How Consumerization of IT Affects Product Design

As consumerization of IT continues to gain ground in the enterprise it is driving change in professional expectations and what IT must do to deliver on those requirements, having direct affect on how all OEMs design and develop their products.

In an ever demanding world, the lines between work and home are blurring, and technology is becoming an integral part of how we live our lives. New, more advanced and feature--rich mobile devices and applications are launched each day. At the same time, mobile working continues to increase. The enormous choice and high--level functionality of modern consumer form factors has led to a significant shift in the expectations professionals have of their corporate technology. In fact, Gartner predicts that consumerization is the trend that will make the largest impact on enterprise IT in 2012 and the coming years; challenging CIOs and IT to balance employee wants and business needs.

Slideshow: Top 7 Truths About Consumerization of IT

The New Business Class

The Generation Y professional is career motivated, while maintaining a strong self-identity and sense of personal style. The shift in the way professionals use and perceive technology, together with the consumerization of IT, has seen the emergence of a new business professional; one who considers the chosen device to perform at optimal levels and be a reflection of his or herself, whether that be at work or at home.

As employee demands evolve, corporate IT is challenged with managing and supporting an ever--growing number of devices and empowering employees with the tools they need to work more efficiently and securely, wherever they may be.

End-User Expectations are Focused on CHOICE

At the end of the day, end--users want a range of CHOICE and flexibility, which must be made available by employers and IT departments. Dell recently underwent a significant redesign of its entire business computing portfolio and conducted extensive research to uncover the most important choices for end--users when it came to corporate technologies: style, comfort and performance.

Style: The image portrayed to clients and colleagues is increasingly important to Generation Y professionals -- black boxes and grey suits are no longer the norm in a world where creativity and individuality is highly praised.

Knowledge workers expect to choose from a range of form factors that measure up to the sleek and stylish design features of its consumer-focused counterparts, as well as the task at hand. One participant in the study explained that he would like his device to be more of an expression of himself, highlighting the need for corporate devices to reflect personal style and convey levels of responsibility.

Further, today's professionals no longer consider their laptop to be a tool, rather an extension of themselves and part of how they communicate and collaborate with colleagues around the world. Design is key; superior finishes, authentic materials and refined touch points are essential to ensure consumer appeal.

Comfort: The adoption of mobile working shows no signs of slowing down, and it is predicted that the number of mobile workers in Western Europe will top 129.5 million by 2013, which is approximately 50.3 percent of the total workforce¹. Large, heavy devices that are easily damaged are not conducive to this new, flexible way of working and, of course, they do not portray the stylish image professionals now expect.

Furthermore, professionals not only expect, but are beginning to demand products with consumer appeal and business ergonomics such as an ISO keyboard, track pad and point stick. Ensuring these features are in place enables professionals to conduct their work from wherever they may be, in comfort and style.

Performance: With their office being wherever they are, modern professionals are particularly demanding users. Devices need to be durable and hardwearing, with clean bold lines and offer exceptional connectivity, performance and reliability. To enable knowledge workers to access enterprise data in a secure and compliant manner wherever they may be, security needs to be a key pillar in the design process. Enterprise products should be able to offer secure access and data protection bundled into a device with consumer appeal but without sacrificing on performance.

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