'Ultra personal' PC revolution to change end-user environment

These days IT departments struggle to strike a balance between strict control of end-user platforms and letting flexibility loose in the environment. In one corner you have users increasingly demanding mobility, instant collaboration, expanded use of IP telephony, and the ability to consume rich digital media at work as they do at home.

scoreThese days IT departments struggle to strike a balance between strict control of end-user platforms and letting flexibility loose in the environment. In one corner you have users increasingly demanding mobility, instant collaboration, expanded use of IP telephony, and the ability to consume rich digital media at work as they do at home. In another, you have Linux and a surprising uptake trend in thin-clients resulting in more alternatives. Fortunately, to the relief of IT, desktop management processes, standardized image programs, and improved software distribution tools have made life easier. But still, how should organizations step up to deliver an effective end-user environment? Meta Group's recommendations requires considerable behind the scenes planning and research, which can only work if you have the resources andcan make agood case to do. Smaller resource-constrained companies, however,may want to treat it as a general guideline...

ITOs must increase investment in the end-user environment. This includes establishing a formal desktop engineering group, coupled with a desktop product management organization. In addition, "early warning" systems must be implemented to pick up on the beginning signs of changes in consumer technology usage. Part of this will be assigning resources (and dollars) to a process of piloting and examining new technologies that are emerging in the consumer environment. In addition, business groups must be brought into the process to provide insight and guidance on where new technologies and capabilities fit in with worker activities. Initial targets should include increased use of digital media; VoIP and desktop integration; enhanced meeting technologies, including desktop video conferencing; and rich mobile communications.

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