IT leaders must develop new device management strategies

Gartner claims the days of controlling which devices are used among enterprise are long gone

IT leaders must look to new device management strategies in order to accommodate choice among employees, Gartner has claimed, as the days of controlling the type of corporate device are over.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium 2010, analyst Nick Jones, said the days of a “control-oriented” corporate space had long gone.

“People now walk into your organisation carrying the device du jour, the device of the moment, whether it’s an iPad or an iPhone or the latest Android, and they say ‘connect me to the mobile email service, and by the way I’d like applications on it as well’, what this is doing, is forcing organisations to think about device management in a new way,” Jones said.

“It used to be that you could tell people what mobile device to use, you could say ‘BlackBerry is the corporate standard, you don’t get a choice’, and that was wonderful while it lasted but those days have gone, so we’ve got to find new ways of controlling these mobile devices.”

According to Jones, a result of this has been new management styles taking on the form of a ‘bargain’, in which employees can have a wider choice of devices, if they accept some limitations on applications.

Jones notes it is also often the chief executive officer who is keen to use the latest device on offer, and the demand has produced a growing interest in finding new technology packages.

“This will mean a mix of technology, network control, email systems and things like that,” Jones said. “It’s more expensive and it’s more problematic, but you have to do it.”

Jones also maintains that tablets will become a corporate staple in coming years, but says the idea is not to buy an employee a tablet as well a laptop and smartphone, but instead to utilise them in roles where a tablet is more efficient than a laptop.

“The thing to focus on is those roles where you can get rid of the laptop, for instance, working in sales, iPads make a brilliant sales device because they’re portable, they’re instant,” he said. “There’s also a lot of interest in them in the medical profession.

“I think you’ve got to look for applications where the tablet brings something special rather than trying to buy a tablet as well as a laptop and a smartphone.”

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