How Reed Exhibitions is surfing the consumer IT wave

Interview: CIO Dominic Shine on how to make friends with gadgets and influence social media...

...the lack of device and method ubiquity globally," he told silicon.com. "As the standards emerge we will absolutely embrace them."

The rise of social networks and mobile gadgetry are the most obvious signs of the consumerisation of IT - and this trend has had a big impact on the IT function by making users more demanding, according to the CIO.

"It's been a huge influencer in terms of people's expectations of how software and hardware should work and how their experience should be," he said. "It's on a number of levels so with the explosion of IT becoming sexy again through Apple and companies like that - people having iPhones, people having iPads, people going online, the explosion of social media, people using Facebook - creates an expectation of how IT should work."

Dell Streak

Shiny consumer gadgets have had an impact on the IT function, says ShinePhoto: James Martin/CNET

Of course, the consumerisation of IT also makes work for CIOs, in evaluating which of these consumer offerings can usefully be applied in a business context and what challenges their adoption poses, says Shine. Making sure people inside the business are as familiar with new technologies as the business' customers is also becoming increasingly important thanks to the consumerisation trend.

"We need to make sure our employees are as up-to-speed with that technology as our customers are, so we can use that technology to provide value back to customers."

Ultimately the CIO must strike a balance, Shine believes, between enabling access to new consumer technologies which can help the business be more relevant and productive, while ensuring critical business data and joined-up processes don't become casualties of iPad-mania.

"You've got to try to maximise the flexibility so people can use the devices that are going to make them productive, they can use the software that's going to make them productive, and balance that with security considerations, cost considerations and the business goal of making sure the business opportunity is integrated and you've got good protection over data quality, security, privacy and legal considerations," he said.

Head to the clouds?

Flexibility is also the key word for RX's cloud strategy.

When it comes to cloud, Shine believes the mix of on-premise and cloud works well for RX for now - and that's the kind of thinking he reckons should be front and centre for any CIO contemplating cloud.

"The key thing is to...