EMEA 2011: What IT Convergence Means to Generation Y

 Author(s): , Posted on November 8th, 2011

In 1999, we were 6 billion people worldwide, and I had just finished contributing to a massive and complex IT project where the most powerful servers, costing 3 m€ in today’s currency, was barely at the level of an iPhone 3…My nephew was 8, and just beginning to discover video games…

Fast Forward to today, the UN announced that we are going to be 7 billion people as of Monday 31st of October, 2011. Nokia just announced a new mobile phone series targeting the next “billion” mobile phone users. And my nephew, just 20 years old this week, shifted my perception on technology adoption.

He just acquired an iPad 2 as his main work device, and is leveraging it with his first “adult” job.  He came to me for a recommendation on how to secure his data and if he needed local backup on top of what he was already using.

My first reaction was “of course you need local backup”.  Indeed, I still remember the pain of losing hours of work in my younger days by not applying this very basic recommendation…then he shared how he structured his approach, with a combination of advanced IT devices and cloud computing:

  • Main data capture devices: his phone and iPad, enabling him to use lightweight components to acquire data in document formats, pictures or sounds … this is what Consumerization of IT meant for him
  • Main backup areas:
  1. For his personal “social” files, Facebook, through the shared Photo albums (and thus in the Facebook Cloud);
  2. For his professional data, the Google Cloud service (better response time than a local backup drive for HD photos) with a secondary backup system for personal and professional backup.  This system was bought as a 3-year bundle of Backup as a Service for his iPad and provided by his device vendor … enabling him to benefit from professional-class IT Services (cloud services).

Actually, it was natural for him to establish this setup, and I was hard pressed to suggest something more efficient and cost-effective given his need for mobility, resiliency and openness…

My nephew’s natural adoption and selection of this technology to enhance his new work style leads me to think that there may be win-win options on the horizon with Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) and consumer-centric flexibility in workplace computing.  

It is not so much of a surprise, as looking back we can realize that most IT shifts occurred through end- user adoption, and propagated to the enterprise space. However, the speed required to handle the generation Y “natural” expectations make me both anxious and excited:

  • Anxious because enterprises and  organizations who will not keep pace are going to be left behind and bereft of the bright new talent; 
  • Excited to see the enterprise leverage social computing and cloud development in such a way that the technology remains natural, accessible and intuitive, while making CoIT tools / techniques / approaches / work-styles successful at the enterprise level.

This will be metered by the ability to keep the workplace secure and policy compliant. Leveraging the dynamism and innovation, while keeping control, is becoming the key challenge for CIOs of this 7 billion people world.

I’ll keep track and report back on my nephew’s new mobile, social and cloud computing use, and employment innovative exploits.

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