Internet becomes 'splintered;' some don't like it

IT found ways to support multiple devices; marketing hasn't

When I first saw this opinion piece, bemoaning the difficulty for corporate tech staffs following the consumerization of IT that now has people logging in to their corporate networks and the Internet with everything from dumb phones to tablets to paper clipboards, I scoffed by reflex.

[ See also: Can IT give users a consumer-like experience? Should they? ]

IT has to get over the idea that the multi-device universe is something to be feared and resisted. Not because it's not a thing to be feared and resisted because it will make your job harder and possibly introduce all kinds of new risks to the data and systems you've spent so long protecting.

Of course it's going to do those things.

IT has to get over it because if anyone who tries to resist in a serious, long-term way, is going to get crushed like a bug, scraped off someone's shoe on the edge of a step and flicked downhill to be swept up and taken away with the rest of the once-critically-valuable stuff filling the dumpsters out back.

Then I looked again and realized the writer was not talking specifically about IT having to suddenly manage all those devices and connect them to the net and would really, on the whole, rather not.

He was talking about outgoing marketing, communications, advertising, Web site design and all the other things companies have to learn from scratch because they grew up normal and well adjusted and never wanted to be in publishing until the Internet made them.

The story focuses on the challenge of creating a piece of marketing content or an ad or a site that is readable, fast, and pleasant to use no matter on what kind of device the customer views it.

The story is right; it will continue to be right. It has been right since a decade before it was written, in the early days of the Web when no two browsers displayed HTML in just the same way (and still don't) and PDAs, laptops and other non-standard (at the time) devices would change the displays even more. Sometimes even Linux or Mac computers would access the sites, but obviously no one could plan for that kind of random alien intrusion.

Formatting, marketing, access are still a headache for creative, production, marketing or publishing groups within most companies, but most of them don't work in IT.

They have plenty of extremely technical, often capable people, but very few of them are flat-out IT people. They wear shirts with long sleeves and shoes that are more scuffed on the bottom from walking, rather than being burned on the toes from being stared at by their owners while other humans are trying to talk to them.

Which is not to minimize the challenge of publishing in a multidevice, multichannel world.

Like I said, the story is, basically, correct, if you're talking about the right group of people.

Who are -- given tablets and smartphones and smart appliances and game consoles and Internet-connected TVs and everything else -- screwed.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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