Part 4 of the Desktop Disruptions Series
This is the last post in our Desktop Disruptions blog series, highlighting the major disruptive technologies that IT will likely face in the near future. Our latest disruption – wearable technology. Wearables are certainly different than the changing landscape of OS systems, cloud-based apps and browsers – the other looming disruptions we’ve emphasized – and the trend of incorporating wearable technology into the enterprise IT landscape may seem further in the horizon. However, it’s unchartered territory for most IT teams and could prove infinitely more disruptive than those other technology challenges combined.
The question remains, how far off is this trend from becoming mainstream in the enterprise? Some analyst firms predict that there is a larger market for wearables in the enterprise than the consumer market – as new devices have the opportunity to improve employee efficiency at field work, interaction with customers, and access data more quickly at their fingertips.
So what can IT do today to prepare for the inevitable entrance of wearables into the enterprise? Let’s quickly consider three areas:
Things can grow complicated quickly when it comes to managing data, especially as wearables, like smartwatches, have the potential to share the same BYO fate as mobile devices. IT will have to determine the most appropriate policies for how much corporate data access to provide smartphones and other personally owned wearables. As consumer interest increases, IT will be in the best position to handle the demand if they proactively plan their wearables strategy now including what data should be allocated to which device types.
For both BYOD and company-sanctioned wearable scenarios, these new smart devices open up new risks. Both careless users and vulnerabilities that come with connected devices present potential threats. User context will be even more critical than it already is (which is highly critical) and security policies will need to be dynamic to match the roaming working styles of most workers.
How will new wearable devices fit into the workflows of existing, or net new, business processes? With the influx of new devices, complexity is quick to follow and IT must think about how automation can help manage wearables within the same purview of existing devices. For example, shouldn’t relevant wearable devices be provisioned and configured as part of an employee’s existing onboarding process? And when they leave the organization or change roles, shouldn’t the wearable devices be de-provisioned and returned using the same approaches as other corporate owned assets?
Although the runway for wearables might appear to be long for many corporations, employee-driven adoption might be faster than they expect. Forrester Research indicated that 68% of enterprises rate wearables as an upcoming priority within the firm. Even if organizations don’t see an immediate business case, it won’t be long before consumers bring their own wearables into the enterprise, expecting support. Either way, IT shouldn’t be caught unprepared for this disruption. Here are some additional statistics to give you further insight into the wearables industry.