Following on from Alberto Soto’s blog a few weeks ago on the key IT trends for 2012, we wanted to look into some of those trends in a little more depth.
If you haven’t come across the acronym ‘BYOD’ yet, now is the time to familiarise yourself with it and prepare to see it in news articles and headlines quite a bit over the next 12 months. It stands for ‘Bring Your Own Device’; an approach to IT being adopted (proactively and reactively) by some businesses where employees bring in and utilise their own, personal, mobile devices and use them on the corporate network. The idea is that this helps productivity, reduces the cost of providing such devices to staff, and - since employees will use their devices at work anyway - enterprises might as well try and benefit from the opportunities it presents. As with all such concepts however, there are challenges in successful adoption.
Not least security. Giving anyone (and let’s be honest, we do mean anyone) access to the corporate network via devices whose security set-up and standards could be weak at best and non-existent at worst, doesn’t sound like a good idea. The problem is employees will do this anyway to some extent; and bringing in policies that deny access doesn’t help productivity or employee goodwill. So the sensible IT department has to work on the basis that they need to build in additional security and protocols at the network level anyway. And if the company has invested in such safe-guards, why not maximise the benefits?
It seems a smart approach, but it’s not one that should be adopted lightly – because the other area that requires attention is seriously fundamental – the network. If the network – both wireless and wired – isn’t optimised to cope with the kind of increased wireless traffic BYOD will herald, it won’t just be the guy sat in facilities playing ‘Angry Birds’ on his smart-phone who is going to notice the weak bandwidth, loss of connection and other problems. BYOD demands application delivery to balance requirement across the data centre, and a campus network that can effectively enable rather than just support wireless connectivity across an office site and beyond.
Regardless, it’s increasingly likely that BYOD will start appearing on customers’ wish-lists and demands from their suppliers, if it hasn’t already.
“By 2016, at least 50 percent of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client. While the rise in popularity of mobile devices and the growing comfort with browser use for enterprise applications preordains a richer mix of email clients and access mechanisms, the pace of change over the next four years will be breathtaking. Email system vendors are also likely to build mobile clients for a diverse set of devices for the same reason. Market opportunities for mobile device management platform vendors will soar. Increased pressure will be on those suppliers to accommodate an increasing portfolio of collaboration services, including instant messaging, Web conferencing, social networking and shared workspaces”. "Gartner's Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2012 and Beyond: Control Slips Away," December 2011