More businesses will allow their employees to use the devices they want at work this year as technology development...
is increasingly consumer driven.
Business consultancy Deloitte made the prediction as part of its report on trends in technology for 2010. It said that companies will increasingly allow their workers to choose their own devices to link to the corporate network.
Paul Lee, director at Deloitte Research, said the trend is happening at corporates of all sizes and marks a major shift in IT procurement policy.
"This kind of thing was seen as madness by IT people a few years ago," added Lee. "Not long ago they wanted to standardise everything."
He said there are a number of trends that have come together to drive this approach. Devices themselves do not have to store applications, consumers can access corporate software via the internet and consumer devices can harness broadband and be as powerful as corporate machines.
"A lot more applications are available in a web form, such as e-mail. There is a continued push towards cloud computing and manufacturers are developing technology for consumers," said Lee.
By leaving the device choice up to the workers, the IT department can focus on developing the internal IT to best support the workers with their personal devices, he said.
"The future of many enterprise computing and telecoms tools will likely involve compromises between work and personal life, that is, employees being available 24/7 but allowed to choose their own smartphone," said Deloitte.
Paul Watson, professor of computer science at Newcastle University, said that there would increasingly be a blurring between work and home life. "It is quite difficult to stop it happening."
He said although it is always a good idea to have devices tailored to a worker's needs, a policy like this will be challenging for businesses to govern. For example he said there could be security risks if information is not properly secured. "It is a question of how organisations will govern it, but it could be difficult to lay governance over this."