bill k mtm croppedGuest Blog By: Bill Kleyman, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies
http://www.mtm.com

Because of cloud computing and IT consumerization, there is now a distinct focus on the end-user. And, not just the end-user – the entire business.

The reality within the modern business organization is that more users are bringing their own devices to the workforce. Not only has IT consumerization changed the IT playing field, more companies are conducting workforce analyses to see how they can make their employees happier and more productive. A lot of the results came back with something simple: workspace flexibility.

Consider this – when it comes to changes in cloud and data center evolution – the trends speak for themselves. The use of cloud computing is growing and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend. According to Gartner, 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. Furthermore, Cisco reports that by 2018, more than three quarters (78%) of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers. And, by 2018, 59% of the total cloud workloads will be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) workloads.

As more organizations begin to leverage various cloud technologies – they will turn their focus on optimizing the end-user experience and improving security. Furthermore, they are going to try their best to optimally deliver more workloads with better resource utilization, both at the data center and at the end-user level. Already, there are more solutions that directly help data center administrators control users and the information that they are trying to access.

Going forward, be prepared to see many more user-centric technologies start to rise. Let’s understand why:

  • Remote users. More contractors and users are now logging in remotely. There has to be a system in place that’s capable of supporting such an environment.
  • Flexible work schedules. More employees are asking to work from home, or during their own hours. For many organizations, this isn’t an issue. However, delivering a positive user experience over the WAN to someone’s house can prove to be a challenge.
  • IT consumerization. This one had to be on the list. Almost every organization is allowing their users to bring in an iPad or smart phone into an environment. These organizations are continuously tasked with allowing users to connect to corporate data.

Cloud computing has facilitated the growth in end-user devices being brought into the corporate environment. Furthermore, more organizations are creating truly distributed platforms where users have the freedom to log in from anywhere, anytime and on virtually any device. End-user optimization and the performance of an application or desktop are vital for optimal workforce productivity.

When the focus turns to the end-user, here are some technologies to keep an eye on:

  • Complete User Abstraction. Imagine being able to carry all of your settings with you at all times. I mean literally – all of them. From how your applications function, to the slightest detail in your profile – all yours. This becomes the DNA of who you really are. It won’t matter where users sit or which cloud they connect to; their experience will be constant and secure. Consider this – if a disaster occurs, you can recover the entirety of the user and the workforce much faster than having to rebuild everything from scratch. Policies, favorite settings, applications, and the entire user environment is recovered; thus allowing the user to be productive quickly.
  • More Cloud APIs/Connectors. More applications are being built-in the cloud space. As a result, there has been a greater emphasis around cloud connectors and APIs. The idea is to help the user connect faster to more applications around the web. Moving forward, these technologies will continue to grow and expand as more cloud-based platforms arise.
  • More IT Consumerization Control. Almost every organization is facing the BYOD truth. There are more users, more data and a lot more devices trying to connect into a network. Instead of blocking users, many data center administrators have switched tactics and are now trying to empower the end-user. Solutions like XenMobile create granular BYOD policies and controls to allow administrators to deliver more content to the end-point. Remember, the goal isn’t to block or track devices – it’s to allow users to become more efficient as well. Most of all – you’re striving to integrate device control methodologies into the overall workspace as well.
  • Integrating Security and Next-Generation Controls. A good security strategy doesn’t limit the users; rather – it empowers them. New kinds of environment control and user abstraction methodologies actually take security to a whole new level. You can lock down devices, applications, remote users, and even control the hardware that’s brought into your organization. Worried about a rogue USB key? Lock it down all the way to the manufacturer or even serial number on the USB device. You can now even create dynamic privilege policies based on real-world contextual policies. All of this allows the user to keep working while still processing data in a secure manner.

Cloud computing and IT consumerization aren’t just new technological platforms. They are a new way of thinking. IT administrators are now working with a widely distributed networking infrastructure with components possibly being located all over the world. Furthermore, there is the challenge to deliver more applications, workloads and data to end-users which are not using traditional means of access.

There are core benefits in focusing your IT efforts around the end-user and ensuring that their workloads are secure. Not only will organizations create better user profiles, they’ll be able to align their business around end-user functionality. This means creating an environment which allows the end-user to become more efficient, utilize more devices, and – very importantly – enjoy using your company’s technology platform. All of this translates to a happier and more productive user.