Like many others I anxiously await Apple’s latest iPad/iSlate/iTablet/i(“Apple’s new Tablet which is going to change our lives and blow away the competition”), one more week to the announcement (most likely).
A quick disclaimer - I love Apple technologies. My household members are proud owners of several iPods, iMac, MacBook. If it was not for AT&T I would have an iPhone... I have even invested in Apple’s stock.
Unlike the iPhone revolution, this time the competition is not planning to be caught off guard, playing to the hands of Apple. Thinking they understand Apple direction, everyone (Google/HTC, Sony, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Nokia, Motorola, ASUS, etc.) is rushing to release a tablet message to the market followed by what seem at times pre-mature products. Eventually Apple will release their hyped device taking the market by storm…
Though a gadget freak, I wonder, what does the new tablet era have to do with the title of this post?
Well, there is an interesting phenomenon we are experiencing. Enterprise infrastructure has opened up to support remote access of employees (travel, home, remote office, etc.). In addition, mobile devices have become more powerful and many of us are getting these devices for their personal use.
Now is the time to introduce a term I’ll be using quite often I believe in my posts - “consumer employee.” In this era the line between employees and consumers is very blurry as most of us are employees at day and consumers at night. We are going to continue purchasing (and thinking) as consumers while demanding open connection to our work environment, as employees.
You don’t need to be genius to connect the dots. If you (a consumer employee) had a personal fancy/cool yet powerful device (e.g. iPhone) wouldn’t you want to use it to access your work environment (e.g. email)?
This plays nicely to Apple’s brilliant strategy. They found the secret sauce to eventually master the enterprise mobile world. Instead of battling head to head from day one with the enterprise SW/HW vendors they came up with a different approach.
Apple’s strategy is very simple:
1. Create a cool device with a relatively small number of really great features (e.g. iPhone)
2. Sell this device to consumers and dominate (not in number but in hype) the market
3. Add the necessary capabilities (again small number of features) for enterprise use (e.g. Exchange integration)
4. Leverage the satisfied/hyped customer base to create a reverse pressure from inside the enterprise (i.e. “we want to use these devices to connect to our working environment”)
5. IT/Security will try to push back but eventually will have to compromise and support these devices
The consumer employee phenomenon is not limited to mobile devices, they also want to use social networks and other “always connected” consumer mediums during the day time when they act as employees. These new challenges are not limited to security and have to be addressed. By the way many of the IT guys responsible to watch the milk are by themselves geeky consumers (and I mean it as a positive virtue).
Am I missing something? Are you convinced by now? I’ll be happy to hear your take.