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October 24, 2011

Brave New World: The Consumerization of IT

During the past five years or so, a trend has been growing in the business information technology sector, now dubbed ‘the consumerization of IT.’ Gartner (News - Alert) has been talking about this since 2007, and this easily has become a hot topic more recently.

In a nutshell, ‘consumerization of IT’ refers to the influence consumer technology is having on technology using in the workplace. Earlier this year, Symantec (News - Alert) did a survey and found that 91 percent of employees

This trend is opening up opportunities for companies like DoubleDutch, an enterprise software development firm that’s betting heavily on the consumerization of IT. Its goal: apply social networking concepts to address specific work-related problems.

Hyve Sales, launched this year, is a good example. Essentially, it’s a location-aware mobile app that provides an innovative user interface (UI) for accessing corporate customer relationship management (CRM) systems. 

During a TMCnet video interview with Erik Linask, TMC (News - Alert) Group Editorial Director, Lawrence Coburn, CEO and co-founder of DoubleDutch, explained that Hyve Sales is based on the check-in model used for consumer services like Foursquare (News - Alert).

A field sales employee can use Hyve Sales to quickly and easily log each customer visit from his or her smartphone, rather than waiting to get back to the hotel room and logging into the corporate CRM system using a laptop computer.

“A process that used to take ten minutes takes seven seconds,” Coburn explained. “It’s mobile, it’s social, it’s simple, it’s location-aware.”

The Hyve Sales UI works with existing CRM systems like Salesforce or SAP (News - Alert); it’s not intended to replace such products, but rather provide an easier way to access and interact with them remotely.

DoubleDutch now has seven products, mostly built around field and real-life operations of employees, with a location component.

For example, Hyve Events is a mobile app for using during trade shows and conferences, based on the concepts of location-based networking. It tells users who else is at the event, and where they are physically located, speeding up the process of making face-to-face contact.

“Hyve Events brings a smartphone’s unique capabilities to an event setting,” Coburn said.

He added that the company is working on expanding the capabilities of Hyve Events so users can not only locate people they want to speak with, but also quickly do things like log contact information and check in on specific projects.

“We think the check-in gesture is perfect for smartphones because it’s just a tap, and you’re not pulling up a keyboard and trying to type,” he said. “We’re very interested in logging human connections using cell phones.”

During the video interview, Coburn acknowledged that many software development companies view smartphones as a platform for extending the reach of their desktop applications. DoubleDutch takes a different approach, believing that smartphones represent a whole new world and applications for them should be designed from the ground up.



Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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