Is Windows 8 the Answer to Consumerization of IT Woes?

When it comes to post-PC computing, Apple's iPad has taken a commanding lead in the enterprise. However, will the security, networking and management features of Microsoft's Windows 8, slated for release next month, help Microsoft tablets take a bite out of Apple in the enterprise?

Fri, September 14, 2012

CIO — For many CIOs, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and the consumerization of IT is the nightmare that keeps them up at night. Not only does consumerization of IT create data-protection headaches, managing mobile devices is also a great deal more challenging than managing desktops and laptops. That may be just the in Microsoft requires to win back the enterprise on the mobile front with Windows 8, scheduled for release next month.

In the minds of many mobile watchers, Android was supposed to win the enterprise while Apple's iPad would remain the darling of consumers, but it hasn't played out that way. The current state of affairs may leave Microsoft an opening.

"Kind of contrary to the conventional wisdom, Apple's focus on the enterprise is netting results," says Michael King, director of Enterprise Strategy for Appcelerator, provider of multi-platform tools for mobile app development.

In July, the Appcelerator/IDC 2Q 2012 Mobile Report, based on a survey of 3,632 developers around the world, found that 53.2 percent of developers felt Apple's iOS would win in the enterprise, compared with 37.5 percent who felt Android will win. That represented a dramatic 16 point shift from just three quarters ago, when developers felt they were in a dead heat at 44 percent each.

"For developers, Android appears to be evolving more towards a consumer play, which in turn provides a key competitive opening for Microsoft in the enterprise mobile app space," says Scott Ellison, vice president of Mobile and Connected Consumer Platforms at IDC.

"We see an opportunity for Windows 8 in the enterprise," King says. "Our developers think the Metro UI is cool. They're optimistic about Windows 8, but they're also very cautious. They're not really excited about developing for Windows 7, and they also believe the Lumia launch has been pretty lame to date. While they're very optimistic about Window 8, they're not committing a lot of resources yet."

Don't Confuse BYOD and Consumerization of IT

Even in this brave, new BYOD/consumerization of IT world that grants employees a great deal of power in determining which tools they'll use to do their work, appealing to IT decision-makers with security, networking and management features may net Microsoft a lot of success.

"I think BYOD has sort of become the watch-word for consumerization of IT," says Justin Pirie, vice president of Cloud Strategy at Mimecast, a provider of unified email management services. "But people mustn't be confused. A lot of organizations are stepping up and saying either BYOD or we're going to supply you a smartphone of your choice. But tablets are still largely employer-owned and provisioned. I think we're going to see even more of that with Windows 8. What I'm seeing is that I think IT departments are going to be buying things like the Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 slates. That's going to bring the slate form factor to a lot more corporate users."

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