Consumerization is the reorientation of product and service designs to
focus on (and market to) the end user as an individual consumer, in
contrast with an earlier era of only organization-oriented offerings
(designed solely for business-to-business or business-to-government
sales). Technologies whose first commercialization was at the
inter-organization level thus have potential for later
consumerization. The emergence of the individual consumer as the
primary driver of product and service design is most commonly
associated with the IT industry, as large business and government
organizations dominated the early decades of computer usage and
development. Thus the microcomputer revolution, in which electronic
computing moved from exclusively enterprise and government use to
include personal computing, is a cardinal example of consumerization.
But many technology-based products, such as calculators and mobile
phones, have also had their origins in business markets, and only over
time did they become dominated by high-volume consumer usage, as these
products commoditized and prices fell. An example of enterprise
software that became consumer software is optical character
recognition software, which originated with banks and postal systems
(to automate cheque clearing and mail sorting) but eventually became
personal productivity software.
In a different sense, consumerization of IT is the proliferation of
personally owned IT at the workplace (in addition to, or even instead
of, company-owned IT), which originates in the consumer market, to be
used for professional purposes. This bring your own device trend
has significantly changed corporate IT policies, as employees now
often use their own laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones on the
hardware side, and social media, web conferencing, cloud storage, and
software as a service on the software side.
2 Business implications
3 Technology implications
5 External links
Consumerization has existed for many decades, as, for example, the
consumerization of refrigeration occurred in the 1910s through 1950s.
The consumerization of IT is believed to have been first regularly
called by that term by Douglas Neal and John Taylor of the Leading
Edge Forum in 2001; the first known published paper on this topic was
published by the LEF in June 2004. The term is now used widely
throughout the IT industry, and is the topic of numerous conferences
and articles. One of the first articles was special insert in "The
Economist" magazine in October 8, 2011. Later,
IT has been used ambiguously. In an effort to structure the amorphous
nature of the term, researchers suggested to take three distinct
perspectives: an individual, organizational and market perspective.
The technology behind the consumerization of computing can be said to
have begun with the development of eight-bit, general-purpose
microprocessors in the early 1970s and eventually the personal
computer in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Thus the microcomputer
revolution, in which electronic computing moved from exclusively
enterprise and government use to include personal computing, is the
cardinal example of consumerization. However, it is significant that
the great success of the
IBM PC in the first half of the 1980s was
driven primarily by business markets. Business preeminence continued
during the late 1980s and early 1990s with the rise of the Microsoft
Windows PC platform. Meanwhile, other technology-based products, such
as calculators, fax machines, and mobile phones, also had their
origins in business markets, and only over time did they become
dominated by high-volume consumer usage, as these products
commoditized and prices fell.
It was the growth of the World Wide Web in the mid 1990s that began to
reverse this pattern. In particular the rise of free,
advertising-based services such as email and search from companies
Yahoo began to establish the idea that consumer IT
offerings based on a simple Internet browser were often viable
alternatives to traditional business computing approaches. Meanwhile,
it is argued that consumerization of IT embodies more than consumer IT
diffusion, but a chance for considerable productivity gains. It
"reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage
of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the
consumer space, rather than in the enterprise IT sector".
The primary impact of consumerization is that it is forcing
businesses, especially large enterprises, to rethink the way they
procure and manage IT equipment and services. Historically, central IT
organizations controlled the great majority of IT usage within their
firms, choosing or at least approving of the systems and services that
Consumerization enables alternative approaches. Today,
employees and departments are becoming increasingly self-sufficient in
meeting their IT needs. Products have become easier to use, and
cloud-based, software-as-a-service offerings are addressing an
ever-widening range of business needs in areas such as
video-conferencing, digital imaging, business collaboration, sales
force support, systems back-up, and other areas.
Similarly, there is increasing interest in so-called Bring Your Own
Device strategies, where individual employees can choose and often own
the computers and/or smart phones they use at work. The Apple iPhone
and iPad have been particularly important in this regard. Both
products were designed for individual consumers, but their appeal in
the workplace has been great. They have demonstrated that elements of
choice, style and entertainment are now critical computer industry
dimensions that businesses cannot ignore.
Equally important, large enterprises have become increasingly
dependent upon consumerized services as search, mapping, and social
media. The capabilities of firms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter
are now essential components of many firm’s marketing strategies.
One of the most important consumerization questions going forward is
to what extent such advertising-based services will spread into major
corporate applications such as email, Customer Relationship Management
(CRM), and Intranets.
One of the more serious negative implications of consumerization is
that security controls have been slower to be adopted in the consumer
space. As a result, there is an increased risk to the information
assets accessed through these less trustworthy consumerized devices.
In a recent CSOOnline article by Joan Goodchild she reported a survey
that found "when asked what are the greatest barriers to enabling
employees to use personal devices at work, 83 percent of IT
respondents cited "security concerns" This shortcoming may soon be
remedied by the chip manufacturers with technologies such as Intel's
"Trusted Execution Technology"  and ARM's "Trust Zone" —these
technologies being designed to increase the trustworthiness of both
enterprise and consumer devices.
In addition to the mass market changes above, consumer markets are now
changing large-scale computing as well. The giant data centers that
have been and are being built by firms such as Google, Apple, Amazon
and others are far larger and generally much more efficient than the
data centers used by most large enterprises. For example, Google is
said to support over 300 million
Gmail accounts, while executing more
than 1 billion searches per day.
Supporting these consumer-driven volumes requires new levels of
efficiency and scale, and this is transforming many traditional data
center approaches and practices. Among the major changes are reliance
on low cost, commodity servers,
N+1 system redundancy, and largely
unmanned data center operations. The associated software innovations
are equally important in areas such as algorithms, artificial
intelligence, and Big Data. In this sense, consumerization seems
likely to transform much of the overall computing stack, from
individual devices to many of the most demanding large-scale
^ Sebastian Köffer, Kevin Ortbach, and Björn Niehaves. Exploring the
Relationship between IT
Consumerization and Job Performance: A
theoretical framework for future research. Communications of the
Association for Information Systems.
^ David Moschella, Doug Neal, John Taylor, and Piet Opperman.
Consumerization of Information Technology.
Leading Edge Forum 2004.
http://lef.csc.com/projects/70, Accessed 27/02/2012
Special Report: Personal Technology, "Consumerisation: The Power of
Many", Economist, 2011, http://www.economist.com/node/21530921,
^ Jeanne G Harris, Blake Ives, and Iris Junglas. IT Consumerization:
When Gadgets Turn into Enterprise IT Tools. MIS Quarterly Executive.
^ Gartner IT Glossary: Consumerization.
^ Joan Goodchild, "
Consumer device use is growing, but IT and security
can't keep up",
2011, Accessed 27/02/2012
^ James Green & Sham Datta, White Paper, "Intel® Trusted
Intel, Accessed 27/02/2012
^ White Paper, "Building a Secure System using TrustZone®
ARM, Accessed 27/02/2012
http://BringYourOwnIT.com Independent forum on
Template:Bring your own device
Consumer culture theory