Originally Posted by The Var Guy
If you’ve paid any attention to the computing industry in the last few years, chances are you’ve heard people discussing the trends around the consumerization of IT, including bring your own PC, or BYOPC, as well as bring your own device, or BYOD. Many people often speak of these trends interchangeably yet, while they are related, they do not mean the same thing. To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s begin with a couple definitions.
First, it’s worth stating that the consumerization of IT is really about the “empowerment” of individual users to use the device(s) of their choosing in the workplace. At the outset of this trend, BYOPC emerged four years ago as an alternative way for users to acquire their work PC without accepting the traditional company-issued model. In some instances, the user’s company will pay an upfront stipend to help offset the cost of the new PC. One of the limitations of BYOPC programs, though, is that most such programs do not include traditional company-provided IT support.
While the consumerization of IT started with BYOPC, it has exploded with the advent of smartphones and tablets. This has led to BYOD, which refers to people bringing into the workplace the devices they have purchased for their own use. As more users have found new ways to increase their personal productivity after acquiring these relatively new technologies, they’ve wanted to create a similar level of productivity improvement at work. Generally, this starts with access to three corporate applications: email, calendaring and contacts.
With the advent of BYOD, users have made an impact on IT that’s starting to transcend other areas of IT beyond the devices themselves. For example, if users feel any resistance from their IT organization to set up tools such as Microsoft SharePoint or Box.net, they now are comfortable enough using consumer versions of cloud storage applications such as Dropbox and SugarSync. Just like the hardware element of BYOD, the use of these services raises concerns about the security and manageability of data. Unfortunately, the user is out of the barn, so to speak.
So while BYOPC, BYOD and consumerization are all related, their origins and focus have been different. At this point, maybe you’re wondering, “What does it matter who selects and pays for the device I use?” “What does it matter if a user goes around IT and uses a consumer app at work?” Well, as it turns out, it matters a lot.
Consider just the PC environment at your company. According to the industry analyst firm Gartner, only 15 percent of the total lifetime cost of a PC is attributed to the purchase price. The remaining 85 percent comes from management tasks such as operating system and application updates, security and so on. Standardizing on devices that use the same components, operating systems and application environments keeps those management costs in control. Having a wide variety of devices produces the opposite effect.
If you work for a small or even a midsized company, the economics may not be so great that it becomes untenable for every person in your company to have a different PC. However, if you work in a large corporation with thousands (perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands) of PCs, you can imagine how quickly the costs can escalate to manage a wide variety of devices. It’s because of these economics that BYOPC programs focused on PCs have been slow to take off and, of the few that have started, several have since been terminated.