The various faces of BYOD

Published: 2 April 2012

‘Tablets are Toys’ chirped a tweet I read earlier this week. The supporting article elaborated along unsurprising lines. While I can’t disagree with the sentiment, you might already tell from my tone, I don’t find it a particularly remarkable observation either.

It’s viewed as a toy, so what? So were smart phones, ultra-books and all sorts of other IT consumables. Each has taken its fifteen minutes of fame as the next game changer. Each has been adopted by the consumer, ahead of the corporate, because of the simplicity of personal procurement policies, less cumbersome legacy issues, and a lesser aversion to risk in technology change.

Tablets may be the toy du jour, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Which ever brand you favour, the best tablets do nothing new but everything well. This is their appeal. Small, fast, reliable, and in the main idiot proof. A ‘sexy’ operating system augments the user experience. Ubiquity beckons.

This prevalence of high performance, affordable consumer computing has entirely spawned the growth of the BYOD trend. The BYOD movement marks an important shift; IT is now ever more focusing upon enabling enhanced consumption of IT services, and moving away from imposing devices and therefore certain working patterns upon the user base. The device simply becomes an access point for service consumption. An interesting observation is that a healthy chunk of most desktop machines hold significantly more computing power than the mundane demands placed upon them really requires.

So, is there an opportunity for the IT function to re-gear and move towards supporting the ‘app’ alone? Doubtful. BYOD diminishes the IT asset register, but it does create a demand for new support models and far wider platform integration and interoperability. This of course requires a careful review of security and risk management frameworks. Arguably this is the minutia. Productivity gains from greater accessibility, mobility and enhanced user experience are paramount.

As ever delivery of measurable business value rules. And so, toy or not, tablets are here to stay and the business has ownership at the forefront of their mind!

Matt Cockbill is a Partner, and Head of Technology Practice, for Berwick Partners.

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