BYOPC: Remote access for the masses

August 26, 2009

I was talking with a large enterprise today that has a remote access solution in place so that employees, not in the office, can access their applications from their home machine. So why, I asked, was BYOPC such a foreign concept? Think about it…a home machine is just another “unmanaged” device. This “unmanaged” device is simply requesting access to applications that will enable the employee to get her job done.

I think most organizations are over-thinking BYOPC. Yes, it may mean making more applications available to employees over Citrix XenApp (formally Presentation Server, formally Metaframe) or Microsoft Terminal Services, but it is not an entirely new architecture like people think. Most companies already have these types of solutions in place today for remote access and complex applications, so why not expand this implementation? Alternatively, many organizations are already looking at hosted desktop virtualization (also known as VDI) for contractors, offshore employees, call centers, etc., why not expand the implementation to provide a managed desktop environment to an employee-owned unmanaged device? I mean, isn’t this exactly what a contractor or an offshore employee has?

I know I am over-simplifying he technology underpinnings of (and the costs associated with) BYOPC, but the concept is not new. Yes, BYOPC will require you rethink the capacity of your remote access solution, but you don’t have to rethink the architecture. Honestly, my interest would be if Microsoft Direct Access can solve the capacity issues…what do you think?


Travel company interested in BYOPC

July 21, 2009

Last week I was speaking with a large travel company — one of their major IT initiatives over the next 6 months is to understand and implement BYOPC. Why? Because they believe that being the fun company to work for is a competitive differentiator as well as a recruiting benefit. This has been a key message from their HR departments for years.

In addition, they have a very demanding employee population that is embracing consumerization with or without IT. Key employee groups are already bringing in their own laptops and smartphones and using them for company activities. IT has decided that fighting this at a corporate level was not worth the risk to their internal brand with their employees.

Moving forward, this company believe that BYOPC will be part of their DNA for all employees.


If it’s good enough for the Government…

June 22, 2009

“We are having a problem delivering new PCs to all of our users — we need to get out of this refresh cycle. Help me think outside the box.” — CIO large government agency

That’s how a recent conversation started with the CIO of a large government agency. I had recently sat down with him to talk about his challenge with providing new PCs to his users on a 3-4 year basis. It was costly and he just didn’t have the IT staff to get these new PCs to all of his workers in remote locations. His request was simple: challenge him and help him think outside the box for a new desktop delivery model.

This led us down the path of BYOPC initiatives that many companies are beginning to embrace — at first, he was skeptical to say the least. But I talked about how he could give his employees either a lump sum of $2000, and let them purchase the PC of their choice OR just let his home workers use their home PC. Using one of the various flavors of desktop and application virtualization, he could allow all of these “unmanaged” or “untrusted” devices to have secure access to all of the applications and data that the managed PCs had before. In addition, his users would get to use the PC of their choice (which was a big deal for him as his organization was trying to recruit younger workers) and furthermore, he could offload all hardware support to the Geek Squads of the world.

After 40 minutes of conversation, he was sold! To be honest, I picked on this one example because I typically think of the Government as less sophisticated (maybe “risky” is better). But even stodgy government agencies are looking to BYOPC to cut costs and appease a new generation of workers. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone, right?