Consumers are the future, says Gartner


Consumers are the future, says Gartner

Tash Shifrin

The increasing integration of technology into everyday life will transform business technology, with control shifting from corporations to individual consumers, industry analyst Gartner has predicted.

At Gartner’s annual symposium/ITxpo in Cannes, France, the company’s vice-president and chief of research, Steve Prentice, warned that ignoring this social context to the adoption of technology was “a recipe for business failure”.

“Our top-line advice to businesses is to accept this major phenomenon, learn to control it and ultimately adapt and benefit from it. Consumerisation is the future of IT,” he said.

Gartner has found that for every mobile device sold mainly for business use, more than 20 are sold mainly for consumer use. But legacy systems, budget constraints and risk-averse management means that business IT has not kept up with this pace of change – and is falling further behind. 

Prentice said, “What was once a straightforward two-way relationship between business and technology has suddenly become complicated by the arrival of a third party – the consumer.

“Now that the dynamics have changed, the enterprise will struggle to dictate how employees and customers use technology. Products will increasingly be designed for consumers and IT professionals will just have to work out how to use them within the organisation!”

Prentice argued that future employees would demand the same level of functionality and flexibility from technology in the workplace that they experienced at home. “When those demands are not met by the enterprise, history shows us that they will find the technologies and tools needed themselves in the consumer market.”

Eventually, employees and customers could own and manage their own information and devices, granting access to businesses in a reversal of the current situation where enterprises own and control the environment, Gartner predicted.

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