Apologies to Cardinal Richelieu, but even though most IT and enterprise vendors now acknowledge the “Consumerization of Technology” trend, they tend to interpret the impact narrowly. “We need to improve the user interface.” “We need to make systems which require no user manuals.”
Yes, yes and a lot more.
- You have to think like the hotel executive who acknowledged the average customer now has better technology at home than they do in their hotel rooms. Hotels have a much harder time evoking the image of a “better place” – something to look forward to.
- You have to chuckle like several Southwest pilots have done when they see me tracking the flight on my laptop - “you have far more detail about what we are flying over”. I chuckle back and say I hope they have better detail than I have about what we are flying around.
- You have to acknowledge like a sports executive that something dramatic is happening when a fan in their stadium calls somebody at home to get feedback on a play because they have access to instant replay and HD and 3D detail on their home screens
- You have to be a smart enough airline executive to realize your passengers now have better flight and weather tracking information at home and their PDAs than your agents do at the airport. So, old excuses about where the delayed flight really is do not work.
- You have a humble enough IT exec to realize your 100 mb Exchange mail box limit looks very stingy compared to the many GB GMail or Yahoo offer your employees at home - for free.
- You do not have to a top-flight HR executive to see younger employees expect wi-fi in your cafeteria, want to set up wikis for every project, expect to SMS even older colleagues, expect multi-touch interfaces and yes expect different job titles than your HR taxonomy ever considered likely
- You have to get your head out of the sand if you think consumers do not have access to pricing data like with MySimon.com or they are still sending your CEO paper letters when they are not happy. It is being Twittered and blogged live
The new expectations of corporate IT should also turn into an opportunity. If you and I can buy storage at 10c a GB, why are corporations paying hundred times as much? If at any given time, if millions of consumers are talking to each other around the world on Skype for free, why are mobile companies charging you exorbitant roaming fees? If any one can call the Geek Squad and get a one time PC repair visit, why is your desktop outsourcer not charging you on a per usage basis, rather than some monthly charge? Why is your software vendor UI still so 90s – and why do they deliver a truckload of user manuals and documentation? And why do they still need schoolbuses of consultants to help implement?
Consumerization of technology should be a broad manifesto for change in corporate IT and enterprise vendors. Let’s face it – we are slower, uglier, exorbitantly expensive, obsessed with security and compliance.
Time for a makeover. An extreme one.