2012 saw the proliferation of smart phone and tablet use, followed by the implementation of tools to harness these devices for business productivity. Subsequently in 2013, many enterprises will be faced with a huge number of different form factors, proprietary platforms and devices coming into the workplace.
As a result, there will also be a continued surge in staff downloading personal applications for business purposes – bringing the question of how they should be governed to the fore. It will no longer be possible for IT to find one solution or set of solutions to tackle this complexity, instead, IT will need to focus on governing apps and data, not the type of device.
Independent research Citrix commissioned in October found that 62% of organisations cited ‘managing applications on mobile devices’ as ‘difficult’ when introducing a BYO policy at their organisation. The enterprise will increasingly have to deal with the growing number of personal applications employees are using in the workplace on a variety of devices - and decide how they will fit into their overall business IT structure.
Until recently, enterprises have almost exclusively focused on Windows as the platform for delivering the desktop and the majority of business applications, but the proliferation of devices is in turn introducing alternative platforms – iOS, Android, web and SaaS - into the workplace as workers need secure access to all their apps regardless of where they are “located”. This is set to come to a head in 2013 as “standard” office-based workers morph into office-based, temporary, remote, flex-time and mobile workers.
James Stevenson, area vice-president UK, Ireland and South Africa at Citrix, said of the trend: “2012 saw a rise in the number of business applications available on alternative platforms, with the large developer following of Android and iOS leading the charge. Consumers have become accustomed to downloading apps like Evernote and Skype - as well as tools for collaboration, social networking and storage - onto their smart phones and tablets with ease, and then using them at work.”
“With this in mind, there will be growing pressure on the IT department to monitor the complexity of all these proprietary platforms to ensure the business still has some measure of control, or risk complexity, confusion and opening their network to the threat of malicious attack.”
In addition, Stevenson identified the following interconnecting trends as key for the coming 12 months:
Desktop migration: Whilst the majority of enterprises have already started to migrate their desktops, small and medium sized businesses are starting to realise the necessity of switching from XP to Windows 7/8 – from both a productivity perspective and the more practical issue of the expiry of Windows XP support.
Cloud services and networking: In 2013 cloud services will start to go genuinely mainstream - moving beyond the hype curve. Eighteen months ago there were a relatively limited number of true cloud services available to the enterprise.
Now, there are early signs of leaders emerging in many segments of the cloud market and that will continue to play out in 2013, as enterprise clouds come online and service provider clouds ramp up. This is an exciting time for IT managers and consumers, as well as the technology vendors that serve them. Next year, cloud will continue to change the way we build, deliver and consume applications.
Mobility: Mobility will be interpreted differently by businesses, depending on culture and operational requirements. What is certain, however, is that many organisations will be keen to capitalise further on the mobility trend - as it moves into the mainstream – adopting suitable and appropriate tools to provide the workforce with greater freedom. Those organisations that have already invested in mobility solutions will look to deepen their capability further, giving even more flexibility to employees.