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The consumerization of IT will force more change in the next 10 years than any other trend in business or technology, and part of that change will be a continued drive towards cloud computing service models.

That’s according to Citrix Systems’ CEO Mark Templeton, who addressed the issues around the consumerization of IT and its effect on enterprise IT systems and the cloud during his keynote at Interop 2011 in Las Vegas.

As Templeton noted during his presentation on the opening day of Interop, the computing experience that consumers get differs hugely from the experience they’re getting from enterprise IT systems, which is creating pressure on companies and vendors to drive change and continue to evolve computing models. In a world where workers are increasingly demanding the ability to use their personal computing devices for business purposes and where they can get their own cloud applications in a self-service manner, there is an incredible change in the way people are working and computing.

The world is moving from the PC era to the cloud era, which is changing the IT conversation, the role of IT, the user experience and the business outcomes that are possible with computing, Templeton said. In the PC era, everything got locked down and organizations felt the need to build and own everything IT. It created rigid costs and complexity. The cloud era has a different set of defining characteristics. It’s a much simpler environment that is less about being locked in and more about opting in, he said.

“It really is about IT moving [and] expanding the role of IT,” Templeton said during his presentation.

People can now conduct business of all sorts from wherever they choose, and that leads to a stronger emphasis on a service delivery approach to IT. Templeton compared it to DirecTV, in that DirecTV doesn’t own the content it makes available but is instead an aggregator that provides the availability of the content, its security and the user experience. It’s highly flexible and highly reliant on service delivery. IT becoming this way, too, he said.

Basically, IT is moving up the stack where there’s direct impact on business through orchestrating, aggregating and delivering of services when and where they’re needed, Templeton said.

“This is a huge change in every sense of the word, including mindset. I’d argue that it’s a change that will be delivered by the most powerful force we’ve ever seen in computing, which is the consumerization of IT,” Templeton said.

Consumers are taking control of IT in a way they’ve never done before. They’re bringing their own personal devices into the business world, connecting them to enterprise applications and data, and have the ability to self-provision their own services in the cloud.

“We’re going to have to respond because it’s on a roll,” Templeton said.

What’s the message for IT organizations of all types? Don’t fight it. Feature it.

It’s increasingly a “bring your own” world, and IT can choose to embrace the devices that employees are buying with their own money and are comfortable using for both personal and business uses.

Templeton didn’t speak to the challenges inherent in supporting all manner of consumer and business devices in a corporate environment, but he did note that there is an opportunity for IT to empower workers with a powerful service delivery network in the cloud. Happy, empowered users that can use any device, any connection and do business will be more productive, he said.

The change within the IT organization will mean the “back wall” of the data center will become a view out to a variety of cloud services that IT and its end-users can connect to for infinite capacity and elasticity. With the cloud, IT has the ability to deliver any service to any device, he said.