VDI and The Consumerization of IT

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I know, the title is a mouthful.  bear with me.

If you are a CIO or IT Director, the time will come when you start thinking in earnest about refreshing your end-user desktops.  Software ages, operating systems lose their utility, and hardware decays.  If you’ve been paying attention to our industry’s trends, you’re likely already starting to rethink the way corporate applications and data are delivered in general.  There are two very important areas of impact and influence that have emerged recently and now demand your consideration; the widespread adoption of virtualization and the consumerization of computing devices.  Most IT folks have a pretty good grasp on the former, so let’s focus on the latter … You have my word to address virtualization next week.

What does the Consumerization of devices mean to corporate IT?

New consumer devices (smart phones, tablets, netbooks etc …)  are making their way into the corporate space with increasing frequency.  Most of these devices are unmanaged by corporate IT teams and many do not run Windows natively. That certainly poses a growing administrative headache for many organizations.  And it’s not just Apple encroaching on the corporate Windows and BlackBerry world.  Currently, there are four Android devices activated for every iPhone.  The onslaught of “smart” devices is only picking up speed.  Consider the fact that in 2011, shipments of tablets and smartphones will outnumber PCs for the first time.  Some folks have seen the writing on the wall and are taking action early.  I’ve seen that customers are already pre-ordering thousands of BlackBerry PlayBook devices because of their corporate-friendly security features.  This is to say nothing of the staggering iPad adoption we’ve been seeing across our industry … and let’s not forget that Samsung and HP each have their own tablet offerings set to grab marketshare this year.  This is definitely going to be an exciting—and challenging—year for corporate IT teams.  Are you feeling safe?

The trends are fairly clear; computer users are getting smarter and more demanding every year.  For business computing, this means that IT teams need to anticipate and address those demands, or else they risk being resonsible for talented people seeking employment elsewhere; at places that understand their needs and are willing to accomodate them.  Yikes!  Tomorrow’s workforce wants the flexibility to work anywhere, from any device.  It could be on their corporate desktop, a personal computer at home, or even at the cottage; wherever they are most comfortable and most productive.  In a knowledge-based economy like ours, this should be seen as a natural piece of our business and technological evolution; especially if you reflect on how much application delivery and mobile device technology has matured in recent years.   The IT Weapons team sees these trends every day … In fact, many of you have corporate iPad initiatives running with us right now to test these unfamiliar waters.  And we’re happy to help lead the expedition.

The lesson here is simple: be prepared.  And as always, the first step is being informed.  Thankfully, there are some great resources out there to help you, your team, your executives, and even your granny understand the future of ‘anywhere’ business computing.  This week, Citrix released a really entertaining video that illustrates how desktop virtualization and mobile devices are re-shaping the world of business computing.

Check it out … and make sure you let the IT Weapons team know what you think.

Virtual Desktops: From Wow to How

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