A glimpse of the new Apple MacBook Air reinforces the growing gulf in desirability and performance between the latest consumer-oriented technology and the outdated laptops issued to business executives. At the same time Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child initiative is dragging down the cost of basic laptop technology well below the traditional price point that industry is used to paying. Of course we all know that the cost to manufacture a laptop drops by a half every eighteen months or so. But for years we’ve been blinded by the continuing bloating of operating systems and applications to meet the modern equivalent of Parkinson’s Law, i.e. that laptop software expands to fill the available memory.
So it’s time to take a good look at where all this is leading. We struggle more each day to adapt our rigid desktop architecture to meet the requirements of a rapidly evolving business world in which business partnerships, supply chains and customer requirements demand frequent changes to desktop systems and connectivity of external client devices. Why not take the plunge and begin the journey to a brave new World in which users can select and connect their own clients? It’s a natural evolution. After all, most organisations have ceased selecting, purchasing and maintaining company cars for their staff. Isn’t this the same?
Well not quite. It’s all technically possible these days, but such a radical change will have a massive impact on enterprise architecture, security, procurement and maintenance. Not to mention the shock to organisation culture, service level agreements and outsourcing contracts (which can run for up to ten years). It’s certainly not a trivial exercise. Which is all the more reason to start planning now. Because consumerisation is an inevitable trend that’s coming everyone’s way.