A few months ago, I was getting a brutal headache reading the hundreds of CIO 100 applications stored in our database. We connect to them through our IE browser, and I couldn\u2019t make the teeny-tiny type any bigger. So, as is my habit, I complained to anyone who would listen. And then a writer said, "I can fix that," and it was for him but the work of a moment to download Mozilla\u2019s Firefox browser. Voil\u00bfI could make the type as large as I wanted. So I took a stroll around the office, glancing at people\u2019s screens, and I saw some remarkable stuff. Odd looking desktops with odd looking icons. Trillian IM conversations. Gmail and Google desktop search and Weatherfox. FileZilla. Spybot Search & Destroy. Not to mention iTunes everywhere. It\u2019s an IT potpourri out there, and it has nothing to do with our IT department. Employees downloaded these apps from the Web because a) they\u2019re available, b) they\u2019re (mostly) free, c) they\u2019re cool, and d) most important, they help them do their jobs better, enabling them to do things that our own enterprise-supplied apps don\u2019t let them do, or don\u2019t let them do as well. This is a big deal, and this sea change is the subject of Susannah Patton\u2019s story "Consumer Appeal," on Page 63, and Michael Schrage\u2019s column,"Digital Subversives," on Page 38. Once upon a time, the IT you got at work was better than anything you could get yourself. No more. In fact, these days the IT you get in the office frequently looks old-fashioned by comparison. Half of the respondents to a Gartner survey reported that 60 percent of their IT users are employing consumer-grade software in the office whether or not their IT department approves. And some enterprises are responding in a predictable manner, banning unauthorized software and electronics from the office. Bad idea. You might as well stand by the shore and tell the tide to cease rising. Not that this trend doesn\u2019t generate problems for CIOs. These applications can eat up server space; they can be destabilizing, and those that connect to enterprise systems\u2014such as desktop search\u2014can blow big holes in a company\u2019s network security. But, as Patton and Schrage point out, nobody\u2019s going to stop people from using IT that makes their lives easier and allows them to be more productive. Without that Firefox browser, for example, I could not have done as good a job vetting those applications. The challenge for CIOs will be to learn how to manage IT in this new environment, making it safe and leveraging it for business advantage. Ways to do this are already percolating. Check out Patton\u2019s and Schrage\u2019s articles to find out what some of these strategies are. And don\u2019t be scared. The IT future belongs to the users, which is how it should be.