PCs will still reign supreme over smartphones and tablets for mobile working

The increased use of mobile and tablet devices in businesses will fail to topple PC dominance over the next three years, according to research.

The increased use of mobile and tablet devices in businesses will fail to topple PC dominance over the next three years, according to research.

A survey of 664 IT and business professionals by analyst Freeform Dynamics reveals the majority believe PC price, power and performance improvements will drive an increase in PC adoption by 2014.

Recent Gartner and IDC figures showed a decline in PC sales due to delays in refresh cycles and increased purchases of tablet devices.

But, in the report titled Mobile Computing Checkpoint: The present and future of flexible working, Dale Vile, CEO at Freeform Dynamics, and Andrew Buss, service director at Freeform Dynamics, wrote, "Full-function PCs are the most important client device for business computing today and the view is that this importance will actually increase, not decrease, in the context of mobile working over the coming three years."

Vile and Buss believe smartphones and tablets will continue to be used as complementary devices to PCs for mobile working. However, IT infrastructure and security policies to support and manage other mobile devices are yet to catch up with the greater use of consumer devices within businesses.

"Without solutions to keep all devices in sync with each other and with network resident data stored in the datacentre or cloud, problems will arise around information fragmentation, consistency and completeness that could have a real productivity and business integrity impact," said the report.

The study says risks exist around inconsistent security policies and user authentication while technologies to support the use of devices for both personal and corporate use, such as virtualisation and storage partitioning services, are yet to fully mature.

What IT departments say about supporting consumer mobile devices

Here are some survey comments from IT professionals about supporting personal consumer devices within the enterprise.

Why support personal consumer devices in the workplace?

"Some of our [younger] guys like to have the latest and greatest toys. We support them with that, because we used to be like that at their age and career stage and frankly, got rather annoyed being told we couldn't do that."

What type of user is most likely to be driving the consumerisation trend?

"The requests to use their own equipment generally come from the higher paid and executive staff."

"Managers, generally, tend to be technophiles, even though they often lack the specific knowledge to properly configure such devices."

What are the pros and cons of supporting consumerisation?

"Good idea: 1) Motivational, 2) Exposes organisation to latest ideas and techniques."

"Bad idea, most users lack very important security skills and knowledge, and too many personal devices are wide open."

"I am not particularly happy about it but it is almost impossible to avoid in an always-connected environment. You have to play the hand you are dealt and work the infrastructure to be as resilient as possible."

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