By: Ken Hilker
Resistance is futile. Desktop transformations are assimilating the standard corporate computer. I was speaking to a friend and former colleague the other day that had recently turned in his corporate laptop, and was glad to be rid of it! He was now working from home three days a week, using his personal computer to connect to a virtual desktop environment hosted in the corporate datacenter. He had connected his iPhone to his company's email server for mobile access to email and calendar appointments. His company had not provided him with a single device with a hard drive (for a financial company this had huge security benefits) and my friend hadn't even noticed. The only hardware device that his company was providing was a low powered Linux thin client for the days my friend ventured into the office.
In July 2011, Forrester Research reported that 60% of companies were supporting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy and Gartner Research forecasts that Virtual Desktops will account for 10% of enterprise desktops by 2014. For this new wave of desktop computing to roll out successfully, IT must accept that one solution will not fit all. Trying to migrate 100% of desktops to thin clients will fail. Trying to migrate 100% of laptops to tablets will also fail. IT must learn to "right-size" their users by matching their computing needs to a menu of new device options. Some will be best suited with traditional desktops and laptops. For others, a thin client or a tablet may suffice. And some may not need any corporate provisioned devices at all.
To make this assessment IT needs a much deeper understanding of their users than ever before.
- What applications are they using? Can those applications be virtualized or run in a multi-user environment?
- How much data is stored in the user's profile? Does it need to be secured?
- How often does the user require mobile access? Will they need offline access, or will they always have an internet connection?
- What type of processing power is needed?
The culture shift of trading in a laptop or desktop for a thin client or an employee owned device is a major hurdle for many companies. It is highly recommended to evaluate the questions above in detail with a programmatic solution. Use the data collected to match your users to a computing solution with capabilities that best aligns to their needs. When paired successfully, your users, like my friend, will be only too happy to trade in their device.