Recent research carried out revealed that over three quarters of IT directors believe that the consumerisation of IT is ‘overhyped’. While recognising that business and consumer technology is converging, the majority felt that a lot of the hype is being led by IT vendors. 

Let’s face it, it isn’t uncommon for consumer trends to influence enterprise IT; you only have to look at the growth in the use of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media in the workplace. However, the accelerated pace of this trend; the recent leap forward for workforce mobility; and the rapid advances in tablet and smartphone technology over the past few years; have raised awareness of the issue, which has now been branded the ‘Consumerisation of IT’.

Despite their belief that this issue is being overhyped, the majority of IT directors also admitted to experiencing a greater number of sleepless nights as a result of increasing workforce mobility. Certainly the trend of bringing personal devices into the workplace has heightened security concerns, with the potential to bypass firewalls and create a potential bridge between the corporate network and the internet. Therefore organisations need better visibility over what devices are on their network, as well as the ability to enforce new security policies.

When asked what their top priorities were for 2012, IT directors identified future-proofing and updating their network infrastructure, moving applications and services to the cloud and securing/managing employees’ mobile devices as highest on their agenda, further indicating the growing shift towards greater workforce mobility. Lesser priorities for 2012 were virtualising server estates and enabling multi-channel communications between employees and customers.

When it came to supporting overall business objectives, the survey highlighted that improving operational efficiencies is the biggest priority for IT directors in 2012, followed by enabling business growth. Interestingly, only 4% of respondents indicated that compliance was high on their agenda in 2012.

However, when it came to delivering on these business and technology objectives, the vast majority of IT directors admitted that that resource and skills restraints were hindering their ability to deliver. IT departments are being asked to do more and more as ICT underpins an increasing number of business functions. Yet at the same time, IT directors are being asked to reduce costs while also needing to ensure that ICT is delivering on business objectives.

With this in mind it seems that as they continue their efforts to drive down costs, moving ownership of the more remedial IT functions towards managed service providers will become an increasingly attractive option for many organisations. By alleviating some of the burden on their department, IT directors can ensure their staff are freed up to drive more growth and efficiency initiatives through the business rather than struggling to maintain the status quo.