Innovation, Technology, and Life in the Cloud

George Watt

Is Consumerization Blowing You Off Course?

What do a late morning canoe trip and the current state of consumerization and BYOD have in common? More than you might imagine.

This summer as my ten year old daughter and I were out for a leisurely late morning paddle we were caught in a sudden wind storm. The winds were much stronger than normal, and came up much earlier than would have been expected. We were in the middle of a fairly large lake. Almost immediately the waves were at least as high as the gunwales. Fortunately my daughter is very comfortable in a canoe and our canoe is very stable in the water. Though the waves certainly meant a rapid transition from leisure to work.

The wind and the current were fairly rapidly pushing us away from our beachhead and toward a narrow in a river. Initially we responded by using the techniques and strokes we had been using. That made some difference, though as the wind intensified those lost effect. Our destination was upwind and the distance began to increase. Doing what we had always been doing would no longer be a successful strategy.

We made some adjustments to our technique which helped, and we started toward the beach. Then a new development. The fact that I weigh nearly twice as much as my daughter meant the bow (front) where she was seated was a bit high and the wind repeatedly spun the canoe to face the opposite direction. OK, more adjustment.

So we rebalanced the canoe. We switched places and, we faced in the opposite direction. In essence what was once the stern (back) was now the bow (front). Because of the position of the canoe’s seats this pushed her weight much further forward toward the “new” bow, and my weight more toward the center. With the new bow cutting the waves we made the beachhead in “record time”.

What does this have to do with consumerization and BYOD? During a windy walk later that day I noticed some similarities.

When the consumerization trend started to emerge many faced with their customers’ demands changed nothing. They did what they had always done. This worked for a while, until these winds of change began to increase. By then, those that had adjusted their strategies had already begun to receive the benefits brought forth by consumerization (e.g.: increased customer loyalty and satisfaction, increase in market share in core businesses…). As others adjusted, some continued to resist and paddled against the wind. In some cases their businesses were exposed to risk as employees faced with a policy of “No” and no alternative services found ways to use consumer services on their own.

Simply resisting the winds of change can make for much work and risk, and can result in missed opportunity. It can also drive these risks underground where they remain unmitigated.  So, what can businesses do to respond to CDIT and BYOD?

  • Welcome the new demands – this does not mean saying “yes” to everything
  • Learn your customers true objectives, not only what they’re asking for
  • Spin your canoe backward – much can be done with what you already have
  • Then look for new solutions (a tow from a motor boat might have been nice)

Photo courtesy of Lee Anne Watt – All rights reserved.

This blog is cross-posted at Perspectives.

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This site contains articles regarding entrepreneurship, innovation, and the practical aspects of deploying, providing, managing, and using cloud computing, and other technologies. I also share my thoughts and experiences related to consumer driven IT, social media, management issues, and about what some refer to as “soft skills”.

All works copyright 2009 – 2019 George Watt – All rights reserved.

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