Consumerization: The New Colossus

Consumerization drives IT people crazy but it's also driving the brave new world of bring your own device. Join the revolution or get left behind.

Welcome to the new Consumerization blog here on ZDNet, I'm your host, Ken Hess. Consumerization, in case you're not familiar with this new buzz term, is the new trend of what's known as consumer-driven IT. The trend is part of the new revolution in companies where individuals use their own technology at work. Laptops, netbooks, tablets and phones provide the bulk of the new hardware creeping through front doors of businesses all over the country, and perhaps, all over the world.

Some of us call this phenomenon, BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. But, it doesn't matter what you or I call it--it's a trend that's sweeping through an entire workforce. And, best of all, it covers all ages, skill levels and company sizes, although the larger the company the greater the pain of transition seems to be.

Personally, I love this trend and here's why: Employees are more productive when they're comfortable with the technology they use.

And, the concept isn't all that new, if you think about it. For decades, companies have hired ad hoc or contract workers who bring their own tools to the job. That, in fact, is one of the definitions that separates contract workers from employees in the United States.

One offshoot of Consumerization might be that companies will decide to reclassify some or most of their workers as independent contractors. It's less expensive (taxes, benefits, vacation, sick leave, maternity/paternity leave) for the company but the lack of direct control might have a negative effect on overall productivity.

Companies that embrace Consumerization will find that their employees are more productive, are happier and are more willing to innovate. For example, workers who want to further increase productivity will produce Apps that not only increase their productivity but possibly can be commercialized and sold by the company.

Consumerization of IT also brings about the usual bandy of security talk. Security is the primary stumbling block to any innovative or popular idea. It's the single topic that can stop any worthwhile pursuit cold in its tracks. I believe, though, that companies like VMware, Citrix and Red Hat will provide the necessary security through mobile hypervisor profiles.

For example, on your iPad, you'll have one profile for work, one for personal and possibly one for the kids. No two profiles can mix because they're essentially virtual machines that run on a hypervisor directly on your iPad. Now, your iPad is three iPads: One for work, one for personal use and one for the kids. All on a single device. The same concept works for phones, laptops, netbooks and ultrabooks.

Don't allow fear, uncertainty and doubt ruin your transition to this worker revolution. It is revolution and not rebellion. It is also an evolution of thought and of action.

Consumerization is the new Colossus, the new liberty and the brave new world of IT. Embrace the future.

What are your concerns with Consumerization? Talk back and let me know.