Last Thursday I had the pleasure to spend a few hours both exploring and participating in Interop, held at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City. As an attendee of the show I was pleasantly surprised by both the size of the audience and the number of vendors displaying on the expo floor. The diversity of the products was interesting as well, literally spanning the entire IT industry and coming to NYC from all over the world. The commonly found themes of infrastructure, networking and better IT management were all well represented, with many vendors touting visibility and information management.
As a participant in Interop, I had the privilege to sit on a panel led by Network World programming director Keith Shaw entitled Defining the Ideal Mobile Arsenal. Along with three other technology executives, the panel discussed the impact of mobility on IT and network infrastructure, highlighting the incredible adoption rate of the iPhone and iPad into the mobile workforce. The session attempted to identify the trends of mobile adoption, the types of devices that mobile workers are bringing into the workplace and the overall impact on both the IT staff and the corporate network.
Surprisingly, the most interesting point of the discussion didn’t come from a new gadget or a new IT management tool, but rather from the concept of the ‘consumerization’ of IT, where new technologies are adopted by consumers and end-users even before making it to the enterprise. This trend, proven now by the iPhone and iPad to be both real and incredibly powerful, is evidence that enterprise IT staff is going to be confronted and pressured into supporting a broader range of devices and providing that support more and more quickly from the time of introduction.
When questioned by the audience about how to confront this new reality, the panel all agreed that better visibility and control over the corporate network is the only possibility for success. Whether managing what devices are allowed to connect, the applications that are running on them or the underlying infrastructure providing access (i.e. the corporate wireless network), IT staff must have complete visibility and control in order to deliver a fast, reliable and always-on experience to the end-user.
This discussion will continue long past Interop as the next generation device, application and even connectivity force IT staff to constantly manage all of the moving parts of a mobile workforce. Thanks to Keith Shaw for leading a lively and interesting discussion!