Users think their new tablet, smartphone or laptop is the best thing they can use for work, while organisations that let users run their own devices don't have to buy new hardware. The end of support for Windows XP is also driving interest in migration to Windows 7, Windows 8 or iOS.
BYOD can add up to more management overhead than the old environment. While IT managers at some companies are stating that they will never implement BYOD, their managing directors are happily getting their new iPads running, chock-full of apps.
This reality is not helped by the fact that a lot of different approaches to providing desktop services are all being lumped under one broad term.
While BYOD's meaning should be clear – users accessing company resources with their own gadget – there are many more options to meet business needs while encouraging flexibility.
There are some IT management questions around BYOD that have to be answered as well. Should the company provide the applications? Or should users also bring in their own apps? What happens when a device is lost or stolen? Who is responsible for updates and security?
One approach is for customers to provide employees with funds to buy their own devices for work or give them a list of devices from which to choose. This is not, however, really a BYOD programme.
It also requires a specific approach on support issues where users have to buy a service package as part of their device choice or support themselves.
Or they can go for a corporate-owned, personally enabled approach which puts the onus for long-term updates and management of equipment on users rather than traditional IT support.
While this approach can reduce IT management overhead, it does rely on having an IT-literate workforce that can deal with its own day-to-day problems and only turns to the helpdesk in emergencies.
Some IT managers may see BYOD itself as a fad, but in reality there will be a lot of permanent changes in mobile computing and desktop strategies caused by it.
This overall trend involves looking at all the potential devices that users might be working on and managing them from one point. Even for companies that do not adopt BYOD, there may be opportunities to improve how their internal IT assets are managed based on new solutions entering the market.
Behind BYOD, many customers assume that reducing the number of desktop assets will reduce IT management requirements. After all, if I have cut the number of desktops I have to support, my overall IT budget can go down too, right?
Unfortunately, this is not true. Costs will simply move around the IT organisation like air bubbles under wallpaper: pushing them down in one place will only lead to costs popping up elsewhere.
BYOD will only be suitable for a percentage of users within most companies. For the rest, providing desktop PCs and keeping them up to date will remain a necessary investment.
At the same time, maintaining a fleet of PCs, Mac laptops and tablets patched and updated now will become a different sort of challenge.
One thing is definite: the challenge of desktop management represents an opportunity for resellers to engage with their customers and supply them with both advice and products that will make any BYOD transition less painful.
By building customer understanding of what these programmes actually deliver, resellers can cut through the hype and deliver better desktop strategies for their customers.
Seann Gardiner is a senior EMEA director at Dell Software Group
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