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CIOs face great upheaval regarding the hardware they deploy to employees. A
generation ago, they had to determine whether applications were best run on
mainframes, minicomputers or PCs connected through local-area networks. Each of
those required significant financial investment, but the decision was not
complicated by employees clamoring for the technologies they wanted.
What is different about today is that, for the first time, employees are
making demands about the technology they use. Smartphones and tablets have
evolved from consumer toys to corporate tools. And in many cases, even without
corporate IT permission, employees are going ahead and buying those tools
Learn more about Enterprise Mobility.
Business users have turned the tables on IT. For years, IT evaluated new
tools and technologies and deployed them to serve users’ needs, only to have
those users often balk at shifting from time-tested processes to new, unfamiliar
technologies. In the past, IT faced challenges with large enterprise
deployments, but now with mobile technology, employees have found technology
that they actually love to use and that they are demanding to use at work.
Having grown accustomed to consumer-based mobile technology and applications
that work more intuitively and quickly, employees want corporate applications
that behave in the same way. That is consumerization at its most challenging for
IT—it is not just the plethora of mobile devices, but the ease with which
employees have mastered them. Perhaps for the first time, employee expectations
(though not necessarily their understanding of what is required) is actually
ahead of IT.
Unfortunately, there is still a disconnect between what employees want and what IT needs. Employees want advanced mobile devices, but IT prefers devices that meet functional requirements, and are more secure and manageable if they connect to back-end databases, data centers and servers.
Companies are also focused on budgetary implications of mobile technology.
Currently, most enterprises pay for corporate laptops and some subsidize
smartphones for their employees. It is unlikely they will subsidize or support
yet another device (nor would IT appreciate having to support another one).
But as the capabilities of tablets and laptops converge, how will enterprises
determine what to purchase and deploy to employees? Is there a valid business
case in switching from corporate-issued laptops to converged laptop/tablet
devices? How do the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon or creative subsidy
models that many organizations are evaluating affect that business case?
There will be calm after the storm, and here’s why: although it is not as
simple a swap as laptops were for desktops, tablets will eventually converge
IT should start thinking about what it will be rolling out to employees and
what employees will be purchasing on their own in 2013, when the chaos may begin
to subside. It may still be difficult to standardize then, given the spectrum of
options—laptops, ultrabooks, hybrid PC/tablets and tablets—but options should be
dictated by what works for employees aligned to what can be enterprise secured
Accenture provides four tips to help IT be more proactive in accommodating mobility:
April 18, 2013
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