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Q&A: Why consumerization won't kill corporate IT

Brad Reed | Oct. 3, 2011
Yes, the cloud is doing more nuts-and-bolts IT functions. But that doesn't mean corporate IT is dead, says Forrester analyst Matthew Brown.

If you're an IT guy who has specialized in more of the nuts-and-bolts aspects of the business, what skills should you acquire to keep yourself relevant?

I think lot of it gets down to fundamental business skills and the basics of marketing communications that influence of business decisions. The most powerful eye-opener at our conference last week came from IT professionals that had done front-end concept developments and marketing for new technology and had used video to communicate a vision of these new possibilities to the people in charge of investing in new technology. If you're an IT guy who's never taken an IT finance course that's absolutely something you need to do.

At the end of the day there will still be a market for the IT person who is essentially working at keeping the lights on, but many of those jobs will be at major cloud providers. There will also be opportunities for people to help keep the lights on at companies that never intend to move to the cloud, especially the financially-regulated companies.

In what other ways is IT becoming consumerized?

There are some interesting trends for enterprise application marketplaces. A lot of companies have looked at the model Apple has created and said, "Wouldn't it be great if we could have a central hub to let people self-service their applications?" There are interesting advantages from workers' perspective as well because, for instance, there could be an expense-management app that I could take on the road with me so I don't have to keep such extensive expense reports.

With the cloud it becomes an issue of risk but it also comes with enormous opportunities. I had a guy from Fishbowl Solutions last week talk about how he built an app for the iPad for sales professionals for medical devices. In that market there's an enormous amount of documentation that has to take place for each sale. And he enabled a Web center that went through the cloud out to the iPad to provide sales people with all the sales information they need. That's a really powerful story around consumerized devices and cloud services working together to create a really big opportunity.


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