Tag Archive | BYOD

A sting in the tail for Apple Users?

There have been a couple of articles in the last week that have really got me thinking about the consequence of using products from the world’s most valuable brand.

The first article that appeared in wired magazine shows that the Ratio of PC to Mac Sales Narrowing to Lowest Level in Over a Decade. Whilst the article cites that industries that use video and photo editing are typically Mac-centric, I think it is easy to see their use in many more scenarios than this.

For the better part of the last two decades, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs focused on the outward appearance of his company’s products with an enthusiasm unmatched by his competitors. The unique designs that resulted from this obsession have given Mac products the “hip” image that they enjoy today. However, this ‘hip’ image also comes at a premium on acquisition, particularly when you consider that if you take apart a Mac computer, and you take apart a PC, you will find that they use the same parts and components. Both have: a motherboard, processor, RAM memory, graphics card, optical drive, hard drive etc.

However, they do not use the same software which brings me to another hidden cost that I had not heard of until recently.

Over the weekend I read an article in the WSJ that stated Apple Mac users booking holidays on the travel firm Orbitz’s web-site were paying up to 30% more than Windows PC users! Mainly because they could and would.

Orbitz are defending the tactic as an ‘experiment’ and believe some of the data has been taken out of context, with their CEO commenting: “However, just as Mac users are willing to pay more for higher end computers, at Orbitz we’ve seen that Mac users are 40% more likely to book 4 or 5-star hotels as compared to PC users, and that’s just one of many factors that determine which hotels to recommend a given customer as part of our efforts to show customers the most relevant hotels possible.”

So basically their website was interpreting the type of software accessing their content and then used advanced algorithms to render the more expensive options if it was Apple based. Whilst this has created a flurry of social media objection and conjecture, marketing data for this company showed that Mac users are associated with a somewhat richer demographic than PC users and Orbitz CEO Barney Harford defends their position stating that its software is simply showing users what it thinks they will want to see and buy.

The WSJ believes that the sort of target marketing undertaken by Orbitz will become more commonplace in the future as retailers become bigger users of predictive analytics.

Clearly, the challenge with this approach is that there is an assumption that if you use a Mac, then you stand out as a big spender. Whether it is true or not, I sense that other organisations will soon follow suit and will try to see that you place bigger orders as a result. In theses austere times, its just another factor of cost that sometimes isn’t considered by the more well heeled advocates of completely corporate wide BYOD scheme.

Personally, I think it’s just another example of how quickly the dynamics of the workplace and technology are moving – and as an Apple user myself I’ll be keeping a keen eye on my purchases!

In you are interested, you can read the WSJ article here

To BYOD or to BYOD – “Thats now the question”

BYOD (Bring your own device) is a business outcome that has taken the enterprise IT world by storm.  The marketeers have neatly positioned the term to collate the myriad of products and services available to allow a “non IT department owned and managed device” to connect to the corporate environment effectively, securely and reliably. For quite a while the BYOD was term was aligned with forward thinking, dynamic organizations keen to attract and retain generation Z employees and accommodate their “non standard” computing needs. Numerous articles and statistics presented quite a disruptive viewpoint that “tomorrow’s generation” would vote with their feet and avoid “old school” organizations with restrictive end user IT devices & policies. But the story has changed quite dramatically in the last twelve months with the need for “flexible end user device” policies now a major topic for most organizations. BYOD does not describe a product or even a solution but the end state desired by either the organization or the end user. With that in mind as we accelerate through the “tablet” era and for some the “post pc era (somewhat premature for me)”, end users are not only demanding the use of an end point device of their choice (or close to it), they are increasingly circumventing often restrictive IT polices to achieve it for themselves. 

A quick scan of the web will highlight many stories chronicled from some of the world’s largest organizations that outline the extraordinarily high number of “stealth” or non company issue Smartphone’s, tablets or laptops found connected within their own environments after a standard audit.  With so many “non company issue” end user devices now fundamental to the professional outcome delivered by company employees or end users, a wholesale shutdown is no longer an option – instead a new way that educates and embraces the end user plus delivers a means that the organization can become “end user centric” from a device perspective whilst still retaining control.  The plethora of solutions marketed to deliver BYOD outcomes help with the challenge but no one “silver bullet” exists to solve the problem. BYOD interfaces many elements of an organization not least the people (attitudes, device choice, etc), the devices themselves, capital expenditure costs, operational support costs, applications and so on.  Seeking a quick fix to resolve BYOD issues is likely to be costly in the long run, so careful planning and leveraging specialist insight will deliver immense value.

As the UK’s leading workplace transformation partner, Computacenter possesses a view second to none of the impact of new IT end point device form factors and operational approaches within the corporate environment.  Connectivity and security underpin BYOD success and the Computacenter services portfolio includes solutions from industry leaders including Good Technology, Mobileiron, McAfee, HP, Symantec, Juniper to name a few. More recently the Computacenter networking and security team achieved the lucrative Cisco ISE ATP accreditation to deliver the highly regarded Cisco context aware, access, accounting, authorization platform within enteprise organisations.

BYOD really can deliver a win win for smart organizations. With solutions such a Cisco ISE and companion products, organizations can successfully enable BYOD from a connectivity perspective whilst regaining visibility and control.  Compare that to a pre BYOD environment where end users may be activity working to circumvent IT policy and control and with it creating an ever greater security risk than the original policy strived to prevent.

Like it or not for many organizations, BYOD isn’t if, or when, it’s now.

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: colinwccuk

Make money and save the planet!

This week I experienced a 24-hour period of extremes! During Wednesday morning I spent some time with the CEO and President of Citrix, following up on some of the underlying channel strategies for their recent Synergy summit announcements in SFO (see previous blog “Are the exceptions of the PC era becoming the new assumptions of the Cloud era?” ). Citrix are clearly moving their strategy and messaging to being able to accommodate the “any-ness” related to devices and cloud and it is in the former that I witnessed the extreme.

Fast forward 24-hours and I was privileged to be invited to official opening of our new facilities for our remarketing, redeployment and recycling subsidiary – RDC. During the Managing Director’s welcome speech and tour, I was amazed at some of the statistics they shared.  Just a few to sample below:-

  • This unique facility extends to 22 acres and houses 355,000 square feet dedicated to the processing and sale of used IT assets
  • Turnover and profitability has grown over 100% in the past 3 years
  • They have recently been awarded their third Queen’s Award for Enterprise, this time for International Trade, adding to the awards for Innovation and Sustainable in 2002 and 2009.
  • They have remarketed, redeployed and recycled enough equipment in the last 2 years to fill the new Olympic Stadium nearly 350 times!

Gerry and his team should be very proud of the achievements they have made.

So how does this related to cloud and devices? Well, even as RDC looks forward to see what the business holds for them in 2012 and beyond – ‘The cloud’ and consumerisation are the key technology drivers! However, for RDC, this is also coupled with the economic tilting of the world  towards the South and East that will also shift the origination and market for used product. Whereas in 2003 less than 5% of their customers’ product was left the UK, it is now approaching 80% that is being exported.

At Computacenter, we know that more and more of commercial and consumer traffic will be driven to the cloud, and people will want to access software and data through a diverse range of devices.  In the same way we are developing new services around application delivery, data-security, device management and fulfilment of BYOD/Employee choice schemes – RDC recognise that they need to offer more flexible access to dispose of and purchase used equipment. You only have to look around you to see the diversity and growth – but what is happening to the old devices that consumers are so keen to drop whilst they move to the latest and greatest gadget? (in increasingly shorter cycles).

Well that is where RDC are one step ahead. They have already developed a range of web solutions for consumers and employees, to return and purchase used equipment on-line, which you can see here at  Money4computers.com.

That is why we believe in delivering truly end-to-end infrastructure services. So even whilst all of the development around cloud and devices is focussed on taking business to new levels of efficiency, mobility, flexibility and agility – with our capabilities in RDC there is also the opportunity for our clients to make money and save the planet at the same time!

Is wireless the oil of tomorrow?

As usual, Canalys CEO Steve Brazier made several thought provoking observations during a presentation to the assembled Lenovo channel partner forum in Berlin earlier this month. The topic that really grabbed my attention was the increasing importance of wireless technology in everyday life. In a recent internal blog, I wrote about wireless and the fact that it’s now one of the most essential commodities in my life which still feels odd at times for something that can’t be seen or touched.

But think about it. Like most people, many years ago I was handcuffed to the PC in the study if I wanted to do anything ‘on line’ or run the gauntlet of the 10m cable and the then heavy and usually very hot laptop to remain part of the family in the lounge. Now I have smartphone and tablet at my disposal wherever I am in the house as well as smart tv, Apple tv and a myriad of other devices all communicating with the tiny little box in the study. Can you imagine life without wifi?

As more and more of us access increasingly rich content from our smartphones and other devices, the demand on wifi bandwidth will reach incredible proportions. How will this be delivered, who will ‘own’ the supply and will a whole new market emerge in the same way that oil is traded today? Entirely new businesses will be created to profit from this opportunity and unless existing companies adopt new strategies to evolve their business models, they may find themselves with a fight on their hands.

Within the business community, growth in BYOD is as inevitable as rain during a bank holiday. IS departments have little if any choice in the matter and instead should be focusing their efforts on building strategies for securely incorporating the multitude of new clients into the network. The subject of security has never been more important and if your own organisation is seeking advice or support on this or the future of wireless in the workplace, please speak to us.

Generation Z research

As I’m writing this blog, our Press Department is swinging in to action to publicise some very intriguing results that have arisen from an independent survey we recently commissioned.

We have investigated one of the hottest topics in the news the ‘consumerisation of IT’ and BYOD, which confirms there has been a significant shift in IT thinking which is mainly end user led and driven by the sophistication and proliferation of consumer devices in the workplace

However, the research has thrown up an anomaly that suggests IT departments have potentially misjudged the attitudes of young workers towards new workplace technology trends and their demands for consumer devices at work.

Interestingly more than half of 16-24yr olds in the workplace – dubbed ‘Generation Z’ – state they don’t want an iPhone or tablet device in the office, and that they believe that it is more important for companies to stay in control of data than to embrace consumerisation.

Even more surprisingly given the growth of social media apps, 85 % of Generation Z employees surveyed actually prefer to communicate with their work colleagues face-to-face, with only 17 per cent voting for using instant messaging or social media networks.

Generation Z just want to be given the right tools to do the job; although they have grown up with instant messaging and high-tech gadgets, they don’t necessarily want to bring them to work.

IT departments need to avoid getting caught up in the hype surrounding consumerisation – it is just one of many enablers for today’s contemporary workplace, but organisations do need to address the growing flexible working requirements and the  heightened performance expectations of the technology demanded by members of staff – young and old.

Experience shows that when corporate IT systems prevent workers from delivering their best – that is when they can start to take matters into their own hands. Connecting people (to people) and information, simply and efficiently, remains the core objective.

Having cast doubt on the current widespread assumption that Generation Z, who have grown up with smartphones and social networks, are driving the ‘device rebellion’ in Enterprises, you might want to read the full report… it makes for an interesting read.