The Applefication of the Enterprise, Part III: The Ethos of Employee Self-Service

::An apple a day keeps the doctor away but if the doctor is cute screw the fruit::

In Part II of this series, I looked at the consumerization of IT as well as the Steve Jobs’ effect. Both have driven the Applefication of the Enterprise. In Part III, I continue explaining this recent phenomenon.

Why Tomorrow is No Longer Good Enough

Years ago, employees would dutifully call IT help desks to report problems. Analysts would open tickets, document issues, attempt to find a resolution, and eventually close the case—often to the dissatisfaction of the employee.

The trend of increase employee self-reliance is unmistakable. As I write in The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business, employees have become much more tech-savvy. They have embraced self-service with open arms, often only calling IT when they have exhausted their own efforts. In a world of constant tweets, creating or customizing your own product, hyper-accurate Google searches, it’s all about now. Many employees are used to doing their own troubleshooting—and the time required to explain a problem may exceed that of solving it. Tech-savvy employees refuse to wait for a call from IT. It’s no longer acceptable. They’ve become accustomed to doing it themselves.

At the same time, these tech-savvy, overworked, and impatient employees are less willing to tolerate inferior technology while on the clock. Thanks to the prevalence of smartphones, open source software, cloud computing, and social networks, there are more ways than ever for creative employees to fly under the radar and use technologies not sanctioned by understaffed corporate IT departments.

What’s more, the last ten years have given rise to the prosumer. The term has taken on multiple meanings—and not all of them are in synch. Duncan Riley defines the word as “a combination of producer and consumer that perfectly describe the millions of participants in the Web 2.0 revolution.” The prosumer is a professional–consumer hybrid much more comfortable with surfing the web, finding creative solutions, creating content, and solving vexing problems.

This takes us back to the simplifying products and technologies of prevalent consumer companies like Apple and Google. Tech-savvy employees don’t want to wait for their own companies to get with the times and upgrade legacy apps. That is, they are anything but passive. They want to use the best stuff at work (read: Apple’s) because they already use these products at home. Employees can clamor for new toys and devices, but if the company doesn’t have the money to spend, those cries will go unheeded. Fortunately for Apple, IT budgets have stabilized after years of contracting, allowing organizations to purchase Apple’s more expensive wares. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, as evinced by the recent rise in Apple’s stock. We are seeing nothing less than the Applefication of the Enterprise.

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In the next installment of this series, I’ll be providing an example of one of the many organizations in dire need of Applefication.

–Phil Simon

Category: Enterprise Content Management, Enterprise2.0
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