Android Arrives: Consumerization of IT Gets Muddy

Many tech pros secretly abhor the consumerization of IT, says an Apple expert. Now, it will get tougher as holiday Android devices are surging toward the corporate network. But IT's reaction to Android might surprise you.

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Mon, January 09, 2012

CIO — Memo to CIO: I'd like to get email and some cool apps on my shiny, new Amazon Kindle Fire. Make it happen.

IT departments everywhere will be getting requests like this to support executives' new consumer devices that they got as holiday gifts, especially the not-very-enterprise-ready Amazon Kindle Fire. According to mobile device management vendor MobileIron, the Kindle Fire lacks all criteria for enterprise support.

Moreover, Android devices in pilot phase last year will move to mass deployment this year. Indeed, 2012 will be the year Android invades the enterprise, according to MobileIron's recent customer engagements. Yet at the same time, security experts say that Android OS has become a malware magnet.

On the iOS side, more iPhones and iPads are in people's hands, too. Verizon says it sold 4.2 million iPhones during the holiday period. All tallied, some 35 million iPhones were likely sold in the fourth quarter. The number of new iPads hitting the market won't be known until Apple releases its earnings later this month, yet analysts expect big holiday iPad sales despite new competition with the Kindle Fire.

Slideshow: 15 Ways iPad Goes to Work

All of this adds up to a wild year in the consumerization of IT. "With Android devices, it's going to get really muddy," says Aaron Freimark, IT director at Apple services firm Tekserve, which helps Fortune 1000 companies adopt the iPad.

Given Android's openness and security troubles, you'd think IT would be dreading the coming of Android in the enterprise.

But then again, maybe not.

CIO.com spoke with Freimark about this next phase of consumerization of IT and how it might impact IT and corporate networks.

We've talked about the iPad culture shock for IT. As Android devices march deeper into the enterprise this year, how will tech pros handle it?

Freimark: Consumerization of IT means innovation is now coming from the consumer space, not the business space. Yet the pride and nobleness of the IT profession is in innovation. The best IT guys think of themselves as technology inventors, not maintenance workers. So now the attitude is that they're playing second fiddle and have to figure out technology rather than spec technology.

Interestingly, a lot of IT guys are rooting for Android. The reason, I think, is that there's some unexpressed hope that they can lock down the Android OS. They can put on what they want. They can do the monitoring. They can do the auditing. They can reconfigure and redeploy with their own image.

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