“Hello, I’m J. P. Gownder, and I serve Infrastructure and Operations professionals!” That’s my new greeting to Forrester’s clients. (I borrowed – aka “stole” – this opening line from my excellent colleague, Laura Ramos, who recently rejoined the Forrester analyst ranks herself).

After eight years in a variety of roles at Forrester, I’ve joined the Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) team as a Vice President and Principal Analyst. I’ll be collaborating with analyst colleagues (please see below) on I&O’s forthcoming Workforce Enablement Playbook. I&O pros face the constant challenge of empowering their companies’ workers with devices and services to make them successful in their jobs… as well as navigating the growing challenge of employees who choose to bring their own technology to work instead.

More specifically, I’ll be researching at least five issues pertinent to I&O pros:

  • PCs, tablets, hybrid devices, and other form factors. I’ll be closely tracking each of these issues as they pertain to both enterprise purchasing and consumerization/bring your own (BYO). This is a bit like coming home, since I’ve followed these issues since at least 2005. (Feel free to read my bio for more background). In June, 2007, I predicted (client-only link): “By 2012, the industry won't include just two form factors, laptops and desktops, but five or more form factors that are universally viewed as differentiated products.” Depending on how you count them, end user client computing devices have proliferated considerably into some thriving areas (tablets, hybrids, ultrabooks, smartphones… even eReaders) and at least one emergent form factor that's already on its way out (netbooks). I’ll be continuing my exploration of the device landscape, but with particular application to the jobs of I&O professionals.
  • OSes and browsers. The OS wars have heated up again, particularly on tablets, while browsers are once again an important issue for I&O professionals. I&O clients have lots of questions (about Windows 8, iOS, Android, OS X, Windows 7, Chrome OS… IE10, IE9, IEx, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.) that I’ll be researching in coming months.
  • Software and subscription services. I&O pros face more choice and complexity than ever in some types of client software (like productivity – Microsoft Office isn’t only client software anymore, nor is it the only game in town for workers). At the same time, employees increasingly subscribe to BYO services (like using a Dropbox account to help them do their jobs better, or even BYO subscriptions to Microsoft Office) on their own.
  • Consumerization and BYO. As you can see, these two issues impact every area listed above. I&O pros face a higher bar (providing a better user experience to workers)… or else they face an influx of unplanned BYO devices and technologies and even Shadow IT within business units. These are exciting topics for I&O.
  • The Frictionless Worker. Finally, a research hypothesis I will be tracking – that of the Frictionless Worker (Twitter: #frictionlessworker). Every worker faces a number of different everyday impediments, which economists call transaction costs. Whether these are search costs (for information, products, partners, customers, training, and other resources) or contracting and enforcement costs (coming to terms with customers, partners, and colleagues about desired outcomes and then monitoring and enforcing that these outcomes happen), technology can reduce these frictions. I’ll be launching a research initiative around worker productivity and the aspirational state of the Frictionless Worker to explore these themes.

I’d like clients to know that I’m entering an established team with some very seasoned colleagues, with whom I’ll be collaborating a great deal: David Johnson (who is the team’s Chief Virtualization Analyst and who also covers Client Management, Macs and other Apple products in the enterprise, BYOPC, and related topics) and I will be joined at the hip to collaborate on a good bit of this end user computing research. Michele Pelino (who specializes in topics like M2M (Machine-to-machine), the Internet-Of-Things, BYOD economics and business cases, corporate app stores, and other topics). Christian Kane (who is the Chief Mobile Analyst, spending a lot of time on mobile device and application management, and mobile devices). And of course Chris Voce, the research director who leads and manages the Workforce Enablement research initiatives.

Exciting stuff, right? I look forward to reconnecting with Forrester’s vendor clients and making tons of new connections with I&O professionals in coming days and weeks!

Twitter: @jgownder| Bio: http://www.forrester.com/j.p.-gownder