Many new technologies -- from instant messaging to desktop search tools to mashups -- are entering the enterprise via employees, who bring them -- sometimes surreptitiously -- from home.
Gartner pegs the so-called consumerization of IT as the trend which will make the biggest impact on enterprise IT in the next decade.
Not surprisingly, Google seems hip to this fact, which may go a long way toward explaining its partnerships with colleges such as the University of Arizona. Google is replacing the school's proprietary e-mail system with its Google Apps for Education, a set of collaboration tools including Google Talk, Google Calendar and Gmail.
A Gartner analyst notes:
"Think about it. Students aren't students forever. Students who begin to use this platform during their collegiate days wind up taking the platforms with them when they leave college."
Presumably for a workplace, we'd add.
Google has also partnered with IBM to add its Google Gadgets to WebSphere portal pages. So employees can add Web-based applets to personal Web pages that can, for example, help them track customer shipments.
IBM is hinting that such composite applications could become part of Lotus Quickr, Connections and possibly even Notes. It may find some friends among IT types, who appreciate not having to write the code to integrate the apps.
Says an IBM executive:
"This could change the whole dynamics of the way things get constructed because you no longer care where services come from."