Computing has changed drastically over the past decade. In our report, “The Future Of Enterprise Computing,” we discuss these major changes and examine how computing will evolve in the next 5–10 years.

In 2007, Forrester predicted that the device market would fragment beyond its traditional desktop and laptop confines. Not only did that prediction come true (today, 49% of US online adults use a PC, tablet, and a smartphone), but the device market has splintered into a startling array of niches. Today, tablets and smartphones aren’t the only devices employees use: Newer devices, such as smart glasses, Chromebooks, and digital whiteboards, have emerged and are starting to play a role in the day-to-day computing experience of the modern workforce. Alexa for Business Echo devices are just starting their march into offices.

While CIOs have spent much of the past five years building cloud, security, and AI strategies, the proliferation of devices elevates the importance of end user computing once again to the CIO’s desk. Devices play a strong role in enabling CIOs to capitalize on the trends of today’s business environment.

For example:

  • Devices play a central role in improving or degrading employee experience. Forrester’s employee experience (EX) research is grounded in the simple fact that what makes employees happiest at work is their ability to get work done every day toward something they find meaningful. Devices are the main tools employees use to make daily progress toward their goals, and allowing autonomy for employees to use their preferred devices is an important element of EX.
  • Devices are a conduit to unlocking new capabilities, such as AI. Conversational interfaces, digital assistants, and robotic process automation offer employees new opportunities to improve their productivity, automate mundane work, and, ultimately, be more effective in their roles. CIOs can’t take advantage of these new capabilities without ensuring that they integrate well with the devices their employees use.
  • Device choice can eliminate IT efficiencies to free up room for innovation. As devices become more cloud-dependent and the underlying operating systems continue to simplify, CIOs have an enormous opportunity to decrease their management overhead, cut IT infrastructure costs, and ultimately free up IT resources for higher-order activities. As unified endpoint management continues to gain steam, I&O pros will increasingly automate and simplify device management, enabling IT teams to focus on driving the business forward.

In addition to device proliferation, enterprise computing will trend toward lighter (by both physical and OS lightness) computing experiences for most use cases. In our report, we posit that 80% of future computing experiences will be accomplished by light computing modes (in other words: smartphones, displays, browser-based laptops, etc.), while 20% will still require heavy compute resources for graphics, AI, and other workloads. Along with this 80/20 principle, we trace out four other features that will define the future of enterprise computing — and give recommendations for how CIOs can drive better employee experience as a result.

What do you think? Are we right about the future of computing? Read our report and let us know.

If you’d like to schedule an inquiry about the report with J. P. and Andrew, please reach out to