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With Intranet and Workplace Products Going Cloud and Mobile, It’s a Consumerization Fait Accompli

By Larry Cannell | May 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

We’ve come full circle. Or rather, is IT simply surrounded and has no choice?

Although workplace technologies and intranets have been available for years (with numerous success stories), they have not been the runaway hits that we hoped for. For example, how many of us like our company intranet, are happy with the amount of email we get or enjoy all of the meetings we must attend? These are problems that workplace technologies and intranets were supposed to address by now.

On the other hand, perhaps without notice, our smartphones have become indispensable. They help us coordinate activities with family, keep up with news, catch up with friends on Facebook or follow the latest tweets dropped by Ashton. In contrast, too many of us consider our enterprise intranet and workplace technologies necessary evils. This needs to change.

Our challenge? The goals of workplace technologies are far different from their consumer counterparts, even though it seems they should be similar. One obvious difference is predictability, which is sometimes confused with scalability. “Move fast and break things” (an approach that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once embraced) isn’t going to fly in the board room or in a network operations center (NOC).

Nevertheless, large IT vendors have embraced consumerization by providing their products via cloud services and supporting their use on mobile devices. For example, about a year ago Adobe discontinued development of the popular software product Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and now sells a cloud-only subscription offering, called Creative Cloud.  More recently, Microsoft is making a similar transition to the cloud with Office.

However, as experienced IT managers will tell you, these types of changes never succeed without a hitch (or two or…well, many hitches) along the way. Yet, the market forces encouraging Microsoft (and other vendors) to provide a cloud-based and mobile-enabled solution are too compelling to ignore. The problem is that vendor hitches quickly become IT nightmares.

Employees love their smartphones and expect a consumer-like experience at work. With workplace technology vendors now actively moving their products to the cloud, IT consumerization is a force that we can no longer ignore.

We’re surrounded. Employees to the left of us, vendors to the right, here we are IT. So, let’s get to work and figure this out.

This is one of the topics we will be discussing in our “Maximizing Employee Productivity in a Mobile- and Cloud-Driven World” track at this year’s Catalyst Conference.

What: 2014 Gartner Catalyst Conference

Where: San Diego, CA

When: August 11 – 14, 2014

Key Question: How does consumerization impact intranet and workplace technologies?

The Catalyst sessions scheduled to answer this question include:

  • E7. Which is better for our organization: Google Apps or Office 365?
  • E13. Social Software Smackdown: Yammer versus Box versus Salesforce
  • E11. How Hangouts and Skype Influence Enterprise Conferencing Strategies
  • E12. How WhatsApp and Facebook Influence Enterprise Messaging Strategies
  • E17. Which Enterprise File Sync Service Is Right for You?
  • A18/E18. Mobile Search: Getting what you need, when you need it, wherever you are

Other questions we will be addressing in this track include:

  • What are the implications and challenges of Microsoft Office transitioning to the cloud?
  • What is the role of intranets and workplace technologies in a world where everyone thinks they are an IT professional?
  • What opportunities are enabled by (and what issues are created from) using mobile collaboration?
  • How is content management changing?

In addition, we have some incredible case studies from companies that have already been working through these challenges.

I hope to see you there!

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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