The Consumerization of IT, generally defined as the development of technologies for consumers that make their way into the enterprise, has been a trendy topic the last couple of years. With the International CES consumer technology tradeshow happening in Las Vegas right now, I've been thinking about the topic. I also came across an interesting article from December 28 on CIO Update about it titled "Time to Embrace the Consumerization of IT". The story touches on a variety of topics and talks about how cloud computing, along with mobile technologies, is key part of accelerating the adoption of consumer technologies in IT.
A couple of months ago I received my Windows Phone 7 mobile device and have been having a great time exploring it. One of my favorite features is the integration between Microsoft OneNote inOffice Mobile on the phone, with Office Web Apps on SkyDrive online, with Office 2010 on my desktop. With this feature I make notes in OneNote on my Windows Phone, I can then view them online from a web browser by logging into my SkyDrive account. When I get to my network connected computer the notes are seamlessly synced to my Office 2010 OneNote and I can see all the updates there and also make edits or additions. Of course all of this happens in the reverse direction as well or any combination of them. To me this anywhere access is super powerful and just the beginning of what will be possible.
What makes this magic possible? Cloud computing. It's the glue that brings my mobile, desktop and online experiences together, providing me with this anywhere and anytime access I have internet access. This also brings together technologies from Microsoft, such as Windows Live and SkyDrive cloud infrastructure, which were previously primarily targeted at consumers. These technologies are now providing me with business services, as they've gone from consumer to business enabled services.
Other examples consumerization of IT include IM (instant messaging), which has been primarily a consumer technology coming in the form or Windows Live Messenger from Microsoft. Now however with IM being part of Microsoft Lync and the Office 365 offerings, I couldn't imagine living without it in the business and enterprise environment. The cloud forms the foundation for the Microsoft Lync Online offerings as well.
To me it's personally exciting to see the melding of these capabilities and to begin thinking about the possibilities. We're really just beginning to touch the surface of what will be possible in an anywhere, anytime connected world. Many of these scenarios are enabled through cloud computing services on the backend.
For more on Microsoft cloud offerings be sure to check out the Cloud Power site.