Applications make users productive not Operating Systems or Hardware. The elephant in the room is “What is your application road map for the enterprise?” The confusion in the B.Y.O.D market is not that people are bringing in new devices but the applications they are using to produce this work. The term B.Y.O.A is starting to pop up more and more as a result. No, not Bring Your Own Alcohol which has its own HR issues in the enterprise but Bring Your Own Application. The disruptions that are happening in the enterprise are not a result of users introducing Windows based hardware but non Windows applications.
The biggest cost to the enterprise is the management of application portfolios which ultimately are becoming legacy based due to their age and feature bloat. The typical corporate enterprise customer has 500+ applications in their portfolio not including the multiple versions of the same product maintained for backward compatibility. The operating expense to maintain this is a large portion of most IT budgets each year. Also many corporate apps are still client/server based. Apple and Google are creating ecosystems for the creation of applications that are causing either problems or opportunities depending who you are in the enterprise. In the end they are forcing the conversation that many do not wish to have.
Mac users use Mac apps, ipod, ipad, and android users use tablet apps, Windows users use Windows apps. There is a common theme here I think. “The Cloud” seems to be a response to many issues in the enterprise but this needs to be used in the context of a distributed computing strategy. No internet, no wifi makes an unhappy user when they are trying to create a report so native applications do have a place in the enterprise. While you can run a Windows app on a Mac this is not the reason why Apple has been successful with iTunes and the AppStore. Content in the form of applications that gives users the means to focus on their passion which is their work is their objective not the technology. Not understanding this link traditional, corporate IT is missing the emotional aspect that is tied to this trend in the market place.
You can leverage virtualization to integrate Windows into non Windows environment but this misses the point. In the mainframe days putting a Windows UI on a green screen was called “Putting lipstick on a pig” well this is what is happening with trying to put corporate Windows apps on a non Windows device. Even Microsoft understands this as it starts to expand its MS Office too other platforms.
VDI is great but it is missing the point of why consumers are driving the change with BYOD aka BYOA. Yes, VDI extends the life of the corporate Windows software portfolio but the question “What is the enterprise application road map going forward?” still goes unanswered.