Monday, April 26, 2010

The enterprise does not matter anymore in IT

If you have been around in IT for long enough, you must remember how technology decisions were made in the past: first, the Enterprise would adopt a technology, then it would trickle down to consumers.

Apple tried to break this cycle, pushing the Mac in the consumer world, just to be crushed by Microsoft. The enterprise adopted the PC, Windows ended up in consumer homes, game over.

If you look at what is happening now, thanks to mobile, it is exactly the opposite.

The enterprise is pushing Windows Mobile? Consumer buy iPhones, bring them into the enterprise, and the IT Manager has to suck it up and build an infrastructure to support the iPhone. The CEO ego is bigger than any policy...

One more evidence? Look at the master of the enterprise software: Microsoft. They built an enterprise mobile operating system. They had a large market share there (second to BlackBerry). They started losing it fast, then they shelved the entire Windows Mobile 6.x strategy. In favor of a purely consumer-centric operating system, Windows Mobile 7. They went all the way, throwing away years of applications built by enterprises. Pissing off every IT Manager in the world.

Does it make sense? Of course, because now consumers make choices, and the enterprise does not matter anymore. The IT Manager has to take what others bring in the door.

This is not a small change. For now, this is limited to mobile phones. But it is starting to move fairly quickly to netbooks and the iPad. Who is not betting on your fancy CEO using the iPad to ready his/her email? What is going to be the result? Yep, the IT Manager supporting the iPad.

If you want to build a large company in software, you have to target the consumer space first. The enterprise will just follow. The world has changed. Mobile changes everything.