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Surface Pro Impact on BYOD Thursday, January 24, 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro tablet is due for release in a couple of weeks. Well, what’s the big deal? – The market reaction to its elder sibling Surface RT was not very encouraging. Despite the hype on the RT release, the sales numbers are not up to what Microsoft had anticipated. This was mostly due to the limited options for the apps. However, as we hear about the younger one Surface Pro, there are plenty of things to be cheered.


Surface Pro can run current Windows 7 Desktop Apps (unlike RT) and it integrates with the existing enterprise management infrastructure. For an IT Administrator it is going to be a huge relief and opportunity – Active directory, Domains, Group Policies etc. are going to work on Surface Pro!


Now, let’s see the bigger picture:
In a recent CIO Survey, 57% of the people surveyed said they have plans to deploy tablets in their enterprise environments, compared to 46% last year. Obviously, there are trends like “Tablets will overtake PCs and laptops” going around. There are lots of talks on the acceptance of Apple iPADs for corporate use.


Here comes BYOD – What is it?
BYOD is Bring Your Own Device to office for work. You own it, the corporate IT will do the policing when you are in. Your apps, data, collaboration tools, etc. will be delivered to you via internal or external Cloud. Or even a corporate desktop image with pre-loaded stuff (VDI) can be rendered to you for your day-to-day work.
However, it is not very easy. CIOs and IT managers were not really enthusiastic when the concept came in, primarily due to the concerns on security and governance. In the US, BYOD is still in its infancy because of these concerns. However, at the same time, China has widely adopted this concept for the last couple of years. It is more or less a norm in Chinese workplace to have a personal device. They seem to be less worried about the security concerns than their US counterparts. In China Android devices are dominating the BYOD spectrum.


CIO’s concerns:
Having said that, CIOs and IT Managers have genuine questions. They are worried about the loss of control, governance, and privacy. Many of them feel that Android and Apple IOS are very sensitive and fragmented to be used for corporate information. Also, the newer versions especially in Android are released every few weeks. New tablet and smart phone models are coming in almost on a daily basis! This makes the life of the internal IT support team extremely difficult and may lead to more downtime.
Now, here comes the Surface Pro. The moment IT team realized that they can extend Windows domain, active directory group policies etc. to this device, they started smiling. It is a big thing that takes the sheen out of Apple IOS and Android devices.


BYOD adoption:
Personally, I feel that there will be an impact on the BYOD adoption when Surface Pro steps in. Also, there are obvious benefits of BYOD for an Enterprise. It gives you a simpler and thin IT infrastructure to manage, with lesser end user device management and troubleshooting headache. Now IT team can focus more on the strategic innovations aligned with business priorities. There are direct savings from Power savings (Some high level calculations reveal that we can reduce power bills by 70%!). Moreover, employees will have increased mobility, higher job satisfaction, better efficiency, and productivity. BYOD can help attract and retain top talents who prefer to work flexibly. Employee on-boarding and training time will get reduced, which may directly add to the bottom-line.


Article by Marlabs Maven Sreejith Gireesan

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