The Consumerization of Enterprise IT

Over the past year, more small businesses and nonprofits have selected to divest from some of their hardware and traditional software and replace them with cloud solutions. A recent New York Times article, “The Consumer Revolution of Enterprise Computing,” points out the role that consumer web businesses, such as Google and Amazon, have played in helping tech companies see the value in developing similar solutions for enterprise. The report notes that enterprise technology is at a crossroads right now and there is a “critical distinction between traditional enterprise software companies, like Oracle and SAP, and newer outfits like Workday, Salesforce.com and others.”

According to the NYT report: “When enterprise software companies like Workday live on cloud computing systems, the potential computing power is much less of a constraint — you just throw more machines at the cloud. The software isn’t limited to what a single server can do, either, so the organization of work is more around development costs and customer need.”

But what factors have led to this “revolution of enterprise computing”? Forbes did a series of articles last year that did a very good job of outlining what allowed for this shift towards the consumerization of enterprise solutions. In addition to the increased availability and speed of the Internet, Forbes credits the following innovations for this wave: “1) the shift from physical infrastructure to cloud infrastructure; 2) the shift from installed software to software delivered “as-a-service” (SaaS); and 3) the shift from desktop or PC computing to mobile computing, including phones and tablets.”

As we have covered in previous blog posts (see “Evaluating your cloud strategy” and “IT and the Surge of Remote Workers”) there are several immediate potential benefits when businesses adopt some of these cloud solutions. The Forbes report notes a number of these advantages:

  • Cost savings: cloud solutions typically cost less than buying traditional software and installing it across self-owned equipment
  • Efficiency and scalability: a business can buy as much computing power and software as it needs, when it needs it
  • Remote access: employees can access the same data on multiple devices and in multiple geographic locations
  • Speed: there is no installation or downloading when accessing most cloud solutions

We have found that small businesses and nonprofits are at an advantage because they can often adopt new technologies more quickly than the larger companies that have made huge investments in their IT infrastructure, not to mention that it can be highly disruptive to employee productivity to switch from legacy systems. However, if and when the “revolution” hits large enterprises, the Forbes article says, “businesses will have to make critical decisions related to the security, storage, and virtualization of their software, proprietary information, and data. In the future, we expect to see more headlines related to changes in the existing ecosystem and the disruption of key incumbents, like HP and IBM.”

 If your organization is considering adopting more cloud solutions, it is important to develop a cloud migration plan that considers your hardware replacement cycle and identifies your IT goals and opportunities for increased efficiencies. Sinu has worked with many of our customers to develop a process that allows them to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud solutions while minimizing disruption and maximizing employee productivity.