On the day Microsoft announced Office for iPad a group of CIO readers and Microsoft gathered to discuss incorporating consumer devices into your business strategy. The timing, you might say, was perfect.
CIO round tables are held under Chatham House Rules so we can't and won't share with you what was said or who was present; but in the light of yesterday's announcement I can share with you some of the sentiment towards the announcement and the overall trend towards consumerisation.
A diverse group of business technology leaders represented sectors such as bioscience and pharmaceuticals, financial services, communications, recruitment, legal, travel, retail, manufacturing, charity and engineering. All organisations, as you'd expect, had seen consumer devices impact their organisation, either through adoption by the workforce, but also as the cause of a greater digital interaction with their organisation by customers.
Inevitably the discussion opened on the day's news, that Office is to be available for the iPad. The sentiment around the table was positive towards Office for iPad, but the question in the room was – is it too late? CIOs at the event asked whether the diverse landscape of applications that users have become accustomed to is now the norm. However, many believed a single experience whether on a tablet, PC or phone type device offered real user and business benefits. An opportunity for Microsoft, perhaps?
It was agreed by all that mobile computing is one of the biggest revolutions to take place in enterprise computing and all were keen to discover and exploit transactional opportunities these devices and applications offered to their sectors.
Security was of course a concern to every business technology leader present, but was not seen as an inhibitor to mobile device adoption, only that security is a key starting point for development of a mobile strategy.
Integration and increased complication remains a challenge and many on the table agreed with the point put forward by this title that we have in many ways gone backwards as tablet devices often insert processes that hadn't previously existed, but the speed and lightness of the devices won over these complications.
Consumer devices are having a great impact on the organisation and announcements like Office on the iPad will, in all likelihood, increase the prevalence of these devices in the enterprise. As a result business technology leaders are rethinking every facet of their application and devices strategy.