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CIOs under pressure to support employee-owned devices

September 16, 2011 • Opinion

Increasing numbers of employee-owned laptops, tablets and smartphones crossing the corporate threshold are forcing organisations to embrace bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. At the same time, they’re challenged to strike a balance between enablement and flexibility on the one hand, and business demands for control and security on the other.

Bradley Bunch, General Manager for Microsoft Solutions, Dimension Data Middle East and Africa

A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dimension Data on the desktop virtualisation market reveals that two thirds of the 546 organisations surveyed had experienced end-user interest in BYOD policies. In addition, while PCs remain the primary endpoint, 20 to 22% of organisations said they’re already providing support for employee-owned laptops, tablets and smartphones, with a further 16 to 21% planning to do so over next two years.

Bradley Bunch, General Manager for Microsoft Solutions, Dimension Data Middle East and Africa, says that as more devices proliferate organisations, it has become increasingly important to be able to support users’ varying computing demands.

“The days of single-platform device implementations are well and truly over. Organisations are increasingly permitting their employees to move to a variety of platforms, working on whatever devices they require and funding these devices. While most BYOD policies are in the early stages of implementation, the research indicates that growing employee interest is pushing organisations to think differently.

“Employees are more empowered than ever before, which has created some chaos for companies from an administrative and management perspective. This is where the power of control has been lost,” he adds.

Bunch points out that supporting multiple devices within organisations comes at a greater cost. How best to manage these devices is the question at hand, whether through virtualisation or device independent tools and management systems.

Of those participants surveyed, 50% said they see improved self-service as a primary reason for supporting employee-owned tablets, netbooks and laptops, while 47% see lower purchase costs as a key driver for embracing BYOD.

“Desktop and application virtualisation is set to play a key role in supporting employee-owned devices and improving workforce flexibility. Desktop virtualisation’s true value lies in the enablement of mobility and flexibility regarding device choice, security and management ease,” he adds.

Bunch cautions organisations that view BYOD policies as purely an IT responsibility. “As companies enable employees to use their own devices, there will be an impact on corporate process issues such as policies, legal liability, human resources, as well as training and support.

“Organisations that prioritise and embrace desktop and application virtualisation will be able to grant employees the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere on a range of devices, and better manage access to confidential information.”

Bradley Bunch, General Manager for Microsoft Solutions, Dimension Data Middle East and Africa

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