This week was a reconfirmation that information management professionals are facing a perfect storm. Two years ago, we wrote on a topic we call Technology Populism that looked at both the business opportunities and threats presented by ubiquitous information sharing tools inside and outside corporate networks. In a nutshell, we argued that information management professionals would face: employees demanding access to corporate systems using their consumer devices; cloud-based collaboration software services that offer hard-to-beat economics; and increased complexity in managing the trust, integrity, and risk associated with information on corporate networks. Since then all three have proven valid trends. Consider three IT pros I spoke with last week at a Novell customer panel. They represented a major university, a hospital, and a law enforcement agency.
The university IT pro just gave in to demand for peer-to-peer file sharing. After his multi-year fight against student use of peer-to-peer file sharing, this IT pro finally succumbed to student demand. He's already using Google Apps for student email. Why? He couldn't compete with free.
The hospital IT pro already plans to support iPads for doctors. Reacting to demand from young doctors, he's in planning stages to support hospital apps on Apple's iPad (Wow! It's only been out for a month, right?). Unlike the university IT pro, the compelling economics Google presented directly to his team for mail and productivity were not enough to convince him the service was ready for hospital staff. What's he waiting for? More examples of other HIPAA-regulated organizations using these services.