Consumerization and What it Will Mean for IT

What users want from IT and what IT is able to provide them is getting farther and farther apart. Consumerization is changing the landscape of how IT services are delivered to end users.

It seems that what users want from IT and what IT is able to provide them is getting farther and farther apart.  Users want fast, easy access to their Windows desktop and business apps from any device. They don’t particularly care about security, networking or infrastructure costs. They just want to get their jobs done efficiently and conveniently from wherever they are, whether they’re in the office, waiting on their car to be serviced, or sailing the high seas on a family cruise. And, they want to be able to do all of this from whatever device they want, whether it is a PC, a Mac, a smartphone or even a tablet like the new Apple iPad.

Unfortunately, while the world at large is being bombarded by a never-ending array of new, cool consumer devices like the iPhone and iPad, most IT shops are being asked to lock down access to corporate data and to reduce costs. In a world of constant change, IT needs to be able to ensure the safety of corporate information, and minimize complexity. In short, IT needs a secure, reliable infrastructure for delivering Windows desktops and apps, not thousands of new devices to support, a bigger attack surface for hackers, and higher costs.

Over the years, IT has traditionally won out in this battle of corporate decision making. As a result, most of us lowly users have had to suffer with standard issue corporate PCs (read: unremarkable and underpowered) with limited access to IT services from anywhere outside of the corporate firewall. Simply put, we’ve been forced to sacrifice experience for the sake of security and cost.  About now, many in IT might be saying, “You’re darn right, security and cost trump user satisfaction every time.”

But look, there is a big wave heading right for the IT department and its name is consumerization.  A new generation of workers (Echo Boomers born between 1984-1996) is entering the workforce in droves (80 million in the U.S. alone) and they are bringing with them a vast array of consumer devices from netbooks, Android phones and iPhones to iPads, Kindles and even internet-enabled TVs. And guess what? They expect – no – they demand to connect all of these devices to the precious corporate network. These audacious folks want to do their jobs from anywhere at any time using any device, and they are willing to plead their case to a higher authority – the executives in the organization who want the exact same thing. In a world where choice reigns, work will not be a place you go – it will be a place you take with you. In other words, consumerization and virtual work styles will shape the IT of the future.

So what is any self-respecting IT leader to do? This new world could mean total anarchy. What about the protection of intellectual property? What about cost reductions?  

Well, what if you could build one delivery infrastructure for Windows desktops and business apps that would empower people to use any device they want, keeping all of the information in the datacenter while still lowering costs. IT wouldn’t even have to modify the infrastructure or customize their business apps for each of these new devices. One infrastructure would service all of their requirements. That is exactly the kind of flexibility that Citrix Receiver delivers to both IT and users.

Citrix Receiver is a universal client for the delivery of IT services. It runs on every conceivable type of device: PC, Mac, Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry smartphone, the iPad and now the most highly-anticipated iPhone yet, the iPhone 4 . Citrix Receiver supports automatic updates so if a patch is applied, it is instantly available to every user whether they’re connecting from a work PC, a netbook in their kitchen or an iPhone in an airport. All that’s needed on the backend is Citrix XenDesktop or Citrix XenApp – products already in use by 99 percent of the Fortune 500.

With the introduction of Citrix Receiver for iPhone 4, Citrix is once again raising the bar – delivering amazing new features such as multitasking that provide users the ability to run their apps in the background while they take a call, surf the internet or look up a contact. In addition, Citrix Receiver allows users to connect a video-out cable and project presentations right from their iPhone, giving users highly sought after new business capabilities. Finally, we shouldn’t forget to highlight something that is good for our friends in IT. All of the business data displayed by Citrix Receiver for the iPhone remains in a safe zone providing the ultimate in protection for sensitive business data. Pretty cool, huh?

Rather than just taking my word for it, go get Citrix Receiver for iPhone 4 and check it out for yourself.  It is available as a free download from the Apple App Store. Even if you don’t have Citrix products on the backend we’ve set up a full cloud demo environment so everyone can experience the power of Citrix Receiver.  Enjoy!