The Great IT Freezeout: Is IT Becoming Irrelevant?

Disruptive IT Trends2 minutes readJul 12th, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and when it comes to the multitude and complexity of consumer devices, apps, and tools being used in the workplace today, the picture surely gets complicated.

So for the new round of research we’ve conducted with IDC on the consumerization of IT, we decided to simplify things a bit by creating an infographic on the findings.

The infographic illustrates the “Great IT Freezeout” that is taking place within organizations today. While iWorkers are increasingly purchasing and using mobile devices and social apps on their own — even employing those tools to connect with customers, suppliers, and colleagues — IT departments appear to be frozen in an arctic tundra of the past, unaware of usage patterns within their organization and stubbornly clinging to old models that no longer work in the new world of social collaboration.

The final panel of the infographic illustrates one of the most interesting findings. When we asked CIOs and other IT decision makers where they view themselves on the innovation scale, 70 percent rated themselves as late or last adopters of new technology.

For decades, IT departments have claimed they want to be viewed as a business partner, helping to advance strategic goals, rather than simply as an enforcer of policies and purchasing decisions. And yet today, as emerging mobile and social tools are unleashing a flood of innovation — new companies, new business models, new ways of getting work done — IT is seriously behind the curve and, in our view, risks making itself irrelevant by not getting with the consumerization trend.

Widely read IT outlet GigaOM also featured our infographic today. In her analysis of the data, writer Stacey Higginbotham states, “Enterprise employees have shifted from the gray and controlled world of corporate IT to the colorful Oz of consumer technologies, but according to data from an IDC/Unisys survey IT is in need of some kind of wizard to sort things out.”

Why is this happening? Is IT paralyzed by the enormity of the trend? Is IT risking irrelevance? As always, we welcome your thoughts.

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