The Role of IT in the BYOT Era

Michael Vizard

Like it or not, the days of end users having only one device for IT organizations to manage are pretty much over. In fact, a new survey conducted by Citrix finds that a majority of end users are accessing applications for work using three devices, and two of those, the smartphone and some type of mobile computing device, are likely to be owned by the end user.

This creates a new IT reality that will challenge the way organizations manage IT in the years ahead, says John Humphreys, Citrix director of product marketing. Specifically, Humphreys says IT organizations will increasingly rely on virtualization on the client to isolate corporate applications from the end user's personal environment, while making use of cloud computing services to manage the space on an end user's machine that has been allocated to corporate applications.

Slide Show

The Rapidly Changing World of IT

Will IT organizations turn into departments that are dedicated to governing access to services rather than the actual builders of them?


Whether companies will offer end users a stipend to buy these devices as part of this bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) trend remains to be seen. Some may, in the interest of trying to promote some form of standard on the client, while others will simply tell end users to chalk it up as a non-reimbursed business expense that they should try and write off on their taxes.


From an expense perspective, companies love the BYOT concept because it means that they don't have to allocate capital to the purchase of smartphones, tablet PCs and notebooks. But from an IT management perspective, the whole BYOT concept is a little scary because of all the vagaries introduced by all the potential systems that end users might want to bring to work. That's why some early adopters of the BYOT concept are offering end users stipends on a few select systems that the company has approved for use with corporate applications. That standard will be particularly important as IT organizations try to standardize on virtual machines on the client because those virtual machines will need access to a minimal amount of memory and disk space on the client to run effectively.

BYOT also has huge implications for vendors of client systems in the enterprise because the IT department will not be making a purchasing decision on behalf of a large number of end users beyond coming up with a list of approved devices. However, it's probable that the list of approved devices will be influenced by the discount a vendor is going to be willing to provide employees of the corporation.

The biggest inhibitor to BYOT, however, might simply be inertia. Many companies have been conditioned to buy client equipment for years. And while many of them are supporting devices that end users bring in from home, they're still a long way from making BYOT standard practice within their organization, at least until IT, the finance department and human resources all get together to work out a formal policy. If scheduled now, that should result in a meeting later this year that will eventually lead to a policy that will go into effect sometime in 2012. Until then, it's business as usual.

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Feb 18, 2011 10:21 AM Nat Strickland Nat Strickland  says:

I have long been an opponent to end-users bringing in their own equipment for two reasons.  The first has always been licensing.  The risk of company software ending up on someone's home computer is too high, and with the fines for licensing violations as high as they are, it is FAR cheaper to buy the manager "that absolutely has to be able to work at home" a laptop then to let him bring in his own.

The second, and probably the most important reason, is security.  Both from things coming in, and things going out.  If an end-user is allowed to bring in their own equipment it makes taking company dataperhaps very sensitive dataout the door far easier.  I am not as paranoid as certain three initial government agencies that do not allow phones, thumb-drives, or MP3 players to cross past the security desk, but I am awfully close.  They also increase your companies exposure to viruses, the cable companies "free" anti-virus isn't up to corporate speed.   So, when an end-user want me to help with their home equipment at work, it goes into the sandbox that is not connected to the main network, and thus away from any potential impact to the companies systems.  But then, I see the bad guys at every turn.

Mar 23, 2011 11:56 AM Marco Ullasci Marco Ullasci  says:

I do understand the point made by Nat Strickland.

I'd like to put in my 2c from the other side of the fence having worked 10 years out of the main office at customer's and prospect's sites with a notebook.

With purchase cycles for the HW in the range of 4 years plus the approval of new equipment and base software taking 1 to 2 years what happens is that the individuals end up having to work, for about one half (or more) of their working life, with obsolete and underpowered hardware.

Corporate security software at the same time is bloating (not a corporate failure in my opinion, almost all the vendors seems to do the same and security threats increase with time) and people ends up with a notebook that takes 20+ minutes to boot and is painfully slow when doing all but the most trivial tasks.

Sometimes people is not able to run some tasks at all.

Unfortunately the implied costs in people's time is sunken while the hardware cost is clearly stated in the balance sheet.

Beefier HW is challenged by costs and BYO is challenged by security and licensing risk and very little moves.

How can we come out of this dilemma?

I'd say that virtualization (something like metaframe plus virtual machines with corporate approved image) plus base software licensed for BYO devices (antivirus and virtualization software) should do the trick.

I really love my 3 pounds, 7 hours run time, 8GB ram sub notebook.

But unfortunately I'm tied to a 5+ pounds, 2hours run time, 2GB of ram notebook for at least two more years as I cannot access VPN plus I don't want to pay myself for a lot of sw licenses I'd need to work on my own HW.

Being sure that everything works fine I'd be ok with having the choice to spend my money in more powerful HW or get the corporate standard HW.

I'd not be surprised if this is shared by more than an handful of people.

May 26, 2011 8:23 AM chris peters chris peters  says:

@Mike, We've been looking at this trend for a while at Intel IT - and have come to the conclusion that BYOT is a trend we can not avoid, and need to embrace inside Intel IT.  However, the BYOT is not acting alone in guiding our IT strategy - right alongside is the enabling of increased collaboration and social media solutions that are at the center of IT consumerization.

This short 2 page document (http://intel.ly/jvUEb5) summarizes a couple years of active research, evaluation and brainstorming inside Intel IT that is now guiding our direction and transformation of our IT organization from a solution integrator to a value add service provider. 

for more intel IT best practices, visit us at http://www.intel.com/IT



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