The consumerization of IT or, that’s how I do it at home

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “the consumerization of IT” at some point in the last year or two. It’s a notion that many organizations recognize. But what does it really mean?

IDG Enterprise defines the consumerization movement as “the propensity for users’ experiences with technology as consumers to impact their expectations regarding their technology experiences at work.” In other words, we’ve become so accustomed to a certain user experience in our personal lives that we expect the same type of experience in our professional lives.

For example, if you are heading to dinner with friends and want to know which restaurant nearby has the best pizza or vegetarian food, chances are you know how to find that information rather quickly. We’ve become so spoiled with the volume of information available at our fingertips in our lives away from work that we expect the same thing while on the job. And with today’s dispersed workforce, accessing content from essentially anywhere is critical.

IT consumerization, coming soon to a company like yours

According to the IDG Enterprise Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise Study 2014, a whopping 83 percent of organizations plan to invest in mobile technology in the next 12 months. For some organizations, this means the addition of mobile devices for their workforce – whether it’s a smartphone or tablet device. Many even allow them to bring their own device to work.

But having the ability to work away from your everyday workstation is not exactly a new concept – laptop computers have been around for decades. However, it’s no longer just about being able to continue working when you leave your cubicle or office. It’s more about how we search for information and expect it to be displayed.

The geospatial information found within an Esri solution, along with related documents and data are no exception to the consumerization of IT movement. Gone are the days of field workers printing off their location map with the data points or infrastructure information they need, along with copies of correlated documentation such as easements, site photos, CAD files and permits. Now they want, and in many cases need, to access that information instantaneously.

So how do you put mapping in the hands of your field workforce? And how do you give access to the corresponding documents and other information needed to perform their jobs?

It starts with Esri. The mapping software organization has clearly made an investment in the consumerization of IT. Beginning with the development of ArcGIS Server and now ArcGIS Online, the power of the Esri ArcGIS platform is available without the dependency of a centralized workstation. Whether you use a desktop, browser, smartphone or tablet – you always have access to your maps.

Now that you have the power of Esri without the limitations of a designated workstation, how else can you enhance the user experience, add additional value and make your mobile workforce even more productive? Provide them with the missing documents and data needed to complete jobs right on the spot. Even better, provide the ability to collaborate on documents, push them through an automated work process and give others within the organization instant access to that information. Allow them to create new documents, photos, videos, etc. which link to the geospatial data on their Esri maps.

Sharing information across the enterprise

Using a robust enterprise content management (ECM) solution, with a proven integration with the Esri platform, lets you link your structured and unstructured content with your Esri maps – transforming a powerful GIS solution into a complete enterprise solution. This integration enables workers to access information from their familiar Esri interface without toggling between applications.

So imagine the next time you are out in the field. You receive notification of a needed repair through an automated work order form, then use the Esri map on your smartphone to locate the asset and drive to the site. But once you arrive, you’re unsure exactly how to conduct the repair. By simply clicking the asset location on that Esri map, you bring up corresponding documents – including the repair manual. Once the repair is complete, you mark the work order as such and attach a photo you’ve taken on your phone to verify the repair’s status. Then you push the form back through an automatic workflow so the original requestor becomes informed that the work is complete. You are free to move on to the next job without ever having to return to the office.

Now imagine how long this process would have taken without the consumerization of IT.

Mike Satterthwaite

Mike has spent his entire eight years with Hyland, creator of OnBase, providing marketing assistance for the partner ecosystem. Currently, he works with some of our largest integration and hardware partners as the Alliance Partner Marketing Manager, spreading the OnBase gospel to whomever will listen. Prior to that, he worked exclusively with our value-add resellers making them the best OnBase marketers they could be. Mike graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in Economics and from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management with an M.B.A. in Marketing & Finance. When he’s not inspiring Hyland’s strategic alliance partners, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, the occasional round of golf and blogging about horror movies.

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