Monday, November 30, 2009

Consumerization of IT

A new generation is entering the workforce and they are just not going to take it any more. Brian Gentile, CEO of Jaspersoft, did not say these exact words, but it conveys the intent of the introduction to his talk on "Consumerization of IT" at the November meeting of the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG.

Brian was talking about Generation Y, the first generation to have grown up with computers and instant communication to the extent that they take them for granted. More that that they have expectations about these tools and what they can do with them. Unfortunately, enterprise software has often created systems that are slow, ugly and so difficult to use that it can requires weeks of training. While previous generations have put up with difficult software because they know no better, Gen Y does know that it can be better and is not going to put up with software that does not match up.

Brian identified 4 characteristics that Business Intelligence, or any enterprise software must provide to meet the next generations expectations. They are:
  • Elegant presentation.
  • Easy access to data.
  • Extensive Customization.
  • Built In Collaboration.
To do collaboration properly, software applications must fit into a collaboration platform rather than have each application provide its own silo'ed collaboration mechanism.

While I have heard people argue that current Business Intelligence software does not provide a good user experience, Brian put a positive light on this trend, as if the change is for the good and the right thing to do. He is certainly positioning JasperSoft to provide these features and meet the requirements of the next generation.

Brian ended with another optimistic note. The cost of Information Technology is coming down with cheaper hardware and Open Source software. CIO's can direct the money they save to new innovative projects. A good example of this movement is Ingres talking about "The New Economics of IT" as they have been doing for some time.

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