Not so long ago, there was a time when an employee’s ability to work outside the office was hamstrung by their limited access to the right technology. Only inside the office could they carry out duties efficiently, and without obstruction. That state of affairs appears to have been curiously reversed, with the consumer market now flooded with cutting-edge, multi-functional devices that people are continually adopting in their personal lives. They have adopted these at such a rapid rate that they have left many contraptions, traditionally institutionalised in the standard office space, firmly in the shade. Many businesses have now introduced flexible Bring-Your-Own-Device policies as a result, believing that it is better to simply let employees use the most efficient of consumer technology to carry out duties.
How far can Bring-Your-Own-Device go? Do classic office stalwarts such as the PC still have a role in the future office space?
The Rise Of Bring-Your-Own-Device
We all know how the office PC has been fighting, with considerable success, its own obesity crisis for decades. Computers have become slimmer and less bulky with every new issue. The software has continually modernised along with the hardware. But for many workers and businesses, the pace is just not rapid enough to keep up with competition, and they have turned to their own gadgets.
To understand the appeal of Bring-Your-Own-Device, one should consider these three Fs. Familiarity; flexibility; functionality.
Familiarity, because the user instinctively knows and trusts the device. When a new staff member arrives, they need waste no time in getting to grips with a company-provided device. They are accustomed to its idiosyncrasies; they know where to look for certain applications. Flexibility, because the devices used are mobile and therefore allow users to move around the office while collaborating with other departments, and indeed work outside the office while maintaining full contact with colleagues. And functionality, because mobile devices are connected to the cloud and the Internet Of Things to be at their most effective, thereby granting them automatic applications and new updates.
The Nuts And Bolts
The crux of Bring-Your-Own-Device is the cloud server, which securely centralises data online. This means that it becomes accessible from any device, therefore giving employees the flexibility referred to above. This is often referred to as Agile Working: the ability to work and move freely while interacting with colleagues on a real-time basis. By storing data in the public cloud, those devices are able to interact with the cloud’s “multi-tenant” infrastructure. This means that applications are shared between businesses, and the cost is reduced. These are also upgraded on a swift, automatic basis. In addition, the cloud provides a platform that is more reliable, scalable and secure than the standard onsite server.
It is, of course, perfectly possible to access a cloud desktop from a sitting PC, but users will naturally find themselves using mobile devices to access the same data and functions if they need to work outside the office. Which begs the question: is investment in sitting hardware really worth it?
The Future Of The PC
One argument that the PC has in its favour is the spiritual value of having a desk. Research shows that despite the proliferation of Agile Working, most people still prefer to have a fixed focal point in their office where their work is tangibly centralised; they like having their own desk. It follows that it is helpful, even if only superficially, to have equipment there on a permanent basis. Beyond that, however, the PC faces a battle for survival, particularly as business becomes faster, more mobile and more international.
No employee needs the hassle of racing back to the office to use their PC to answer a vital email in the modern commercial climate. This is why, when they need to communicate in writing, they rely so heavily on devices like smartphones. When they need to work while travelling on the train, they will use a laptop. When they are having a sociable pint on a Friday, they might now use a smartwatch. And there is no reason why none of these devices will not work in the office too, as the devices that we regularly use in our private lives filter through into our professional activities.
Look around your office and it’s probably already happening in some shape or form. Does the PC have a role in the future? If any, certainly not as prominent a role as it has been accustomed to. Bring-Your-Own-Device, underpinned by cloud computing and the Internet Of Things, is leading the way in creating more dynamic enterprises.
Viastak believe that the modern business thrives on being adaptable and flexible in the face of technological innovation. Our expertise is firmly rooted in supporting enterprises to equip employees and drive growth using cutting-edge cloud-based technology, and our track record is exemplary. To find out more, please get in touch.