BYOD bringing more value and challenges in a Post-PC world

The consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement are beneficial to today’s enterprises; if they’re willing to transform their corporate mindsets. Gone are the legacy 5- and 10-year plans that worked when a CIO had total control over an IT shop. Instead, companies should embrace and support BYOD while focusing on investments that show return in just a year or two, said GigaOM’s Structure Europe panelists in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Harish Rao, CTO, Global Infrastructure Services at Capgemini, suggested that CIOs answer this question in the Post-PC world: “We know the consumerization of enterprise is growing with both new devices and apps. How do I bring this into a non-denying mode of acceptance with caution? The challenge is to understand, digest, and exploit this movement for business purposes.” Rao noted that the most open-minded and agile enterprises will likely be the most successful in harnessing this change.

Part of the problem is the sheer number of devices, and likewise, the number of platforms finding their way into the corporate world. COO of Box, Dan Levin said the typical IT shop has 5 operating systems to manage now, requiring a next-generation set of solutions. Harish agrees, noting that we previously saw a ratio of 1 employees to 1.2 devices in the past. “Now it’s 1 to X and we don’t know what X is,” he said.

Levin himself carries no less than 7 devices to manage his workday: 2 laptops, 2 phones and 3 tablets. “I grab the one whose form factor is most suited to my task. And I want all my apps, content, access to be provisioned transparently across all of those devices,” Levin said. Surely that’s a nightmare for today’s IT unit. But there is at least one way to mange this problem while also providing data security.

“Simplicity is a given,” said Christian Lindholm, Board Advisor at Fjord. “Design-centric solutions are transforming and setting the trend. Simplification on the front end will solve some of these problems with multiple OSs.” Whether that’s virtual machines or remote access across devices, PCs and the cloud will depend on a business’s particular needs and resources.

Of course, resources are budgeted, so that’s a constraint. The BYOD crowd is getting around even that, however. Harish noted a “black market” for cloud services is cropping up. Instead of dealing with restrictive corporate policy and finances, employees are pulling out credit cards and their Amazon Web Services(s amzn) account to get things done. One way or another then, the BYOD crowd is going to use the hardware, software and services of their own choosing in this post-PC world. You can fight it and lose good talent or you can embrace it and look for opportunity.

Check out the rest of our Structure Europe 2012 live coverage here, and a video recording of the session follows below.