit the use of any type of technology that empowers employees to deliver new ideas and unleash powerful innovation.

But I have a problem.  For me to enable any personal devices, I need to know they can be secured and efficiently managed. PCs and laptops come with great enterprise features and capabilities that allow me to confidently manage our fleet of 100,000 clients.  Unfortunately, these enterprise features are not a standard part of consumer products. Consumer product capabilities vary wildly from device to device. There is also the variety of form factors, device capabilities, and operating systems to be considered. There’s no simple solution today.

Intel IT has embraced the challenge and we are absolutely making progress, enabling employees to move seamlessly between their work lives and home lives, between being an employee and a consumer. As the IT industry, we need to continue to work with the solution providers, communicating the security and manageability requirements of all products and solutions – consumer and enterprise alike. The line between enterprise and consumer is blurred. Adding enterprise capabilities to consumer products will help us, as IT, be more responsive and agile in delivering what employees are asking for– capitalizing on the consumerization of IT trend.