The Consumerization of Business Processes

Charlene OHanlon

Like it or not, business processes and the applications that support them are moving out to the Web. All this is happening not in the form of some basic Web pages hosted on a server, but rather in the context of unified communication experiences that will require chief technologists to master video, audio, instant messaging and a range of other tools inside commercial applications.

The good thing about this is that now that the Internet is earning its stripes as a valuable business tool, thanks to widespread broadband service and the increasing number of devices attached to it, demand for Web-based service is expanding rapidly.

The latest research from In-Stat proves this: During calendar year 2009, an average of 8.8 million new broadband subscribers worldwide signed up for service each month, according to the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based research firm. By 2013, In-Stat forecasts that the number of global broadband subscribers will surpass 1 billion.

As the robustness of the Internet backbone increases and we see more adoption of iterative programming models, the sky will continue to be the limit on the services offered via the Web. 3D representations of a process on your network? Perhaps. Transparent siloing of information? Probable. Easy, touch-screen integration of applications on different networks? Coming soon.

The truth is, it's impossible to tell what the advancements of the Internet will offer in the way of business applications. But the change is occurring, and companies that embrace that change will be more prepared and better off than their counterparts. The question is whether your organization is ready to embrace that level of change and attenuated innovation, or sit back and watch somebody else eat your company's lunch because they put in the time and effort to reinvent their business processes to take advantage of widespread availability of broadband networks and the next generation of applications those networks enable.

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