I was recently speaking with Ted Schadler VP and Principle Analyst at Forrester, who makes a compelling case for allowing BYO ( Bring Your Own ) based on the benefits a company gains by empowered employees who can better serve customers. His book ” Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business ” has some great quotes about IT organizations that get labeled as the “Department of No ” and employees that look for ways around the constraints imposed on them. He also provided some interesting statistics for smartphone and tablet adoption in the enterprise including, smartphones as the top desired tool that 2/3 of employees who don’t have one want to help do their job better. Another stat, 60% of enterprises surveyed either support tablets or plan to in the next 12 months. This is remarkable given that less than a year ago ( pre iPad ) tablets were relegated to a few vertical task based roles. This is further substantiated based on new growth estimates for iPad from analysts like Piper Jaffray who is predicting Apple is going to sell 21 million iPads in 2011. On top of that the new wave of credible Tablet alternatives from Dell, RIM, Samsung and others indicate next year will be a breakout year for tablets.

The challenge for IT of course is that is that it sounds great to empower employees but no one has released IT from the responsibility to protect company IP and remain in compliance while providing access to the company apps and data that employees want. There are options including having the company pay for and manage all of these new smartphones and tablets utilizing a variety of Mobile Device Management tools. Alternatively organizations can take advantage of the increased desire for employees to choose their own and either pay completely or share the cost with an employer. In this scenario the safest and most flexible solution is to run the company apps or virtual desktops in the data center and deliver them to any smartphone or tablet that is equipped with Citrix Receiver. Any windows or web app can run on XenApp or XenDesktop under IT control and the User Interface is securely delivered using 128 bit SSL protection with the Citrix HDX protocol. Citrix Receiver decrypts the protocol and video commands and provides native device capabilities like gestures, multi-touch and personalization to communicate with the Citrix servers. Users can download the free Receiver themselves and IT can host or email a link that auto configures the user with a completely self-serve deployment.

If you envision the same growth in smartphones and Tablets and you want to find a way to say yes, then consider the Citrix solution as a way to get started. With the just announced XenDestop 5, it’s easier than ever to setup a PoC and provide access to the Empowered early adopters in your organization.