In our last post, we discussed a very brief history of Apple’s ascent as the leader in consumer-driven IT. In this article, I am going to draw a distinction between Consumer and Enterprise Driven IT. By looking at these differences, we will start to get a better understanding of where the IT sector is currently heading.
Brief Aside: I wanted to note that since that post went live, the Verge published a long form history of iTunes.  It is both an enjoyable read as well as a more extensive exploration of many of the ideas I covered in Part 2 of this series. If you have time, I encourage you to read it.
For now, I will note this quote from Paul Vidich, the former executive vice president of Warner Music Group and the first label exec to cut a licensing deal with iTunes:

“Jobs was so exuberant about iTunes and its simplicity,” Vidich said. “We were too. The other products out there just weren’t simple to use.”

Consumer Driven IT

Much of Apple’s current success has come from focusing its technology on:

  1. Ease of adoption
  2. Pleasurable experience
  3. Aesthetic
  4. Affordable

Look at this list for a second…think back to 2006. Or maybe just think about your current business  network: Windows XP, that accounting package, that fund raising system, your printer.
Would you use any of these terms to describe those systems?
But the genie is out of the bottle.  In 2013, we have come to expect these features from our technology. Consciously or not. Willingly or not.  And the focus of Consumer-driven IT is different from that of the Enterprise.

Enterprise Driven IT

The priorities of Enterprise IT are:

  1. Security
  2. Management
  3. Control
  4. Coordination

We should remember that these are all vitally important to the success of any organization. Information is an asset, just like financial resources. It must be well managed and controlled. These priorities are no less valid than those of consumer-driven technology.
These priorities are not meant to be pejorative. But we have a tendency to think of them that way because they have traditionally come at the expense of the end-user.

How IT is usually Deployed

The stereotypical BIG IT deployment typically goes something like this:

  1. Gather the requirements
  2. Build or procure the solution
  3. Deploy the solution
  4. Help user figure out how to use it

People are an afterthought; the last step in the process The Consumer-driven revolution has changed that. We have become accustomed to technology working for us…not the other way around. And we are all starting to bring those expectations with us into the office. That is not going to change.
And we shouldn’t want it to change. Because Apple has been able to do in 5 years what 30+ years of mind-numbing computer training and project planning was never able to do. The Enterprise needs to catch up.
In the next post we’ll start to look at some of the ways in which Enterprise IT is embracing and/or dealing with the Consumer-driven revolution.

Future of IT Series

Part 1: Where is this all going?
Part 2: Consumer Driven IT
Part 3: Enterprise Driven IT
Part 4: BYOD
Part 5: Game Changers