Gartner: 'Personal cloud will replace personal computer'

News Jennifer Scott Mar 13, 2012

The analysts' latest report claims cloud computing will remove the need for corporate PCs from users' digital lives

The PC has long been the essential tool of corporate employees, keeping all the secrets - and spreadsheets - of a business across a network of machines.

However, analyst firm Gartner believes these days are coming to an end and the cloud will remove the need for a PC per employee.

Instead, by using cloud computing, workers will be able to use their day to day devices - such as smartphones, tablets and laptops - to access all of their corporate info and not have to return to their desk and individual machine.

"Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices," said Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner.

"Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life."

Although this could save a company big bucks and give it a more flexible workforce, Kleynhans warned it would need a whole new approach to application delivery from enterprise IT departments.

"When the way that applications are designed, delivered and consumed by users changes, it has a dramatic impact on all other aspects of the market," read his report.

"These changes will have a profound impact on how applications are written and managed in corporate environments."

There are benefits to this though, with more opportunities for cross-platform applications and enabling apps to be used in many more ways than just as one corporate tool.

One of the key trends influencing this change is the "self-service cloud," according to Gartner.

By giving an employee a more scalable and flexible environment, it gives them more individual tools to tailor their workload. Making their own choices about applications and having more opportunities encourages stronger innovation and, in turn, increases productivity.

"The combination of these megatrends, coupled with advances in new enabling technologies, is ushering in the era of the personal cloud," said Kleynhans.

"In this new world, the specifics of devices will become less important for the organisation to worry about."

Although the PC would still have its role, he concluded it would no longer be the 'primary hub' for users.

"The personal cloud will take on that role," said Kleynhans. "Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared in the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself."