Everyone has been talking about how the increasing use of personal mobile devices in the workplace is "consumerising" organisational IT. The boot is now firmly on the foot of the consumer, not the corporate buyer or SMB decision maker.
But mobile gadgets are just client devices. Most of the decisions will still be made by business people for business reasons. Or will they?
We are starting to see consumerisation affecting the purchasing patterns of other products. NAS boxes, for example, that are being bought for use at home to store digital photos, films and personal data, are being taken into the office to answer the seemingly insoluble problem of growing storage needs.
We have also started to see a similar pattern emerging with wireless hubs and even power-line adapters, which many people are starting to use in the home to improve the performance of gaming or entertainment boxes too far away from a router to pick up a consistent signal.
These ideas are being taken to work, and that is changing the way businesses buy products. This is a positive for resellers because the confidence with which people are talking about technology and its benefits is beginning to rub off on the decision makers.
Every business needs to be careful about its spend these days. But consumers often buy instinctively. Some have said it is not the customer's job to know what they want.
This is the same with all technology. Users do not want technology until they know about it. Usually, this only happens when they use it themselves, or after someone has told them how great it is – we have all seen the enthusiasm devices such as the iPad evoke. That is now happening for other products and technologies.
This is sweeping away the traditional concerns of cost and RoI. Consumerisation is creating a colossal army of technophiles virally marketing new products.
These enthusiasts insist they be allowed to use their own tablets, smartphones, and faster, simpler, better home networking and storage technology at work.
Decision makers ought to invest in or at least investigate technologies such as dual-band 802.11n wireless, power-line networking and NAS. They are often simple, cost effective, and they work.
It means some of the smokescreen that has surrounded IT is being blown away, but it also means that more businesses and public sector organisations are prepared to invest in simple products without needing to go through a long cost-justification exercise.
Consumerisation is making it easier to sell technology.
This does not mean that all resellers need to morph suddenly into retailers. Business and public sector customers will still need the guidance, expertise and experience of resellers, to help them make the best use of IT. That will never change.
But resellers should be mindful of the changes taking place and ensure they make customers aware that they can provide all the "consumer" technologies that their employees are using at home for business use.
Antony Byford is head of UK and Ireland channels at ZyXel Communications
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