2012 was the year the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend became mainstream, according to AppSense A/NZ managing director, Michael Bosnar, who expects the trend and a people-centric approach to technology to continue into this year.
As for why BYOD hit off, Bosnar points to users always seeking the path of least resistance when given the freedom.
“Users seek to make their lives easier by equipping themselves with the tools and processes that will make them the most productive in the context of their work and personal lives,” he said.
Beyond BYOD itself, the other key thing for Bosnar was the adoption of a “people-centric approach” by organisation in facilitating BYOD.
In particular, Bosnar has seen IT departments divert their attention from managing desktops and devices to managing users, and he attributes this to the growing mobility and consumerisation of enterprise IT.
“Some may argue that users have always been central to the pursuits of IT departments, however in practice it was all too often the desktop or the device that was king,” he said.
Often when attempting to individually manage the large amounts of devices that are capable of accessing networks, Bosnar said organisations have found themselves inundated and overwhelmed with the task due to compatibility issues and the ongoing upgrades to devices and operating systems.
Thus, the IT departments that were better able to capitalise on the benefits of BYOD were the ones that “decoupled the user space from the rest of computing and managed the user profile instead of decoupling the desktop.”
“In this person-centric environment, where the user is virtualised, thousands of users can be easily managed with policy templates and automatic reconfiguration by device, location or application,” he said.
IT departments want to improve the user experience and improve flexibility, but they also have to ensure that the overall setup is secure, predictable and personalised.
Bosnar said placing the user at the core of all IT policies can help achieve that balance.
“People-centric IT is closely mimicking what is happening in the business world, particularly in HR, where flexible work arrangements and a focus on empowering individual employees to succeed is key, rather than laying down a set business practice path,” he said.
X marks the spot
Beyond the Cloud and BYOD, Bosnar says this year would be better to be viewed in terms of “BYOX,” where the X in the acronym stands for apps, data, device or anything else a worker may use for their job.
“BYOX is about empowering users to get their job done, using the applications and data they need to use, regardless of what device they happen to be using or their location,” he said.
“Thinking solely about the device will stifle productivity and decrease innovation.”
For those reasons, Bosnar said this year may also be about the consolidation of management practices that put people and outcomes at the forefront.
“Beyond decoupling users from their desktops, these practices are decoupling workers from a particular place and particular time, transforming how we perceive work and the workplace forever,” he said.
Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.