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Enterprise IT now competing with apps stores, mobile devices

If IT pros won't deploy apps, users will find a work-around

October 10, 2012 05:15 PM ET

Computerworld - NEW YORK - Tablet computing has become a top priority of Fortune 500 CIOs and will eclipse PC use by 2015, if not sooner. Email is becoming a legacy technology in the face of social media. And consumer app stores are offering collaboration and communications tools that have vastly outpaced enterprise apps.

Those trends are pushing IT shops to change, and change quickly, how they manage the growing number of devices and third-party apps their co-workers are using in the workplace, according to IT experts who spoke today at the Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) Conference here.

"Users are getting access to an unlimited amount of applications ... and if they don't like that application they can throw it out and try another one," said Dion Hinchliffe, executive vice president of strategy at consulting firm Dachis Group. "It's very hard for traditional IT to compete with that."

Hinchliffe said that if enterprises don't begin developing their own internal app stores for employees to use, workers will find work-arounds that lack security and IT support. And if companies don't deploy internal social networking sites like those offered by Yammer, collaboration tools such as Salesforce.com or secure web browsers such as Dolphin, users will find their own.

But embracing a bring-your-own-device policy brings with it security concerns.

For Festo Corp., a producer of pneumatic and electric drive technology, it's about securing the data and not the device. The company is now in the midst of a four-month pilot iPad deployment.

Steve Damadeo, IT operations manager at Festo, said his company uses Microsoft HyperV to create a VDI environment for the iPads. For now, it allows him to secure the data and ignore the physical device. But he sees VDI as a stopgap measure that Festo will eventually move away from.

"We're a firm believer of secure the data and not the device," Damadeo said. "I don't care if you come with an iPhone, an Android, a laptop, a netbook, a tablet or whatever. We're interested in securing the data. If you focus on that, you can be a lot more flexible in your options.

"We believe in a two-tier approach. The first is enable basic access to it, and then get off the legacy application when possible," he said. "If I can provision it through VDI, it's no different than if you're accessing it through your laptop. However, beyond that we need to work into this idea of changing the idea of the way we handle applications."

For example, Festo custom built its sales force collaboration tool; it didn't buy from Salesforce.com. That custom app gave users access to the most frequent corporate data for sales purposes. But now, Damadeo is looking to connect data stores directly to the company's SAP CRM environment or to its Outlook and Exchange platforms.



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