There’s an interesting article in The Economist – Work-life balance: Consumer technologies are invading corporate computing.

The sub-title is eerily reminiscent of the early 1990s when PCs, initially considered a consumer technology, invaded business life and the domain of mainframe computing. The early (successful) adopters were those who embraced a new approach to IT, the same is happening again… The article describes how Arizona State University is using Google services to provide email, instant messaging and calendaring services for its students. Some snippets:

…students, many of whom were already using Gmail for their private email, have been voluntarily migrating to the new service at a rate of 300 an hour.

…a bigger reason than money for switching from traditional software to web-based alternatives has to do with the pace and trajectory of technological change… Mr Sanner says it is “absolutely inconceivable” that he and his staff could roll out improvements at this speed in the traditional way – by buying software and installing it on the university’s own computers.

…Compared with staid corporate software, using these services is like “receiving technology from an advanced civilisation” (ouch)

…most IT bosses, especially at large organisations, tend to be sceptical of consumer technologies and often ban them outright. Employees, in return, tend to ignore their IT departments.

…The old IT bosses “can’t possibly embrace this idea unless they’re getting ready to retire”

Food for thought if you are sitting (too) comfortably in the traditional world of IT…

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