The i-Effect

By Bryant Duhon posted 11-28-2012 17:33


One of the most fun, and time-consuming, things I’ve worked on in the past year has been C-Change whitepaper focusing on the impact of consumerization on IT that Thornton May wrote. During the process of attending the Executive Leadership Council meetings from which the whitepaper was drawn; I took quite a few notes; I’ll share them over a few blog posts in the coming weeks (finally catching up on that New Year’s resolution to “blog more” just in time!).

Here’s the first one. Simplicity is not only needed, it’s required for adoption.

This isn’t a new issue; one of the reasons for the huge initial adoption of SharePoint has been that, at least on the surface, it’s ostensibly easier to use. One of the central themes that nearly every presenter during the ELC meetings touched on, regardless of who they were or which particular topic they were speaking about, was the expectation that “things” (as in, just about anything we use) need to be simple to use.

About half-way through the meeting in London, I jotted down “The ‘i’ Effect” in my notebook as a head nod to the ubiquity of Apple’s iWhatevers.

The “i” Effect. Underlying both device and consumer expectations is the desire for simplicity. Look at any failed IT implementation; somewhere amidst the wreckage, you’ll find a statement like “we didn’t address the needs of our users” and/or “users created workarounds because the product was too hard to use.”

One reason for the recent successes of cloud vendors is that they rely on simplicity and ease of use. Think Amazon. Or Flickr. Or Facebook.

If you’ve held an iPhone or an iPad; you know this. It’s intuitive enough that, literally, a 3-year old can use it (at least to find and play Angry Birds).

While the underlying technology complexity may be increasing; that must be hidden from the consumer. IT needs to move away from jokes like PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair). Ease of use is expected.

What do you think? How much has the iEffect amped up the pressure on IT departments everywhere – unfairly or not?

For the record, the i-effect is also a chemistry/physics term that describes some experimental observation or other.

If you want to read fully-fleshed out thoughts; download the C-Change paper. You'll enjoy it.

#CoIT #simplicity #consumerization #Apple