The following is Part 2 of a four part series exploring key takeaways from a recently published Gartner report entitled “Consumerize Your Enterprise Software Before it Consumes You” by analyst Brian Prentice.
Part 2: What it means to be customer-centric
It’s not a secret to anyone working within Enterprise IT organizations, the outside world moves much faster than the inside world. Burdened by years of technology integration, along with the responsibility to provide security and governance for usage, Enterprise IT is experiencing an identity crisis. The applications created for external customers and those created for internal users work differently.
Take the banking industry, the core application for customers will be intuitive, mobile and work with complimentary application (bill pay, budgeting, etc.). External customers expect those applications to “just work,” like every other application they use on a daily basis. In our personal lives, technology is easy to use and usually easy to understand, IT understands this for their external customers. The disconnect happens when that same logic is not applied to employees and internal users. We have a captive audience, one at the mercy of the tools and applications provided to them. And this lack of attention shows in lost productivity, unauthorized applications, and in some cases, IT budgets moving outside the control of IT.
Gartner in their report, identified both of those – speed and ease of use – as key requirements for Enterprise IT organizations. “Enterprise IT organizations, on the other hand, usually fall short on usability, struggle to apply greater levels of context to their solutions, and would most likely question the idea that seeking to create enjoyable software has any place in a business environment.”
For Enterprise IT, it is a fine balance between doing what’s in the best interest for the organization and what is in the best interest for their internal users. They are responsible for securing data, yet that is balanced with providing access to that data to the right person at the right time and in a manner which is easy to consume. For most users, what they notice is the inability to get the data or the arduous task of “requesting” access or support from their IT organization. At work, first you have to know where to go for the request, make the request, wait for a reply, and if approved, wait to be authorized.
Changing the attitude from Push to Pull
Enterprise IT has a legacy of “control” over technology within the organization. As stated by Gartner, “Enterprise IT organizations have operated in an environment of captured customers who have little choice beyond what is provided to them.” In the age of Consumerized Applications, it is as much about reversing the attitude from one of “push” to one of “pull.” If the IT organization believes their primary directive is to control, they will never push beyond boundaries of monolithic applications with hundreds of features, servicing the broader user base. Enterprise IT forces how the application is used, where the application is used and by whom the application is used, subtracting choices to better control the application and data.
Taking a step back, and looking at those same Enterprise Applications from a consumer perspective, Enterprise Application Leaders could decide to limit functionality and broaden use, or develop mini-applications rather than one-size-fits all applications. Once again, in the Gartner report there is stark difference in consumer versus enterprise applications, in the consumerized world “they use personal devices and the cloud as ways to get around the control mechanisms that enterprise IT organizations have used to secure their monopoly over the IT solutions of company employees.”
Consumer applications and business apps – more alike than different
Security has its place in business, in fact it has a place within our personal lives, and is one of the key functions of Enterprise IT. Data, applications, networks are all part of the overall technical infrastructure needing to be secure. And the entire infrastructure needs to work together, fully integrated, to have the greatest value. Consumer applications have the same concerns, along with an added concern of creating revenue. Gartner states, “Enterprise IT organizations and consumer-oriented technology providers are more alike than the former recognizes.”
If the consumer application providers and Enterprise Applications leaders are dealing with the same underlying criteria, it begs the question how can the providers of consumer applications, which are available on any platform a user has in their possession, easily downloadable, easily integrated and easy to use, do it and Enterprise IT can’t?
We’ll explore that question in Part 3, when we look at Gartner’s recommendations. Until then, it’s important to remember consumerization is not about having zero control over Enterprise Applications, it’s about changing from the span of control “data center to PC power switch” to “data and services.” Once again, changing from managing technology to providing services within Enterprise IT.
You can review Part 1 of the series today, Parts 3 and 4 will be published next week where we will be sharing additional insights from the Gartner report. At EasyVista, we support the CIO and IT organization as it moves from just providing technology, to providing integrated services across the whole enterprise, along with a user experience which mirrors our personal lives.
Consumerize Your Enterprise Software Before It Consumes You – Part 1, Gartner Report
Consumerize Your Enterprise Software Before It Consumes You – Part 3, Gartner Report
Consumerize Your Enterprise Software Before It Consumes You – Part 4, Gartner Report