The trend towards consumerisation of IT is no joke for enterprises to manage, especially if one considers how outspoken employees are becoming in their demand for more relaxed IT policies.

n addition they want greater access to social media and other consumer-focused online services and the ability to use new devices such as smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks in the workplace.

But, if Microsoft has anything to do with it, a far more simplified (and manageable) environment will await companies prepared to test the waters, says Traci Maynard, GM of the software division at Tarsus Technologies.

“That’s because “the upcoming Windows 8 operating system destined for conventional computers, tablets and smartphones, allows for a physical separation to exist between users’ personal and business-related content, but a logical blurring of the same.”

Maynard says the first hint of this taking place is evident in the fact that the Windows Live ID – Microsoft’s unifying sign-on for all of its consumer-focused online services – is one of the major identities employees will utilise when signing onto a Windows 8 device.

“There will obviously be safeguards in place to ensure that security of the company’s digital assets and systems is maintained, but the practice of using a consumer-driven identity document will make employees feel more at home with their work computer.

“Adding to the experience, it also allows for their personal information – pictures, videos, mail and user preferences like desktop wallpapers and sound schemes – to magically traverse the cloud and synchronise across all of their devices, including notebooks, desktops, tablets and phones.

“It quite remarkably strikes the balance between allowing employees to personalise their digital workspace – in the same way they would attach pictures of their children on their cubicle partitioning and bring their favourite house-plant in to the office – while simultaneously keeping the company’s security in check,” she says.

“And isn’t that some form of panacea for enterprises and their employees alike?” she asks.

“To me, it’s clear that nothing is capable of stopping the consumerisation of IT trend,” she says.

“Companies need to embrace it. If they attempt to control it, or fight it, they will surely perish. By making it an integral part of its upcoming operating system, Microsoft is attempting to make the former a reality.

“Let’s hope it succeeds,” she says.