You may not have heard this already, but apparently 2011 is the Year of the Consumerization of IT. This is the happy event where the proliferation of personal devices has lead many people to bring them, and use them, at work. Even Forrester Research, once a highly publicized opponent of Macs in the workplace, have given up and told IT managers that it’s OK for people to bring Macs to work. No really – Forrester! The upshot of their argument is that:
- People are bringing them to work anyway.
- The sort of people who bring their own laptops to work are “power users”
- Being “power users”, they are likely to find ways around your puny defenses; and in fact, research shows that they are already doing that.
- Since they are only trying to get work done, you might as well not fight them, because why are you fighting people who are just trying to work more?
I think that one would have to admit that Forrester has a point and in reality, Macs are only one facet of a growing trend that we have written about before. People are bringing their smartphones into the workplace as well, with some attendant issues for IT departments, but with real benefits for the business as well, including getting more work done. IT departments fought a long fight to keep the Internet out of the workplace not so long ago, but it’s hard to imagine getting real work done without it now. The same goes for smartphones and other wireless devices, and if people want to buy their own and save the company some money, why fight it?
It does create some Infrastructure Management and Security issues, not to mention that some people might be prone to waste more time playing Angry Birds. But the fact that the Consumerization trend is really hitting its stride in 2011 suggests that many companies are seeing benefits that outweigh the risks.