Consumer 'corporatization' to ease BYOD concerns

As more employees use mobile devices as their main work tool and vendors introduce enterprise-grade devices, these factors will help IT managers better cope with the proliferation of consumer devices in the workplace.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The entry of more enterprise-friendly mobile devices and employees increasingly using these devices for work-related activities will mark the start of the "corporatization" of the consumer in 2013, predicts IDC.

Speaking at a conference here Tuesday to reveal its top 10 ICT predictions for Asia-Pacific in the coming year, Sandra Ng, group vice president of IDC Asia-Pacific's practice group, said the trend is emerging because more people are using their tablet devices for productivity-related tasks.

Other IDC predictions for 2013
Convergence of collaboration
Consumer-grade social and communication apps will increasingly be deemed "good enough" for the enterprise, which will in turn reduce the need for unified communications (UC) tools.
Quest for IT, business talents
Around 1 in 3 employers will have difficulty in finding qualified candidates to fill vacant positions, and they will not be helped by limited employment mobility in Asia-Pacific due to differences in culture and language.
More OTT provider-operator partnerships
Out of such partnerships, new contextual and personal cloud services will emerge. For instance, mobile data and roaming price plans will come pre-bundled with access to certain apps such as the partnership between Whatsapp and Hong Kong operator 3.
Multichannel marketing is the only channel
Intense market competition means the customer is king. Companies will have to ensure their contact centers can manage and meet the needs of self-service customers, and those who prefer human interaction.
New datacenter strategy
Only well-resourced enterprises have the talent and budget to pull off a full private cloud deployment, and CIOs will be pressured to demonstrate returns on investment for such projects over off-premise implementations.
Myanmar: New frontier market
Myanmar represents the next "gold rush in Asia", with opportunities in banking and financial services, telecommunications, and software development, among others, and the ICT market is worth approximately US$600 million by 2016 depending on government regulations.
M2M innovation in the enterprise
Machine-to-machine connections will exceed 36 million by 2013 but, rather than connectivity, it is analytics which will be critical to harness innovation and revenue opportunities in this area.

The launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and its Surface tablets, which are aimed to bridge the gap between enterprise and consumer worlds, was another contributing factor, Ng noted.

As a result of this "corporatization", the discussion between mobile devices and PCs will move away from consumption versus creation, to "general versus specialized productivity", she elaborated. This means tablets and smartphones will increasingly be the main tool for workers, while the PC is used only if specific functions are required and which are not supported by the mobile devices, she added.

Claus Mortensen, principal of emerging technology research at IDC Asia-Pacific, added this trend is a result of the cyclical relationship between IT and enterprise users.

Initially, workers learn how to use IT in the workplace, and this is followed by their demanding of tech gadgets and apps they use outside of work to also be made available in office. Lastly, consumers will want more enterprise IT features out of their consumer-grade mobile devices and this will play out over the next 12 months, Mortensen explained.

This trend will likely be more readily embraced by CIOs struggling to manage IT consumerization--which ushered in the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon--that is sweeping through the enterprise space currently. This is because IT departments will find it easier to manage these devices and network access, Ng noted.

IT governance, policy and compliance, and the challenges that come with these, will also rise in prominence in the upcoming year, she said.

In fact, the research firm predicted governance will be another top IT concern going forward.

Ng said issues such as role-based authority for data governance and IT procurement processes will be in the spotlight. BYOD, hybrid cloud delivery, use of third-party services and big data will accelerate and elevate the need for compliance among enterprises, she added.

CIOs need to evolve
IDC also pointed to the role of the CIO and how 2013 will prove to be the "last call" for these executives to transform from focusing solely on IT implementations to delivering business-related innovations.

The need for CIOs to be more business-oriented was highlighted with news that the National Australia Bank eliminated the CIO role, and Ng said more such moves can be expected unless executives can adapt to new expectations and key performance indicators (KPIs).

They not only have to understand the business, but turn the tech department from a cost center to one that adds value to the company, she explained.

The spillover effect on IT vendors will be how CIOs will put more pressure on them to suggest relevant products to ensure they can meet their business-related KPIs, Ng said.

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