The Consumerization of IT Can Lead to Rapid Technology Adoption

Blog Post created by jgaudin on Nov 9, 2013

In my previous blog post I talked about how Exhaustion is a Major Barrier to Collaboration Adoption and the challenges that change brings.  In a study cited by Dan Heath the challenges with change had to do with mental exhaustion rather then an unwillingness to adapt.  When people have to think about what to do because it's not their norm, their brain tires and they soon give up the extra effort.  Why is it then that some change in the workplace is adopted so easily and so quickly it seems second nature to everybody involved?


Fact of the matter is it has to do with second nature.  Or, we could call it first nature.  Why?  Because of the consumerization of IT.  There was a time when IT led the charge with new technology. As employees, the technology we used at work was far superior to the technology we had at home.  That was when the cost of technology was so high. Now, the cost of technology has reached the point where people are buying and using the latest technology long before enterprises can evaluate and deploy.


The consumerization of IT means the order of things has changed.  Now, employees are using technology in their personal lives that is far advanced from what they use at work.  Think about the things you and your friends do today using your mobile phones.  Not only do you use your mobile phone to call your friends, but you also send messages, send photos, respond to and send e-mail, browse the Internet, access financials, watch videos, make video calls, play angry birds, and so much more. 


Contrast this with what you can do with your mobile phone at work.  For many, e-mail is readily available, but there are often restrictions such as message size that don't always make mobile e-mail practical.  You can message your colleagues if you have their mobile number, but you can easily message your friends just by knowing their name or ID.  Video is readily available on your personal computers, tablets, and mobile phones, yet video is not as widely adopted in the workplace.


This means that when IT deploys "new" technology.  They're actually deploying technology that is at parity with the consumer world and there is no learning curve, so the adoption rate is extraordinarily rapid.  As you consider your collaboration strategy, think about what people are using at home to stay in touch with their friends.  Mobile use continues to grow and about 1 in 3 households has no landline phone.  This doesn’t mean the desk phone is dead, but it does mean that people expect more through their mobile phone.  We are moving toward an “always on” society with various forms of keeping in touch.  How many people are using video at home when talking with friends?  Or, social media like Facebook and Twitter?  Put the same capabilities in your workplace and watch them be used.