When I started at CRN, I was given a BlackBerry and for a few years it was my go-to device. Then I got the Apple bug. I bought an iPad a few months after it came out. I loved my iPad so much that I bought an iPhone for personal use. It gave me the ability to download apps for me and my kids, the keyboard was a cinch and the camera was a great feature. Quite simply, the ease of using the device got me hooked. In fact, after those two purchases our family has added a MacBook Air, another iPhone and an iPod. In a matter of three years, we went from zero Apple devices to eight.
I was using the iPad and iPhone so much that it was a hassle to have the BlackBerry. Pinch and zoom Webmail is no way to work especially compared to the fast scroll of messages on the iPhone. So I signed an IT document and I now am getting proper access to my mail and apps on my iPhone and iPad.
But here’s the rub. I am paying for my iPhone and iPad wireless services and walking away from a company-paid BlackBerry. And I am pretty cheap. But the BlackBerry seems dated, and I want just one device to run my professional and personal life.
And I don’t think I am alone. Consumer devices are entering offices every day, and the line between business life and personal life is morphing with the combination of social media and mobile technology. So how does this affect you? Traditional corporate hardware sales in the form of client devices are going away.
In fact, John Ross, CTO of GreenPages, told me last year that in a few years he won’t even issue PCs or client devices to GreenPages’ employees anymore. Rather, employees will need to have their own laptops and will be given the ability to access the necessary applications via the virtualized environment.
Ross is transitioning and plans to have the policy in effect next year.
While this may have been met with resistance three to five years ago, it isn’t a big stretch today. Many employees have devices at home and would rather use their own system than a company-issued laptop.
And let’s look at the other corporate device killer or device replacement: the iPad. Sales in the U.S. could top 40 million in 2011 with iPad owning 97.2 percent of tablet traffic, according to comScore. Looking at the holiday season alone, Wall Street investors estimate 5 million to 7.5 million people received iPads in their stockings and 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on December 25 alone with an additional 242 million apps downloaded on Christmas Day, said mobile application analysis firm Flurry.
So what does this mean for you? If you have not changed your solution provider business model to play in a world where the consumers -- not CIOs -- are driving information technology device adoption, then you are missing the boat. Some solution providers are adapting by aggressively offering virtual desktop infrastructure that adapts to any and all devices. Others are moving to sell, support and integrate the iPad into their product portfolios. And still others are aggressively moving into telecom services with many even offering Verizon, AT&T and other smartphones to their business customers.
So let my simple little story be a lesson for you. Solution providers that ignore the consumerization of IT do so at their own risk.
BACKTALK: Kelley Damore is VP, Editorial Director for UBM Channel. You can reach her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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