Outside-In IT: A Preview of PwC’s Digital IQ Results

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Only a few years ago corporations issued corporate-sanctioned devices to employees like the army issues uniforms to new recruits. They sourced them, dispensed them and controlled how they were used. They also called the shots in how they communicated with customers. Back in the day, corporations were in charge inside and outside the firewall. That was then and this is now.

Innovation Infiltrating the Enterprise

We’re in a new era, the consumerization of IT-defined as the widespread use of technologies that can be easily provisioned by non-technologists. Employees are pushing a patchwork quilt of devices and operating systems from outside the enterprise in and it’s turning the enterprise inside out. Companies are scrambling to accommodate a potpourri of employee smart phones, tablets and apps while securing their networks.

On the other side of the firewall, corporations are feeling the brunt of the consumerization of IT as well. Customers are carrying the power of social networking in the palms of their hands. They expect to connect with corporations how they want, when they want and from where they want. If they can’t, they’ll use social networks to complain about the lack of conversation and/or take their business to more socially-minded companies.

Getting Out in Front of Tech-Empowered Employees and Customers

To get out in front of tech-empowered employees and customers, business and technology executives must reinvent their roles while rolling out a complex combination of cloud computing, mobility and social networking strategies and tactics. To see how they are faring in their quest to catch up, we surveyed 500 business and technology executives as part of this year’s Digital IQ survey. We found that corporations are taking incremental steps from the inside out to adapt to outside-in IT. Following is a sneak peek at some of the top-level findings and what they mean in relation to the consumerization of IT. (The complete results will be released in January)

Laying the Groundwork with Cloud Computing

Cloud computing makes the consumerization of IT inside and outside the enterprise possible. Whether or not corporations are embracing cloud computing speaks volumes about their willingness to facilitate this new bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment and to connect with customers across channels. If we can agree that adoption of the cloud is a litmus test, then things are looking up for some corporations.

Among respondents that identify their firms as top performers, 30% are investing in public cloud applications and 87% expect that investment to increase in 2012. We see these numbers as a sign that corporations are laying a foundation for the future with the adoption of cloud computing.

Corporations Make Mobile Advances with Employees, but Not Customers

Business and technology executives are making inroads in mobile with employees, but they still need to meet customers in their mobile worlds. Only 45% of all respondents say they interact with customers significantly using mobile channels and less than one-third are investing in mobile technologies for customers. If companies don’t connect with customers while they are on the go, their customers will be gone.

Corporations Sluggish on Social Media

Social media is not going away, yet only 37% of companies have invested in social media tools to reach customers. Social networks facilitate two-way conversations with customers that can improve and create products and services and deepen and broaden relationships with customers. Social media is a weak point for many corporations, which translates into a missed opportunity.

At its core, the consumerization of IT is about the increased expectations of people for how technology should work in all aspects of their lives-how they do business, communicate with their friends, research and make purchases, etc. To adapt to this new normal, corporations must adopt cloud computing, mobility and social media.

The Digital IQ results reveal that some corporations are willing to change while others are frozen in an industrial IT mindset. I would like to hear from you. Where does your company stand?

Image shared by the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

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