Key Takeaways from CITE Consumerization of IT Conference

Several thousand attendees are at CITE, learning about the wave of BYOD and other mobile IT issues that are turning enterprises on their heads. 

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SAN FRANCISCO—It was only a matter of time before consumerization-of-enterprise-IT conferences began showing up, and now they're here.

IDG's first CITE (Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise) Conference and Expo, which opened June 2 at the Marriott Marquis here, has attracted about 1,000 attendees interested in the wave of BYOD and other mobile IT issues that are turning enterprises on their heads.

Most of the companies one would expect to be in attendance—Cisco Systems, SAP, AT&T, Citrix, Dropbox, Box, BMC and others—are indeed represented, in addition to a group of up-and-coming mobile software companies, such as Armor5, AirWatch and AppSense.

Topics of seminars and keynotes include bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and governance, BYOS (bring-your-own-service), building a cloud-based service organization, and the interestingly titled "Crapplications and the Art of Zen Mobility."

Here is a summary of some information bits from Day 2 on June 3 that might be considered key takeaways.

Takeaway 1: BYOD for doing business for a company is just the start of a bigger revolution in the enterprise, proclaimed keynote speaker Gary Hamel of the London Business School.

Hamel is the author of a new book What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition and Unstoppable Innovation.

Businesses have always been run as top-down, hierarchical organizations; that model has run its course for many lines of business, Hamel told conference attendees. "Bureaucracies need to be replaced. BYOD is the beginning of the end of the CEO-and-down concept. Employees want the power to make their own decisions, set their own schedules, work from wherever they can be comfortable, and BYOD helps free them to do that," Hamel said.

"As amazing as it sounds, companies can get along without a hierarchical group of managers if the employees are self-motivated enough to do their work on their own volition. What we'll be seeing next are concepts such as SYOG (set-your-own-goals), DYOJ (design-your-own-job) and AYOE (approve-your-own-expenses). It's not that far-fetched."

Hamel then showed a series of charts (one is pictured here) from research that indicates dissatisfaction with management from employees in many different sectors. That's not a new story, certainly, but as companies grow and hierarchies get bigger and more widespread, managers maintain less effectiveness. It's on the employees to know their jobs and have the responsibility to get it done correctly.

"Or in this brave new democratized work world, their fellow employees can vote to fire their colleague," Hamel said.

Takeaway 2: Even large successful companies that have innovated in the past must keep innovating in order to stay current.

"Remember when Tom Peters wrote the mega-bestseller In Search of Excellence in the mid-1980s?" Hamel said. "He focused much of the book on a great, creative company called HP. You know, 'The HP Way,' creating new $50 million businesses, the story of the garage, classic Silicon Valley. And HP was an innovator in those days. But then [CEO from 2005 to 2010] Mike Hurd, Mark Hurd—what's his name?—basically drove all the innovation mojo out of them."

Hamel said he remembered the day Steve Jobs introduced the iPad.

"About three or four times during his presentation, he stopped and said: 'It's just so beautiful to hold!' Can you imagine Mark Hurd standing up on stage with an HP product and saying: 'It's just so beautiful to hold!' Not a chance. Companies have to keep reinventing themselves and their products."

Takeaway 3: Brian Katz, director of mobility engineering at Sanofi, a French multinational pharmaceutical company, described the term "crapplication" as a mobile app with bad functionality, a bad user interface or—God forbid—both of the above.

"If all you have is a mobile strategy, then you've already failed," Katz told his audience, some of which were probably simply there out of curiosity from the title, "Crapplication and the Art of Zen Mobility." "Any type of mobile or app strategy has to be tied directly to a business strategy, or it all does nothing for you or your customers."

Katz asked how many people used SharePoint and then stored the documents into an online service, such as Box or Dropbox. About one-third of the people in the room raised their hands. "Have you informed your security people that you're doing that?" he asked. No one admitted to it.

"Apps should be both simple and fun to use," Katz said. "Figure out exactly which functions your users will need, and focus on only those. [Microsoft] Word has more than 1,000 features—did you know that? Most people use less than 10 of them. Don't put anything more than you need into your mobile app."

CITE conference continues through June 4 at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...