Read a post on ZDNET about how virtualization is the answer to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). That got me to thinking – Are the technologies that are being billed as enablers to BYOD actually the technologies that employees want? On VirtualizedGeek we’ve talked about many of these technologies – Application Virtualization, VDI and of course this is a virtualization blog primarily. But are these technologies actually the enabler to BYOD that many organizations are aiming?
These technologies are deployed to keep corporate data within the boundaries of the enterprise. They all help to isolate corporate data from the end user’s consumer environment and enable the organization to deliver existing applications without making major upgrades beyond the pace the organization is comfortable.
One advantage is that if a user wants to bring an iPad to work they can. The disadvantage – they bring an iPad to work and get a Windows interface. If this user wanted a Windows interface they would buy Windows devices. And the Windows interface doesn’t work well on an iPad. It’s not just an issue of iPad vs. Windows it’s also an issue of Windows XP vs. Windows 7. Users invest in technologies so that they can have the latest and greatest experience. A friend of mine was frustrated because she brought her MacBook Pro to work and couldn’t use any of its native interface and features. She experienced many of the same interface issues that made her buy a MacBook in the first place. This is why consumer by Windows 7 PC’s.
This is one of the main challenges with Windows XP. There has been an explosion of advanced applications and services tied to and introduced over the long life of XP. This has made migrating an entire enterprise to Windows 7 extremely difficult (good reason for VDI). In the meantime, the consumer market has marched along with Vista, Windows 7, iOS, Mac OS 10.7 and 14 new versions of Google Chrome. There’s a huge gap between where the end user would like their experience to be and what BYOD technologies deliver today.
Users ultimately want to be productive in the manner in which they are best productive. What’s the answer? One solution is the “Cloud”. Organizations need to start building their applications and data stores without a specific endpoint in mind. This will be a difficult shift. Office 365 and Google Apps are good examples of how software and service providers are starting to offer alternates to legacy applications that are platform independent and are viable options for BYOD. But there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. I believe Google has a good notion of where this needs to go with their Chrome Book platform but the execution and ecosystem is not where it needs to be at this point. Microsoft has taken a much more enterprise friendly approach with 365. It’s a familiar interface with features geared more toward BYOD than the previous mentioned technologies.
If you are thinking of doing a BYOD program or have implemented one what technologies have you considered and how successful has the program been from a popularity and support perspective?