New data visualization apps for Excel 2013 could help Microsoft hang on to customers looking for better data visualization tools.
Dion Hinchcliffe: "Everyone is the IT department"
Dion Hinchcliffe, an analyst at the Dachis Group and a frequent blogger on the changing enterprise, says it's time for IT to acknowledge they can't control users.
"Everyone in an organization is the IT department. There's really no gatekeeper anymore."
Hinchcliffe, who's delivering a keynote at the CITE One-Day Forum in New York City on October 10, says that users are driving technology adoption in two critical areas: communciations, and self-service IT -- particularly in the form of mobile apps delivered through public app stores.
The latter is particularly hard for some IT shops to accept, but it's reality, says Hinchcliffe.
"IT depts are being disintermediated in a relentless way, and so quickly they can't even react to it. There are millions of apps in these app stores, they're disposable and free, they're easy to throw away if you want to." He continues, "We're all consumers. That's the whole point of consumerization. We're all smart enough, we have tools, we can select and acquire software in minutes, try a whole bunch of things, and find the perfect thing for the task at hand. That cycle cant be supported by bureaucracy."
The tide of consumer apps is so strong, most companies are not even trying to write their own mobile apps for employees, and enterprise app stores are largely a bust.
"I don't see the uptake," says Hinchcliffe. "I have trouble finding stores to write research about. I thought there'd be a lot more."
Single-purpose apps like HR, timekeeping, or vacation management apps appear in some places. Some very large companies in vertical industries like petroleum are writing front-ends to their corporate apps. But most companies are simply waiting for their vendors to deliver mobile front-ends to their existing solutions -- and in the meantime, employees are finding their own ways around any bottlenecks.
He scoffed at the idea that 75 percent of IT managers say that downloading rogue apps for work is a firable offense, as a recent Forrester study found. "I don't care what IT folks say, they lost. I work a lot with CIOs, and I see the leadership gets it. But some folks on the ground are really stuck in a mindset of 10 or 15 years ago."
So how can IT departments remain relevant in this world?
Hinchcliffe sees most IT managers falling into one of two camps:
Surface has been a stiff so far, but Microsoft reportedly has big expectations for its next fiscal year. Here's why the company may not be crazy.
Brandon Porco, the chief technologist for defense contractor Northrop Grumman, says that IT will have to try lots of different things and move quickly to keep abreast of evolving employee needs. "Google has it very well-patterned: Launch and iterate."
Although Apple is often accused of not being an enterprise company, it's only in the last few years that Apple has abandoned its enterprise-oriented products. The real story may be that Apple's discovered that making enterprise-focused efforts simply don't deliver a huge return on investment.
Majority of Windows 8 PC owners launch less than one app a day