Kumar Goswamy was the co-founder and CEO of Kaviza, a pioneer in simple affordable virtual desktops with their award winning VDI-in-a-Box product. Today Goswamy is the VP of Products for the VDI-in-a-Box product line at Citrix which acquired Kaviza in May 2011.
Your kids, your mother and your grandparents are doing more to impact the IT industry than you can imagine. It’s called "consumerization of IT". Now that’s a mouthful. What is it? It is the trend where information technology (IT) is primarily being impacted by the consumer markets rather than by large businesses and government organizations.
Now it didn’t used to be that way. Technologies such as copying machines, facsimile machines and computers and even cell phones initially came from businesses and now are part and parcel of our everyday life. But this trend began to shift once the internet was accessible to the layman through an easy to install, easy to use web browser called Mozilla developed at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In just 19 years, it has changed our lives completely. Today, families are buying their dry goods from Amazon, they are antique shopping via eBay, selling their used cars and furniture on Craigslist and spending their Friday night at the movies courtesy of YouTube. And this use of technology in the consumer space has come full circle and is now impacting how companies run their business.
Companies have adopted their marketing and sales approach to incorporate facebook, linkedin, twitter and google. There are whole businesses built on Amazon’s AWS (an internet service that provides compute and storage resources with an inexpensive pay-per-use model). And now the large body of mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets have propelled a sub-trend called BYOD (bring your own device) where employees are using their personal smartphones, tablets and PCs for work use.
Just to give you a sense of the growth, there were 1.5 billion cell phones sold worldwide in 2011 with a subscription base of nearly 6 Billion across the globe. In the U.S., 85 Million have smart phones that are a potential for BYOD. Apple sold 55 million iPad tablets in 2011. It sold nearly 15M iPads in the fourth quarter alone – more than it sold in all of 2010. And how has it impacted businesses? According to a report in CIO on-line magazine, at Cisco the total number of employee mobile devices grew by 52 percent in a year. Last December, there were 50,538 employee owned mobile devices.
In some ways this is good for companies. They save money. Employees purchase these devices and are happy using their latest gadgets for home and work. But this "consumerizationof IT" has its implication and it isn’t a free lunch.
IT departments have to now contend with providing access to corporate networks and data to employee devices and do so securely. They have to ensure they are compliant and they have to change their mindset from one of controlling the use of IT to providing value added services that enable this onset and allow increased employee productivity. Furthermore, this consumerization and BYOD trend has blurred the line between the home and office. Employees want ready access to their work data regardless of where they. This in turn is fueling the need for desktop virtualization (e.g. VDI), which is an ideal way to provide secure, controlled access to corporate data from anywhere.
Consumerization of IT provides plethora of entrepreneurial opportunities. Supporting large volumes of data require new levels of scalability and efficiency. It will also drive higher levels of availability and lower down times. Innovations in distributed architectures, software algorithms, managing huge amounts of data as well as ways to develop and operate massive data centers using commodity servers and intelligent cooling and load balancing systems will result in a transformation of our existing IT infrastructure.
And now with our kids sending 60 to 100 text messages a day, we’ll be embarking on the next generation of consumerization when they hit the work force. Move over email! Isn’t the world of IT fun and exciting?