The Post-PC enterprise, BYOD and the era of self device management

December 16, 2012

The fundamental reality of this trend is that we are rapidly moving away from a world where the traditional PC is the only screen by which we get jobs done.    

In the post-PC world the traditional PC does not go away, it simply undergoes a role change. Its role goes from the singular device in which computing happens, to one that is one of many screens in which computing happens.  

We see this happening already as the mass market begins to understand that the tablet and smartphone represent important screens in their lives and begin to take time away from PCs.  

In the old world, computing was limited to a notebook or desktop. In the new world computing is no longer limited to but rather includes new devices like the tablet and the smartphone.  

For many consumers and businesses alike these new device are already playing key roles in productivity and efficiency.  

The post-PC world has implications across the board for consumers and enterprises. Most of them have to do with device management.  

There are a lot of good things that will come from the post-PC world but there will also be new challenges. The primary one being the shift from having to only manage one device per person to having to manage many devices per person.  

A bigger role for cloud

The cloud becomes essential in the multiple-device/screen per person market. When all of a sudden you have more than one screen you regularly use for any number of tasks, you want some level of device or content synchronization across all those screens.  

Connecting wires and physically syncing these devices all the time is not the best way forward, which is why Google, Microsoft, and Apple are all heavily investing in the cloud and cloud services as a synchronization solution.   

This is true in the consumer market and its also true of the enterprise market.  If I am an enterprise worker who uses a notebook or desktop, a tablet, and a smartphone, it is essential that all those devices allow me to access any an all necessary content as I move from one screen to the other.  

Using a notebook or desktop while at a desk or office, then getting up and taking the tablet to a meeting is a common use case. In this scenario, picking up a tablet and taking it to the meeting needs to be just a seamless as taking the notebook that I was just currently using to the meeting.    

This is where smarter enterprise software, device management, and cloud synchronization will make all the difference. 

Self Device Management

When it comes to the BYOD element of all of this, I can see an interesting trend happening. Consumers who will acquire technology for themselves for personal reasons but then also want to bring them to work, will slowly need to support the whole of the device for themselves.  

If a notebook, or tablet, or smartphone comes into the workplace through the front door, IT will look to support it but not necessarily manage it. The self-management of devices will lead to interesting paths for consumers and the companies who make consumer hardware.  

Consumers are already beginning to feel the pain of the multi-screen household as more and more members of each house acquire more screens.  

Managing the software and media across a slew of family devices is already a challenge and it will just get worse. Consumers will continue to use services and develop ways to manage software and content among households, as well as the management of the devices themselves and will build key skills to manage their own devices.

This will help make the transition for IT managers from manage to support a bit easier as user competence increases.  

The devices themselves are also getting easier to manage as devices like iPads run a less complicated OS than a full desktop OS like Windows. This makes it that much easier for consumers to manage these devices on their own.  

The bigger role of cloud and self device management are two of the more interesting developments that I see happening in the near future. Both are being driven by the post-PC era and consumers desire to use more than one computing screen as a part of their regular work flow.  

How we work is changing rapidly and we are barely scratching the surface of the post-PC era and the new era of mobility and productivity. 

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