I ran through a lot of content dealing with the topic of consumerization of IT over the last months. A lot of “not that interesting noise” but also some good thoughts! One of the latest on this good side being a conference keynote at info360, a panel run by Tony Byrne on this topic where Carin Forman, Director, Digital Photo Services, for HBO touched the topic in a way that I liked. Since then, I’ve been paying more attention to the topic, up to finally writing a small post on this blog, mostly because I thought I needed to put my ideas together in one place!
First as an intro, I should say that I have been a big supporter of the idea for a long time, from the day I have been able to use the same computer system at home and work (a Mac if you ask…) this has been a huge step forward in my digital life. Don’t get me wrong, this has little to do with the Mac itself and the same story could happen reversed: the one of a PC fanboy being finally authorized to use a PC in his all-Apple company! But it must be said that Apple has been instrumental in making all this happen on the hardware side, as much as Google has lately on the software side.
My other great moments of being part of this consumerization of IT thing have been when I have been able to easily access my company network from the outside (and still securely), when I have been able to use the same mobile device for both uses or more recently when I have been able to use the same ultra-usable and enjoyable web-based office and collaboration suite for personal and professional matters! The same story as millions of others…
It’s not as simple as using Facebook on the other side of the firewall
However, in my fields, our fields, Content Management, Information Management, Document Management, etc. I have been a bit annoyed by the way some are pushing the idea. I don’t think it is as simple as using Facebook on the other side of the firewall (which makes me think of this good article from Aaron Shapiro – you’ll need more than Facebook). I don’t think this as much as I was not thinking using the paradigm of blogs for all websites (from e-commerce to corporate communication) was the one solution to rule them all (I remember this being pitched at some Sixapart’s events when blogs were supposedly to take over content management and e-commerce solutions). I don’t think Digital Asset Management is always as simple as the combo iPhoto+iCloud. I think larger organizations and even smaller businesses have totally different needs and preoccupations than consumers, and, very simply, that they don’t need the same tools! This doesn’t mean I don’t embrace this idea of consumerization. I am a big believer in it. I think it is the way to go for enterprises if they want to meet efficiency! It is just that I look at the way we build solutions.
What do Facebook, Tweeters, Dropbox, Netflix, Amazon, eBay have in common? They are all, at their very core, Product Companies. They all designed and built a product absolutely tailor-made for their customers, that translate in remarkable experiences. A product that maximizes the user satisfaction, efficiency and productivity! None of them are using standard, off the shelf product! More than that, they are inventing what we call Digital Experience, setting the standards.
That is what enterprises have to replicate when it comes to building their customers’ and employees’ experiences: being a product organization and building wowing experiences for their employees as much as for their customers. (By the way this reminds me of another good article from Mike Gualtieri – software is not code, it creates experience ) whose first axiom is so true:
‘Software is not code; it creates experience’
And then it is about providing enterprises with the right tool set and solutions to enable them to be themselves: “product” organizations. This must enable them to focus on the experiences they need to build and not on the code they need to write. This doesn’t mean nothing comes off the shelf. There are certainly commodity bricks (after all there are many in the consumer side as well). Focus on the product. Focus on the experience! That, and only that, will enable users to reach the same level of satisfaction they are having in their personal digital lives.
Every enterprise should be a “Product” Organization!
This is why I like companies I work and worked for. Both Nuxeo and eZ have this strongly in their DNA. They are not boxed solutions. They are platforms that enable their users to build on top of them, to make their own product, and in the end to create efficient and successful experiences for their users! But, of course, it takes much more than only the technology…