There are a number of pilot programs under way at enterprises, which in some instances are encouraging workers to exceed their stipends, with the idea that the employees will feel a sense of ownership of their systems if they invest some of their own money in them, Gray said.
which are still primarily a consumer play, are another trend finding its way into the enterprise. Again, the idea is that it is less about the computing assets and more about the users' individual images.
Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, which Gray said account for about 90 percent of all corporate PC sales, all are offering netbooks, and Intel is also pushing the form factor with its Atom processors.
Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system will further enhance the netbook trend, he said.
"CEOs [and] CIOs are looking for lightweight machines," Gray said. "They like [netbooks] as a sort of companion PC; I don't see them fading away."
Businesses also will need to reassess their policies on handheld devices, Gray said. Currently most companies standardize on a single platform, such as the RIM BlackBerry.
However, employees are beginning to push to be allowed to use whatever device they want, including Apple's iPhone,
which is going to force businesses to expand the number of platforms they'll support.
"IT essentially is looking to support whatever platform people need or want," Gray said.
That's not an easy task. There are a host of management and security issues that need to be addressed, he said. Businesses will need to be able to lock down all those platforms, and centrally manage them. While the buying power is shifting from the IT department to the employees and business unit executives, Gray said, it will still be up to IT to figure out how to manage the platforms.
The global recession is playing a role in this as well, he said. Businesses are extending the refresh cycles on their desktops and laptops by at least a year or more-though not only because of the recession, but also in anticipation of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system. Windows XP is still on about 87 percent of all PCs, Gray said, as most businesses opted to stay away from Windows Vista.
However, as they look to refresh their systems, companies will have to decide which devices to get for their workers.
In the area of handhelds, businesses are starting to look at being more proactive in managing the costs. For example, Gray said, they are tracking how much employees use their devices and what they're doing with them. Not only are they more careful with what they'll reimburse, but businesses also are deciding whether to continue paying for a device that is rarely used by an employee, he said.