I’ve seen a line flying around Twitter a bunch of times over the last 24 hours saying that in the year 2012, 20% of all businesses will own no IT assets. OK, now I’m getting visions of dodgy TV shows like the BBC’s “Tomorrow’s World” or that classic piece of Australian tomfoolery, “Beyond 2000”. Actually maybe it’s more along the lines of Conan O’’Brien’s “In the year 2000”.
Back to the seriousness. I work in the online business and we obviously would love more and more stuff to go online. And it is. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), heck Anything-as-a-Service is all anyone is talking about and it is big business. But 0% IT assets?
How exactly does one get onto the Net to access those services without a PC or a phone? I’ve heard some talk about businesses allowing employees to supply their own PC. That’s a huge change. Massive. You could imagine that the office network becomes no different to an Internet café. But that will only ever happen in small businesses. My experience says that it will not happen, certainly not in the next 2 years, to that 20% of businesses. It might happen with a few adventurous thinking businesses but that’s it.
[shines torch] “The PC will most likely remain an IT asset for more than 99% of businesses in the year 2012” [/shines torch]
That’s an asset and a risk. It has to be managed, protected and kept compliant. That means anti virus, patching, software management, auditing, policy enforcement, network access protection, etc.
There is a trimmed down version of System Center Desktop Management on the way. You can think of that as Configuration Manager Lite from the cloud. Features include:
- Host protection (anti-malware and Microsoft updates)
- Desktop monitoring
- Desktop configuration
- IT asset management
- Remote assistance
Larger companies may strip down the branch office and go with things like BPOS or 3rd party solutions for SasS. But those PC’s in the branch office will continue to be managed from HQ by System Center. Operations Manager will audit security, Configuration Manager will do all of the good desktop stuff. Data Protection Manager might backup a couple of key computers. I personally think 3rd parties like Iron Mountain’s Connected is the best roaming user laptop backup solution. And Active Directory will continue to be the policy engine. You can see how a single Hyper-V host could run the branch office systems management, e.g. VM’s that offer a Read Only Domain Controller, a local BranchCache, a local DPM presence, etc.
No matter what you do, there will be some sort of IT asset that needs to be secured, protected, managed and made compliant. And the rumours of the PC’s death have been greatly exaggerated.