The large scale, high-volume unit production, and potential profit opportunities available to leaders in consumer markets have convinced many leading IT vendors to focus more resources and innovation on consumer products and services during IT industry's slow recovery from the dot-com collapse. As technology providers increasingly design products for consumers, enterprise IT managers have to learn how to manage these products as employees bring them into varieties of workflows and processes. Gartner analysts discussed the consumerization of IT at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through October 21.
"Consumer IT will affect every enterprise," said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Attempts by enterprises to deny this are doomed to failure, just as previous attempts to deny Wi-Fi, 'smart' mobile phones, the Internet and even the PC itself failed."
Lower cost, consumer-grade technology represents an unavoidable challenge for the CIO, but it is also an opportunity if savvy choices are made about where and when to enable and support its deployment.
"As perceptive CIOs seek to transform their rigid, legacy-ridden infrastructures into agile, efficient, service-driven delivery mechanisms, they must adopt a pragmatic approach to managing the risk of consumer IT while embracing the benefits," said Steve Prentice, vice president and research director at Gartner. "Otherwise, the CIOs risk being sidelined as the 'enemy' by their constituencies."
Although corporate policies and monitoring may restrain employees from surfing unsuitable content online, employees will do their home banking, book holidays, instant-message with friends (and work colleagues), and help research their children's homework. Few organizations have been able to prevent the use of freely available consumer software, such as Google Desktop, America Online and Skype, because it is seen by users as a valuable tool in their daily work.
"The usability, availability and reliability is compelling and is providing value to people," Mr. Smith said. "Traditional enterprise software remains critical, but many functions can be accomplished through technologies designed for consumers."
The growth of the consumer segment is the single biggest factor that will drive semiconductor demand during the next 10 years. The dominance of consumer markets will have dramatic implications for other sectors.
"Consumer markets will drive much of the industry's underlying research and development, rather than the military and business markets," Mr. Prentice said. "This will significantly reduce product life cycles. Consumer products are geared toward ever-decreasing product life cycles."
About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo
Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the IT industry's largest and most strategic conference, providing business leaders with a look at the future of IT. For more than 10,000 IT professionals from the world's leading enterprises, Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of their annual planning efforts. Attendees rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use technology to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency.
In Orlando, an integral part of the Gartner Symposium is the ITxpo showfloor, where more than 190 technology companies are showcasing the latest technology solutions. There are 11 ITxpo marketplaces, including mobile and wireless, business intelligence and data warehousing, outsourcing and IT services and security. ITxpo marketplaces are focused areas designed to aggregate solution providers into a specific market and link conference topics to market solutions. Attendees can attend technology company presentations and schedule face to face meetings with exhibitors of their choice. For more information, please visit www.gartner.com/symposium/us.
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the leading provider of research and analysis on the global information technology industry. Gartner serves more than 9,000 clients, including CIOs and other senior IT executives in corporations and government agencies, as well as technology companies and the investment community. The Company focuses on delivering objective, in-depth analysis and actionable advice to enable clients to make more informed business and technology decisions. The Company's businesses consist of Gartner Research and Events for IT professionals; Gartner Executive Programs, membership programs and peer networking services; and Gartner Consulting, customized engagements with a specific emphasis on outsourcing and IT management. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and has over 3,900 associates, including more than 1,200 research analysts and consultants in more than 75 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.