Today’s workforce is now productive in places and during times it previously was not. No longer deskbound, employees are conducting important business from the train, the coffee shop line and their hotel room. This shift in how we work has increasingly necessitated a shift in how we view enterprise computing. The “desktop” as we know it is still here, but it now has siblings in the form of smartphones and tablets. And they can all coexist in one happy family if your organisation plans its desktop strategy with a holistic approach. We talk to Peter Stein, General Manager of Licensing at Datacom, about how organisations can expand their view of the enterprise desktop to drive better productivity and performance across the organisation.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk in the media in Australia and beyond about the “end of the desktop” to make way for a tablet/laptop/smartphone-filled workforce. Is the desktop ending or just taking a new shape?
A: By no means is the desktop dead. It won’t be as prevalent, but it does still have a spot in today’s workforce. For office-bound workers, it is still a very effective tool to complete routine work in a standard work environment. The functionality allows a user to effectively create and complete tasks. One of the points that I see as still key to this style of work is the number of people who use other devices but then come into the office environment to dock their other device to something that allows them access to a larger screen and a full keyboard and mouse.
Now to look at the benefits of new devices, individuals get to couple their work styles with devices that match their needs. As we become a more connected world, we can manage our work-life balance by connecting when it makes sense. To maximise this connectivity, tools are being built with similar features for multiple devices. The more common the interface, the easier it is for the user to maximise the tool on that device.
Q: What does the future look like to you in terms of device use and workplace arrangements (remote work, BYOD, hot desking, etc.)?
A: The appy world is our new reality. Businesses are building-customer facing and internal apps to allow business flexibility. Users from the CEO-level and down are demanding access to tools through multiple devices, and the vendors are moving their software to the cloud and consumption models. From a pure IT perspective, this is creating a security paradigm for the IT team. As purchase and admin control for consumption-based apps sit in teams that are not focused on security, the business needs to still have tools in place to understand what is being used where and the implications of the data available on these apps.
The future will show multiple form factors either as BYOD or company-provisioned hardware that will run a company-managed Endpoint Management Solution that can provide complete device lifecycle management. Datacom’s Managed End Point solution, for instance, not only allows for management and troubleshooting of IT functions, but also ensures that endpoints remain compliant with internal and external standards.
Q: Why has there been resistance from some organisations to relinquish their hold on the traditional desktop and incorporate a wider range of devices?
A: I would not call it resistance. Initially, organisations are looking to maximise their investment, and in their current refresh cycle, they are building out plans on how to make use of the new world of connected devices. Organisations have to carefully look at how they are going to manage this not only from a support perspective but also in terms of data security and user IP. There is a dynamic shift from a managed device and applications that have been vetted by IT to a more open framework, which creates challenges ranging from support to ownership.
Q: What’s the benefit to organisations in re-envisioning desktop strategy?
A: I went to a traditional games arcade with my 5-year-old son and he saw Pac-Man. He immediately went to the screen and started trying to direct the game with his fingers rather than using the controls available. Today’s new design will mean that not only will we be able to be more mobile, but things we have not yet envisioned will become common place in the coming years. To date, the games market has broken frontiers on touch, and the enterprise is only now beginning to build touch-based applications to improve performance and productivity.
Q: What are some of the first things organisations need to consider when rethinking their desktop strategy to incorporate a wider range of devices and work situations?
A: The move to devices should not be seen as a large leap. It is incorporating touch into the organisation. The main consideration is for any legacy applications and how they will resolve touch. If these devices are company-provisioned, the normal vetting of the devices will occur through IT. Where the device is BYOD, the organisation needs to decide if they are going to deliver the app natively or through a virtual environment.