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How the iPad will change IT forever

By Nathan Clevenger
August 2, 2011 12:01 PM ET

InfoWorld - When evaluating the adoption of mobile enterprise applications, it's important to understand the overall trends driving the adoption of the iPad within the enterprise. As I worked on the book "iPad in the Enterprise: Developing and Deploying Business Applications," I spoke to, interviewed, and received feedback from dozens of technology authors, industry analysts, enterprise software executives, Fortune 1000 CIOs, and other visionaries of enterprise IT. I felt that the best way to explore this concept was to hear from those industry leaders directly.

Although the iPad is an extremely polarizing topic on its own, the concept of the "consumerization of IT" is even more controversial. I spoke to nearly as many people who were unwilling to go on the record as to those who allowed me to quote them in the book.

[ Get Nathan Clevenger's book "iPad in the Enterprise: Developing and Deploying Business Applications," from which this article is excerpted. | InfoWorld's Bob Lewis explains why IT needs to shift to a stewardship relationship with users. | Learn how to reinvent yourself for modern IT with Bob Lewis's Advice Line newsletter. ]

The term "consumerization" first gained popularity in 2001 when it was used by Douglas Neal and John Taylor as a description for how information technology innovation was emerging in consumer-based technology, with the expectation it would eventually migrate into the enterprise.

A sea change in the IT/user relationship At first glance, the idea of consumerization might appear unlikely to have a big impact on the IT industry landscape and power structure of enterprise IT. Does consumerization really challenge the status quo of enterprise IT? Back in 2005, Gartner suggested it would.

That year, Gartner released a report saying, "The growing practice of introducing new technologies into consumer markets prior to industrial markets will be the most significant trend affecting information technology during the next 10 years."

In late 2010, Stephen Prentice, a Gartner fellow and vice president, wrote a Gartner CEO advisory titled "Seize the iPad Opportunity Now." But as early as 2005, he had written: "As perceptive CIOs seek to transform their rigid, legacy ridden infrastructures into agile, efficient, service-driven delivery mechanisms, they must adopt a pragmatic approach to managing the risks of consumer IT while embracing the benefits. Otherwise, the CIOs risk being sidelined as the 'enemy' by their constituencies."

In 2005, the idea promoted by Gartner that consumerization would be the most important trend of the next decade might have been controversial. But traction from the iPhone, which went from 0 percent adoption to 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies between June 2008 and June 2010, undeniably demonstrates the powerful impact of this trend.

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Reprinted with permission from InfoWorld. Story copyright 2012 InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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