Consumerization Quotes: Bleep My CIO Says

Four CIOs weigh in on the differences between consumer and enterprise technology, the problems with legacy IT and why desktop virtualization stinks on the iPad.

IT pros are on the front lines of consumerization, dealing regularly with end users who want to bring new gadgets and cloud services to work. It’s up to CIOs to steer the ship, determining how this new era of IT can help their organizations.

This topic was top-of-mind at this week’s MIT CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass., where chief information officers (CIOs) spoke in panels and interviews about mobile technology, cloud computing and the changing role of IT. Here’s the best of what they had to say:

“It’s really a great way to make a great device not very great.”
Rich Adduci, CIO, Boston Scientific

The “it” Adduci refers to is desktop virtualization on the iPad. Boston Scientific, an early adopter of iPhones and iPads, focuses on mobile apps instead, because they’re designed to take advantage of the iPad’s unique capabilities. Desktop virtualization can be good in a pinch, Adduci says, but it doesn’t provide the best user experience.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Christian Anschuetz, senior vice president and CIO, Underwriters Laboratories

Consumerization puts IT pros and CIOs in a tricky spot. They’re no longer the only technology decision-makers, and naturally, that makes them uncomfortable. But Anschuetz says letting users make these decisions -- not only letting them, but embracing their choices -- will help organizations innovate and become more agile.

“We have accepted a very poor quality of product for a very long time.”
Steven John, strategic CIO, Workday

A theme that emerged at the symposium was that cloud computing and the consumerization of IT can really make legacy IT look bad. And no quote captures that sentiment better than this one. Some CIOs also say legacy IT, with its cost and complexity, can hold organizations back from embracing new technology as much as they’d like to.

“The half-life of technology is short. Where companies get in trouble is, they run it for 20 years.”
Frank Modruson, CIO, Accenture

Modruson’s quote illustrates a major difference between consumer technology and enterprise technology. Consumers buy new phones every couple of years, for example. Organizations will need to learn some lessons from consumers if they want to take full advantage of the next wave of mobile and cloud computing.

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