Consumer technologies ‘dominating’ the business world

The platform for applications is now very much the network - with collaborative technologies from the consumer world now regularly used by corporations, according to Cisco executives.

Collaboration was one of the dominant tech themes at the annual Cisco Live conference in Orlando Florida, with the belief that the gap was closing between the needs of end-users and IT strategy that has existed for years.

"When you think about the network as a platform not just for work but also collaborative purposes, that changes the game forever," said Marthin DeBeer, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco emerging technologies group.

"You no longer have to come to Silicon Valley to collaborate and innovate with people that are in the same physical location. Using the network as a platform and collaborative technologies, you can literally collaborate and innovate in an open fashion no matter where you are."

Doug Dennerline, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco collaboration software, said that open nature of the network was also resulting in a situation where users were becoming more empowered. IT departments had to deal with the fact that they weren't in complete control anymore, which makes it necessary for them to change their architecture or strategy.

"The biggest thing is that the nature of work has changed. You can be anywhere collaborating on any device," said Barry O'Sullivan, senior vice president of the voice technology group. "Think about where you spend your day now, this morning in your hotel room doing emails, conference calls, on the way down from the airport"

The three agreed that the consumerisation of technology' was also changing the way people worked. Consumer websites such as Facebook and YouTube did not exist five years ago but had a big effect on the business. Companies had to carefully watch these consumer technologies and embrace the web to avoid being left behind.

O'Sullivan said: "Consumerisation technology into enterprises is a huge market transition and really you want to be on that right side. When you think back to previous market transitions like telephony and IP, people that embraced and got ahead were successful and had great careers. The same is with the consumerisation of technology."