As the line between business and consumer software becomes increasingly blurry, a trend is steadily growing in the business world: consumerization.
With the arrival of the Internet and mobile devices, corporate employees have certain expectations when they are in the office: they expect to find software similar to what they use on their personal computers and mobile devices.
Many companies have realized that, for example, perhaps we don’t want to use software like Outlook to manage our email if we are accustomed to using Gmail.
Therefore, company CIOs are tasked with analyzing which tools to acquire or develop and, above all, how to take advantage of them in a professional environment. The goal is for employees to work in an atmosphere similar to what they are accustomed to. Applications like Slack and Trello have made a strong entrance into the professional space, along with cloud storage services like Dropbox and collaborative work spaces like Google Drive.
This trend is now a reality. In fact, 90% of companies surveyed in a study carried out by IDG Engerprise Consumerization said they already use tools like Dropbox, Linkedin and even Facebook. And mobile plays a large role in all of these solutions.
Office software is in the midst of major change. Not only because companies are shifting to consumer solutions as mentioned above, but because companies are also developing new enterprise tools with the look, feel and functionality of consumer software.
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Another major trend linked to consumerization is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). According to a study from consultancy Garner, 70% of professionals used their personal gadgets at work in 2014. Personal laptops, tablets, smartphones and even wearables are becoming office tools.
This trend represents an opportunity for companies to save costs and explore the benefits of BYOD. But, at the same time, CIOs face many challenges with the arrival of personal mobile devices on the desks of their employees.
First, it takes some coordination to be able to use these devices in an office setting. To address that, many have developed software known as MDM (Mobile Device Management) that allows certain remote control over the devices. This type of software makes it possible to install applications, synchronize files, and obtain certain information about the devices that make up part of the company network.
But to be sure that the MDM doesn’t bring headaches for the company, the CIO must assure that the necessary investment has been made in security.
The loss of personal gadgets with confidential company information or the careless use of applications with vulnerabilities make it easier for cybercriminals to steal corporate information, which can create serious (and potentially expensive) problems for the company.
While consumerization and the use of personal mobile devices in the office is likely inevitable, it is important to never lose sight of security.