Mark McDonald

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Mark P. McDonald
GVP EXP
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio

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Powershift an example of the gap between corporate and consumer tech

by Mark P. McDonald  |  October 7, 2010  |  1 Comment

Powershift refers to some posts related to the tangible differences between corporate and consumer technology and the implications of these differences on the technology industry. This post provides an example of the differences and the gap between the technology we get at work and the technology we prefer to work with in our daily lives.

This past week my corporate computer went through a hard drive swap and an operating system upgrade. Both are fairly standard changes and they were performed flawlessly by tech support.

However when I turned on my machine it was a different story. First off all of my customizations were lost, printer set ups, menu configurations and things that tailored the machine to the way I work. In addition for the next two days I would run into random application issues where I needed to reconfigure things that were configured fine in the first place. One example was the VPN connection that could only be done when I was not in my local office. So after multiple calls to the help desk to find old passwords that were saved on the machine and installation instructions, I was back up and running.

But one thing became clear, I do not experience that with my other consumer devices. They view hardware and software as an integrated unit and experience provided by development standards that are actively applied to qualify an app to be distributed on the hardware, yes they are a semi closed system, but that has its benefits This is good because my apps are continuously upgrading including the operating system. And none of these has cost me a productivity loss.

Corporate hardware and software are different, first they assume that they are two different things and in software it seems that being just a little different in configuration or approach is ok. Corporate it is seen as the app store integrator, something that they may not have the time, resources or knowledge to do much beyond figuring out how to make this all work when it’s properly configured. Those differences however in the eyes of the consumer are weaknesses, overhead that they should not have to bear. All because of the patchwork of individual point solutions that find there way into corporate configurations.

I know that corporate configurations have grown up over time and that things are much better than they were before the days of single user sign on and when different packages had different security measures – dongles anyone? But the bar keeps moving and the standard is being set outside of corporate IT in ways that we all experience and recognize.

This upgrade provides one example of the differences between the two technologies and the expectations that consumer focused technology is brining to corporate IT.

Welcome your thoughts and other examples.

1 Comment »

Category: Applications Tools     Tags: , , , , ,

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 lmcmulle   October 12, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Nice post, Mark

    We need, need, need to get away from attempting to control the nodes as an enterprise strategy… Node hardening is imaginary in that it hasn’t stopped the proliferation of malware, and standard configurations ultimately become productivity nightmares for either the service desk or the end user.

    it if achieves no other purpose, cloud computing will hopefully once and for all dilettante between enterprise apps and access devices –drawing clear boundaries around what is and isn’t the responsibility of corporate IT. It should also (hopefully) place the onus of security on the WIRE and not the node, which is a way more effective threat management strategy.