The Role of IT in the BYOT Era

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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.

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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.