Once upon a time, way back in 2006, just before Microsoft were about to release Windows Vista.  If I remember correctly this program was codenamed EVO – Exchange, Vista & Office, and MS were spending tons of money on hype creation.

Anyway, I reckoned, I’d better get a bit of advanced view seeing as I ran an MS Gold Partner and it was my job to sell, install and look after the new software.  So, I ditched my trusty old clunker and bought a powerful new shiny laptop to run Vista and Office.

I had a brainstorm and copied the data from my existing laptop and my home PC onto my new toy and standardised on one laptop to do all my work on.  It was to be the centre of my life, so I’d always have all the data/media I required at hand wherever I was.

Fast forward to 2011 and I’ve got three work laptops (complicated work life – don’t ask), one MacBook which floats, an iPhone, an iPad and an iMac at home (photos, powers my stereo and doubles as a TV).

How’d that happen …. when I was aiming to simplify?

  • Pictures became more important to me (new baby) and seamless connection between iPhone and iMac was lovely.
  • iTunes plugged nicely into my stereo and gave me a good enough sound representation
  • Access to Email, Calendar & Tasks via iPhone and OWA meant I didn’t have to cart the laptop about anywhere.
  • The iPhone is pretty cool, combination Email, Internet, Calendar, Apps, Camera, iTunes and Photo library means I can fill up dead time with work or recreation.
  • iPad, well just because I wanted to.
  • I seldom turn on a laptop out of the office, and only if I have to do something with Excel or write some documents.
  • I spend 85% of my time using consumption devices (iPhone, iPad, iMac) and my MacBook (Note, I probably could create docs on this and even though I’ve got the latest version of Office but I tend to stick to my windows machines because I can use the software quicker).
  • At work, I work exclusively on a Windows laptop.

So, did simple come to mean something else?

I think it did.  One device to do everything became 7 devices which I use to accomplish particular tasks in different places.  The devices don’t follow me (except the phone) but the data does.

So what does this mean for a guy running an IT Support business that supports small businesses?

Firstly, I’d be very surprised if they’re quite as Microsoft-centric as they used to be.

Apple have invaded from the home (content consumption) and people want to bring them use them in their work. Note, we’ve not really mentioned Google, but it goes without saying that they’re actively trying to expand their role from the internet and the mobile device also.

Secondly, storage and synchronization of data are huge issues and take significant time to design and support secure and working solutions.

Thirdly, data encryption, security is an even more critical consideration than it used to be.

Fourth, bring your own device is something you’re just going to have to get used to.