What to Do About Consumerization? (Or, It is Not Just About Devices)

Here in Microsoft’s Enterprise Client Management team, my peers and I spend a lot of time speaking one-on-one with customers and industry analysts about the consumerization trend.   Organizations of all sizes are trying to determine what they can and should do about letting people choose their own devices to get their jobs done.  One analyst told me a couple years ago, “Consumerization is a bus.  You’re either on it, or you’re under it.   Either way, it’s coming.”  

I actually see consumerization – especially Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – as a trolley.  Yes, you can ride on it or you can be dragged under it; but, what I’ve learned from all these discussions is there is a third option.  As with a trolley in San Francisco, you can be partially on it, hanging off the side for dear life.   All seems well – you keep moving forward – but you also run an increased risk of getting clipped by the car in the lane next to you.  The point is that whether you are developing or rolling out a policy on consumerization or not, it is happening in your organization.  People are using technology beyond what IT authorizes them to – whether by bringing in their devices, using unsupported applications, or saving business data on public file stores --  whether you know it or not. According to a study done by Workshare and reported in CIO Magazine, “78 percent of finance employees use free file sharing platforms but only 35 percent are authorized by IT.”  In general, according the study, 81% of employees access work documents “on the move”, 69% use free file sharing, and only “28% of employees claim their IT departments are aware.”  Clearly, this is a problem which goes far beyond device management.

Back to the customer conversations.   They all start out the same way.  “We’re implementing BYOD.  How can Microsoft help me manage our Windows phones and tablets?    Can you help me manage the iPads my people bring in?”  Certainly, we have software to manage those devices.  We’ve been managing devices since Systems Management Server 1.0 shipped in 1994.  PC management has come a long way since 1994, and even though mobile devices carry their own special risks and requirements, the processes that you have in place to manage PCs can still apply.   You still want to configure, deliver software, inventory, and remove them from the system.

This is where the ongoing conversation surprises many people.  Letting people choose their device goes far beyond simply managing the device itself.  It’s not just how many configuration settings you can apply to those devices – although in many cases limiting access to the camera or pushing password policies are very important.   The device is only 1/4th of the consumerization dilemma.  You also need to focus on the user’s identity – since he or she is accessing information from within the office, as well as from the local coffee house.  You need to provide access to internal and public apps across various devices and platforms, and finally – and most importantly, you need to make sure the data being accessed and save on those devices is protected.  Along with the device itself, this becomes the “consumerization stack” you need to address.


Our goal at Microsoft is to bring a more holistic solution to the broader problem.  An example of this is our approach of Unified Device Management – instead of having a separate mobile device management infrastructure, toolset, and expertise, we’ve integrated Windows Intune and Configuration Manager to provide a single, unified device management toolset to manage all your devices, Windows or not, PCs, servers or mobile devices, cloud-based or on premises.  That’s not the end of the solution, though.  I tell people that simply focusing on device management not addressing the entire issue.  Remember – it’s not the lost tablet that will land your company on the front page of the newspaper – it’s the data that was on it.


Our solution, People-centric IT, covers not only device management for on-premises and cloud-based devices of all kinds, but also the users’ identity, access to applications natively on the device or remotely in the datacenter, and protection of the data itself, wherever it may rest.

Over the next several months, we’ll use this blog to talk about People-centric IT in more detail; we’ll discuss our cross-platform approach to device management and application access, drill down into specific product areas, provide guidance on how best to build on top of investments, knowledge and skills you already have, and highlight real-world implementations and provide links to additional resources.  We’d love your feedback.  In the comments section of this blog, feel free to tell us what you want to hear about; be a part of this conversation. 

To learn more about People-centric IT, and get a taste of what we’ll discuss more in this blog over the next several months, you can watch our TechEd presentation with end-to-end demos, as well as read the People-centric IT overview whitepaper

With the fast pace of software, cloud services, and exciting devices, we all have a unique opportunity of helping make people happy and more productive.  We’re looking forward to partnering with you! 

Jason Leznek
Director of Product Marketing
Enterprise Client Management

Comments (0)

  1. Graham says:

    If this is going to work, it needs to be complete in support for all devices and the provisioning and management thereof.  System Center currently only partially addressing this.  In respect of Macs, there is a real short fall; lack of provisioning.

    The other side of this for certain organization is the need to operate in isolation.  Microsoft model has become so focused on cloud services that it has neglected these organizations. With advent of Snowden's revelation into the NSA and Global Security Services capabilities has only driven those sceptical of security, in respect of cloud services, from ever using them in the future.

    Much work to do…

  2. Graham says:

    I agree that the Poeple Centric IT encompassses User Identity, Devices, Apps and Data.  In terms of Microsofts CM solution and the array of devices that this needs to support, this is lacking in MAC device provisioning at the moment.  I understand that this has been table a each release of SCCM for some time now, but has not been taken forward.  This needs to be addressed.

    MS relentless obession with cloud services, seems to be to the detriment of those organisations that are simply unable to move to this due to the closed nature of their operation and supporting infrastructure.  With the revelations of the Snowdon reports regarding the NSA and other Security Services, the desire of corporations to invest in cloud services has been seriously impacted.

  3. Ricky Day says:

    Good article and I look forward to the next part of the blog.

    Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2 & System Center 2012 R2 makes consumerization of IT/BYOD very simple to implement.  If anyone hasn't seen MVA I must highly recommend http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com for course regarding this subject and a host of others.

  4. Ryan Potts says:

    Yes my friend, I am all over this idea and technology. I have been working with a hospital and they have tasked me to get involved with BYOD but have run into countess issues regarding HIPPA compliancy.   Due to patients privacy.   Please respond to this email.

    Ryan Potts



  5. Dmitri says:

    Hi, will be good if you may share how Microsoft manage BYOD in Microsoft 🙂 in details. Is there any real research about positive finance impact for BYOD?..

    thank you.

  6. Dave Goldberg says:

    Managing devices is one thing and that definitely helps my IT team…but having the full suite of Microsoft capabilities on all tables/form factors is another…as that allows my customers to BYOD and then do work.

    Right now you can't get Lync/O365/SkyDrive Pro/etc on iPad/Nexus 7, etc, etc…being able to allow BYOD so our users can use the full suite of MS apps on any/all IOS/Android tablets would be great.

  7. john says:


    One of the key issues we have to deal With, is the use of multiple OS. Do you have good ideas for managing W8 (PC, Tablet, Phone)/iOS/MacOS/Android in the same solution?

  8. mw says:

    I am interested small business solutions with regards to specific industries: Transportation, Healthcare, and Finance. I agree with your assertion that controlling hardware will not get you put behind bars, but the data on it will. Similarly, the demise of any business is the risk of exposure of information unique to operations. Therefore, I am interested in a secure, robust, dynamic, scalable, user friendly business solution that will assist me with in improving my bottom-line, and one that can readily employed.

  9. Microsoft Virtual Stores Technology SA says:

    • Dear ,


    • I run of the market Microsoft Virtual Stores Technology SA , a subsidiary of Microsoft , formed with segments in the programs of the Microsoft Partner Network to complete business automation and interoperability with consumerization of flexible working at Microsoft, administrative and operational activities in a business ecosystem of networks in Web developed using methods and legal procedures with Microsoft technology to networking web contacts from a hotmail account with 12 years of activity in the main branches have worked , the bill was filed in Excel for privacy , the project came with the need to seek solutions to the administrative and operational problems in small and medium enterprises with the participation of local professional independent and communities of companies with records in the Microsoft Partner Network , forming an enterprise network environment on the web with robust architecture composed processes virtualized directories of websites and multi-channel scenarios and integrated systems and data center partner companies , affiliates and subsidiaries Microsoft , Yahoo , Aol and other companies of the Alliance Digital associated with the project , with information and consolidated data in Microsoft System Center through the various services with Microsoft tools and technology for the delivery of IT load optimized with a range of business opportunities , products and services of the major industries in the world of software indicated in Gartner research white paper and presented in the Gartner Magic Quadrant , and as all categories of industry and vertical market trade on the internet , intranet and extranet , creating a solid foundation for the early formation of financial capital in a company with publicly traded furniture market with training programs for financial capital Broadridge businesses, Accenture , Interactive Data , CME Group, IDC ,Bing, IDG , Adobe, Gartner ,McGraw Hill,BCU.ac.uk, Engage, Deloitte and others.

  10. 钱多多 says:


  11. 钱多多 says:


  12. Anonymous says:

    It's been a little while since I wrote about the work we are doing around the BYO and Consumerization

  13. Anonymous says:

    Last month , we announced the general availability of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, as

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