A New Systems Management Reality

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Mobile Computing Goes Mainstream Across the Enterprise

Survey finds that most are planning to implement mobile computing applications in 2011.

Like it or not, diversity has come to the IT landscape in the form of mobile computing. Unfortunately, many IT organizations are planning on managing mobile computing devices pretty much the same way they approached the incursion of the Apple Macintosh onto the corporate network: Treat them like second-class citizens.

It's unlikely that the technically-savvy employees who are bringing these devices to work are going to put up with that for very long. Most of them are pretty adept at bypassing the IT department when they really want to get something done. You still hear IT managers talking about how they won't allow these devices on their network, but all you can do is smile because you know that by prohibiting these devices from the corporate network all the IT organization is doing is making the corporate network less relevant to the business. And as the corporate network becomes less relevant to the employees, so, too, do the people running it.

Rob Meinhardt, president of Dell KACE, a unit of Dell that specializes in systems management appliances, says IT organizations should start thinking about how to manage IT where the fundamental requirement is going to be finding a systems management platform that can really manage multiple platforms. Right now, most of the systems management tools in the enterprise are Windows-centric. Windows will always be a core component of the IT landscape, but unless internal IT is seen as being equally adept at managing all platforms, end users are eventually going to revolt. And once that happens, it almost never ends well for the internal IT department.

None of this is going to happen overnight, so IT organizations have time to plan for it. But it is happening much faster than most IT managers realize and in ways they don't necessarily see because the employees are working with Web applications that are not on the corporate network. That activity more than likely violates any number of corporate policies, but the more it happens the less affinity those users have with the IT department. And once that happens, the conversations about outsourcing the internal IT department are usually not very far behind.

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