The Steve Jobs Influence on IT is Now

J. Caron
J. Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • Steve Jobs’ passing sparks reflection on where technology has been and where it’s going
  • For the IT sector a focus on the individual, not the impact of consumerization, is hopefully the lasting legacy

It’s not often that a forum dedicated to business IT issues demands reflection on the contributions of an individual, but Steve Jobs’ impact was so extraordinary that failing to do so would seem bizarre. The irony, of course, is that until very recently Jobs and Apple were irrelevant in IT terms. Businesses generally didn’t like Apple’s stuff, and the feeling seemed to be mutual. But as we all know, the more recent jaw-dropping innovations from the company—specifically the iPhone and the iPad—shoved the issue of consumerization to the fore in the minds of IT managers.

These new devices simply had to be accommodated, for it was easy for any end-user to prove that they were as powerful as they were fun. The consumerization trend does not begin and end with the Jobs-inspired Apple devices—social networking and the use of video are other notable trends. But the Apple gadgets were a catalyst, and their impact in terms of management and application delivery will be an IT issue for years to come – one that many IT managers are more than happy to deal with, being themselves fans of the technology.

The consumerization of IT, however, is simply a technology issue. Steve Jobs’ massive contributions in the past decades were not just about marrying technology and aesthetics – this central activity was actually the manifestation of a focus on the individual. Jobs’ mission with Apple was to make technology about the people using it, not the machines. Grandiose? Perhaps, but we’re entering an era in business IT that is about empowering individual innovation. To be “insanely great” you have to “think different.” This is as true for businesses as it is for artists and poets.