May 07, 2012, 7:38 AM — When computing costs dropped like a proverbial stone after 1970, it created a remarkable opportunity for businesses to improve operations and grow. Suddenly, "the guys in the basement" became the IT department, and the data center manager became a very powerful CIO. This new role wielded a large budget and incredible control as companies invested heavily in enterprise applications, immense data repositories and thousands of PCs.
That was then. This is now.
Cheap smartphones, tablets and apps mean users are buying their own devices and aren't happy with company-supplied PCs, software or BlackBerrys. Meanwhile, software-as-a-service applications let users bypass enterprise systems for cheap applications they can pay for out of their own budgets -- and prefer to use.