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2012 - The Year of Context-aware ITaaS
Article by Jeff Wettlaufer, senior director global product marketing, RES Software
Enterprise recognition of alternative work styles and productivity tools
With the increasing adoption of devices such as smartphones, tablets, touch sensitive screens and sub compact, ultra portable hardware, enterprises are going to realize that their employees are using these to access data and applications throughout the day. Android, Windows 7 (with the launch of Windows 8) and iOS all have enterprise and consumer experiences people desire. The biggest point of disruption to the IT department is Christmas, as new technology floats into the hands of corporate users. Where IT does not have a solution, niche point providers found across the internet deliver free of charge, or at one-off price points acceptable to the user. The Enterprise app store becomes the Search Engine.
The consumerization of IT is a reality, and in order for IT to maintain security, compliance, collaboration and mobile working scenario support, they will embrace IT as a Service, enabling users to work where they want on their hardware preference. IT will need to understand the contexts a user experiences across different devices, connections and points in time. IT will deliver their corporate workspace in a modernized format to an unpredictable list of targets. Enterprise platforms blended with consumer tools must be harmonious, compatible and supported. On and off premises, traditional and virtual, cloud and in-house all must contribute to the lowering cost of business that is simply expected with new technology.
Staying ahead of the 2012 Virtualization Curve with Context-aware Security
Over the past few years, virtualization has evolved from an initiative companies would like to take on to a viable solution for an organization's IT infrastructure. IT managers are embracing the technology, but with new solutions come new challenges -particularly security. At a glance, desktop virtualization seems secure. However, many companies launch their initiative and oftentimes forget about implementing proper security capabilities. With so many organizations asking where and how their users are accessing data, context-awareness will be key for IT in 2012.
IT will embrace context-aware services through integrated, centrally managed, policy controlled workspace experiences that are delivered to a range of target systems. Users who roam throughout locations, devices and time will be able to remain secure and productive on their chosen device. This experience for the user prioritizes access to applications and data through various receivers, hosted sessions or local resources.
Migrating to Windows 7 will arrive as the enterprise standard as Windows XP experiences phase out of via support lifecycle and hardware replacements. With this trend, desktop virtualization scenarios pick up momentum to support a variety of business requirements. Job roles, security or application-based requirements will drive different types of virtualization solutions into mainstream. This is amplified by the increased adoption of tablets and smartphones, and the need for employees to use them in addition to and instead of their company-issued PCs. What's more, those employees expect to be able to access all of their work applications from these personal devices at any time and any location. Instead of fighting a losing battle with device regulation, IT managers need to learn how to get a handle on these devices and the IT services users will need access on these devices to remain productive.
The evolution of the enterprise app store seems like an easy choice as one of the ways that IT managers are offering new delivery methods. Through the evolution of workspaces and modern desktops, access to applications will be a main point of contention for end users. Their comfort zones of searching, downloading and installing are expected at work as they are at home. Independent of the device, users will find a way to get to their software. Through IT as a Service, IT departments can now provide simple, easy-to-use catalogs of services that adhere to all stakeholders, including the user.
Enterprise application portals are one solution to help address the issue of security that is required of the hybrid workspace spanning multiple devices. While it's a start, it's not as easy as setting up a consumer app store as found in Apple and Android markets. There are several key differences between a consumer app store and an enterprise app store that IT departments cannot ignore:
- Security is important and IT managers need app stores to factor context into what is available to each user at any given time.
- Enterprise app stores need to span a hybrid delivery model as opposed to a consumer app store's obligation to just one device at a time.
- Access to an application in the enterprise store needs to be compliance-qualified, based on the user's context, whereas a consumer app store opens all apps to everyone.
- The consumer app store is self-serving and requires no approvals; enterprise app stores need to consider workflow -only 80% of applications can be delivered automatically upon qualification.
- Costs affiliated with a consumer app store are predictable in the form of a one-time purchase, but an enterprise app store's costs vary based on the services being provided. IT needs to bring them back to a predictable state.
The coming year will be an exciting one for IT departments as they continue to develop and manage the evolving hybrid workspace. With an added emphasis on context-aware IT as a Service in 2012, the market will be poised for continued growth in this innovative industry.
About the Author
Jeff Wettlaufer has been in the IT industry for 15 years and in that time has
specialized in enterprise client management, from deployment to
operations. Prior to RES, Jeff most recently served on the System Center
product group as a senior technical product manager at Microsoft, focused on
the SMS and Configuration Manager business. Jeff has directly shipped
seven products, and has been a technical lead for associated launches such as
Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and R2. You can find
Jeff regularly on most social networks and blogs talking about client management,
the journey to the cloud, security, Windows client and mobility
technologies. In addition, Jeff has been a regular participant in the
Microsoft Partner Community, working with SI and ISV partners.