With the anniversary of the IBM PC’s introduction having just passed in August to (can you believe it’s been 37 years?), I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how PCs would be difference if they had been designed for the uses that we put them to today.

You see, IBM never anticipated that the PC would revolutionize the workplace. In fact, legend has it that the company originally expected to sell no more than 50,000 units. The PC wasn’t designed to be a good citizen on the corporate network or a traveling all-purpose toolkit. It was what the name said – personal – and that meant it was up to us to manage it.

Customers still tell us end-user support is one of the most expensive and frustrating line items in the budget

The unfortunate byproduct of that fact is that PCs turned us all into amateur system administrators, a situation that still persists to this day. As essential as our desktop and portable computers are to the way we work, the task of managing and updating them is still largely left up to the end-user. Sure, software alerts us to the availability of patches and updates, but it’s still our job to apply them. We download and install our own apps and apply updates when we get around to them. When we’re hit by a virus or have trouble connecting to the network, it’s our responsibility to get on the phone and work things out with the help desk.

Technology vendors have done a lot to make the PC management process easier, but customers still tell us end-user support is one of the most expensive and frustrating line items in the budget. What if we could reimagine the PC as a fully connected and managed player on the corporate network? I think we’d build in these features from the ground up:

  • Make it possible for the IT organization to give each new employee a fully configured and secured laptop on day one, with a full suite of up-to-date software, predefined permissions and single sign-on access to corporate applications managed by policies.
  • Distribute patches and updates over the air in the background rather than requiring manual downloads and installs. Employees would never even have to be aware that updates were applied.
  • Automatically detect and remediate threats without user intervention.
  • Build security profiles and alerts from a database of incidents documented by other companies so that everyone can benefit from our collective experience and respond more quickly to problems.
  • Federate applications and files across desktop, mobile and cloud platforms, so users never have to worry about which version of the file they have or where they left off when they last closed the application.
  •  Automatically deliver virtual desktops to people who are away from their computers, maintaining persistent application, file and user profile states so that the whole experience is seamless.
  • Give IT organizations full visibility into the status of all their devices in real time with an asset management database of hardware configurations, installed software and the status of patches and updates.

Actually, these capabilities all exist today; it’s just taken 37 years for them to arrive. We’ve recently partnered with a major technology provider that has been reimagining the desktop with the needs of the organization in mind. The solution they’ve developed delivers all of the features I’ve described above and more. Beginning this fall, we’ll be hitting the road with them to demonstrate what the solution can do and how we can help customers with installation, configuration and ongoing management.

Who is this mystery partner? I can’t reveal all the details yet, but it’s a name, you’ll recognize. We’ll reveal details over the next few weeks, so sign up for updates below or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn to stay tuned in to the news.

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