What is Happening? One result of the continual consumerization of IT, including Mobility, BYOD, and Cloud, is that the Annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas often is an indicator of significant change or improvement in IT.

Last year, we examined how core CES trends, especially as regards usage of technologies, are a leading indicator of enterprise IT and business change (read “Live From CES: Four Usage Trends Shaping Enterprise IT Right Now”).

This year, the majority of announcements and demonstrations that we see at CES are what could be considered “marginal” or “incremental,” rather than game-changing or even game-influencing. The most significant trend we see is that of consolidation, maturation and stabilization of technologies, devices, and services. And that’s mostly good news for enterprise IT and the providers serving enterprise IT groups and users.

The “mostly good” part is that a lack of significant technological changes in consumer electronics indicates a plateau, or perhaps more accurately a breathing period, for enterprise IT and for the providers supporting and enabling significant change drivers like Mobility and Social IT. Such a breathing period will be very helpful in helping to learn, and improve their ability to manage, the amazingly disparate swath of user-led IT devices, services, and other innovations that has proliferated in enterprise IT over the past few years.

The perhaps not-quite-good news, especially for enterprise IT groups and leaders, is that the lack of news doesn’t mean that the user/consumer-led revolution is over. It’s just catching its collective breath. So IT leaders and providers have to work fast over the next 12 to 24 months to organize, coordinate, learn, and especially to optimize the business value of what’s already been unleashed.

Why is it Happening? The current respite in user/consumer-led IT change is a natural, brief détente in an unending cycle of innovation and change, both driven and enabled by Cloud (read “When Innovation is the Norm, Adaptation – Not Speed – Must be the Standard”). It takes time for even the fastest-changing technologies and providers to catch up with themselves – i.e., to go from early stages into maturity.

But following every technological breakthrough come a series of innovations in how and when the technologies are applied and used. And the consumerized IT trend has been one of the most influential catalysts in this innovation trend. It’s individually cheap, it tends to be easy to use, it’s widely available, and it helps to accomplish some very notable, yet typically isolated, business improvements.

So we have a tremendous amount of growth in not only devices, but in the enabling and supporting technologies (e.g., applications, user interfaces, data formats, networks, network interfaces) and in new and innovative ways of using the for business benefit.

The limited current respite/détente is simply a symptom of markets catching up to themselves, and finding/building/fostering more innovation, standardization, and consolidation before resuming rampant, rapid growth.

For an extended version of this Research Alert, visit Saugatuck Technology.