Tag Archive | consumerisation

No place to hide if you know what to look for

There is nothing like a good story in the IT world to generate a flurry of online chatter. In recent time weeks the “homeworking ban” proposed by a well known technology company has risen to the top of the corporate discussion agenda.

But this blog is not about the ban as such, but new information about additional insight that validated or supported the merit of “withdrawal of work from home privileges”. It is rumoured that information gained from vpn logs (that record remote connections) highlighted a reduced use of the vpn platform, thus indicating little use of remote connectivity to the corporate network.

If we cast our minds back, IT logs were considered by many to deliver more hassle than value. Rarely was anything of use found within, but they still were key elements to be stored securely and reliably, as part of the backup regime. It’s true, database vendors have always utilised logs to good effect to aid with transaction integrity and recovery, but for the rest of the IT community, logs equalled hassle…

But in the case of the use of log data for evidence to support the “homeworking ban” or the forensic use of log information for analysis after a major security breach, and worse still the use of log information unbeknown to us for malicious intent to launch a security attack – these examples indicate there was always “gold in the hills” but few knew where to look.

System logs pretty much exist for all elements within IT systems, software, hardware, process, you name it, everything has one and often many logs that hold a treasure trove of insight for those clear on how to and what to look for. SIEM (security information and event management) platforms, deemed by many as the perfect tool to reactively and proactively interrogate log data and turn it into true business insight, are moving from desirable (unless PCI compliance forces their use) to mandatory corporate information systems. SIEM solutions are ideal for taking often meaningless IT system data and presenting correlated, relevant business insight.

Many of us lack the time to look in system logs, nor understand what to look for (and equally what to do when we find what we are looking for), so the deployment of a market leading SIEM solution will certainly provide all of the gain with none of the pain (the configuration and deployment headaches of old are long gone).

The moral of this blog, don’t presume because you may not know how or where to look, that the information doesn’t exist. You just need to know what you are looking for (and hope someone skilled isn’t looking before you find it).

Until next time.

Colin W

Get modern stay modern

It has been a few weeks since I last posted but with holidays, the odd global sporting event and growing schedule of product releases – it has been anything but dull!

This week, during a meeting with a major global media and broadcasting organisation I was asked the question “what did we mean by the Journey to a Contemporary Workplace?”  To be fair, we have been using the branding and tag line for nearly a year now and it was the first time that I had been posed the question by one of our clients!  My answer went something along the lines of “we know that the Workplace has become a driver for broader infrastructure change and with the perenial organisational challenge of increasing performance and reducing costs – our solutions are targetted at helping you to get modern and stay modern”.  Now whilst this answer didn’t exactly explain what the outcome looked like for this particular client from the outset – but the time we had worked through each of the 5 core elements listed below, we had a much better understading of where they are today and where they needed to get to!

  1. OS & Applications
  2. VDI & Devices
  3. Consumerisation
  4. Mobile & Remote Working
  5. Collaboration

If you’d like a little closer look at the these elements yourself – feel free to click the link to our free online brochure

After reflecting on the meeting druing the journey home, I was struck with just how many new product launches and features were due in the coming weeks alone (some I couldn’t mention due to NDA) and how when repeating this session in just a month’s time there would a whole raft of new or improved options to availble to help with the journey. Starting with the release of the iPhone 5 today (don’t mention the maps!) we have back to back conferences VMWorld and Citrix Synergy  in Barcelona mid October culminating in the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 official launch at the end of October. The good news is that we have teams of people at Computacenter working with the technologies, attending and presenting at the conferences and building capabilities to help our clients get the best from these investments – so I’ll be sure to blog any intesting updates and viewpoints as the next few weeks progress. In the meantime, if we can help you with your particular journey right now – you can contact us at workplace@computacenter.com

To BYOD or to BYOD – “Thats now the question”

BYOD (Bring your own device) is a business outcome that has taken the enterprise IT world by storm.  The marketeers have neatly positioned the term to collate the myriad of products and services available to allow a “non IT department owned and managed device” to connect to the corporate environment effectively, securely and reliably. For quite a while the BYOD was term was aligned with forward thinking, dynamic organizations keen to attract and retain generation Z employees and accommodate their “non standard” computing needs. Numerous articles and statistics presented quite a disruptive viewpoint that “tomorrow’s generation” would vote with their feet and avoid “old school” organizations with restrictive end user IT devices & policies. But the story has changed quite dramatically in the last twelve months with the need for “flexible end user device” policies now a major topic for most organizations. BYOD does not describe a product or even a solution but the end state desired by either the organization or the end user. With that in mind as we accelerate through the “tablet” era and for some the “post pc era (somewhat premature for me)”, end users are not only demanding the use of an end point device of their choice (or close to it), they are increasingly circumventing often restrictive IT polices to achieve it for themselves. 

A quick scan of the web will highlight many stories chronicled from some of the world’s largest organizations that outline the extraordinarily high number of “stealth” or non company issue Smartphone’s, tablets or laptops found connected within their own environments after a standard audit.  With so many “non company issue” end user devices now fundamental to the professional outcome delivered by company employees or end users, a wholesale shutdown is no longer an option – instead a new way that educates and embraces the end user plus delivers a means that the organization can become “end user centric” from a device perspective whilst still retaining control.  The plethora of solutions marketed to deliver BYOD outcomes help with the challenge but no one “silver bullet” exists to solve the problem. BYOD interfaces many elements of an organization not least the people (attitudes, device choice, etc), the devices themselves, capital expenditure costs, operational support costs, applications and so on.  Seeking a quick fix to resolve BYOD issues is likely to be costly in the long run, so careful planning and leveraging specialist insight will deliver immense value.

As the UK’s leading workplace transformation partner, Computacenter possesses a view second to none of the impact of new IT end point device form factors and operational approaches within the corporate environment.  Connectivity and security underpin BYOD success and the Computacenter services portfolio includes solutions from industry leaders including Good Technology, Mobileiron, McAfee, HP, Symantec, Juniper to name a few. More recently the Computacenter networking and security team achieved the lucrative Cisco ISE ATP accreditation to deliver the highly regarded Cisco context aware, access, accounting, authorization platform within enteprise organisations.

BYOD really can deliver a win win for smart organizations. With solutions such a Cisco ISE and companion products, organizations can successfully enable BYOD from a connectivity perspective whilst regaining visibility and control.  Compare that to a pre BYOD environment where end users may be activity working to circumvent IT policy and control and with it creating an ever greater security risk than the original policy strived to prevent.

Like it or not for many organizations, BYOD isn’t if, or when, it’s now.

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: colinwccuk

Make money and save the planet!

This week I experienced a 24-hour period of extremes! During Wednesday morning I spent some time with the CEO and President of Citrix, following up on some of the underlying channel strategies for their recent Synergy summit announcements in SFO (see previous blog “Are the exceptions of the PC era becoming the new assumptions of the Cloud era?” ). Citrix are clearly moving their strategy and messaging to being able to accommodate the “any-ness” related to devices and cloud and it is in the former that I witnessed the extreme.

Fast forward 24-hours and I was privileged to be invited to official opening of our new facilities for our remarketing, redeployment and recycling subsidiary – RDC. During the Managing Director’s welcome speech and tour, I was amazed at some of the statistics they shared.  Just a few to sample below:-

  • This unique facility extends to 22 acres and houses 355,000 square feet dedicated to the processing and sale of used IT assets
  • Turnover and profitability has grown over 100% in the past 3 years
  • They have recently been awarded their third Queen’s Award for Enterprise, this time for International Trade, adding to the awards for Innovation and Sustainable in 2002 and 2009.
  • They have remarketed, redeployed and recycled enough equipment in the last 2 years to fill the new Olympic Stadium nearly 350 times!

Gerry and his team should be very proud of the achievements they have made.

So how does this related to cloud and devices? Well, even as RDC looks forward to see what the business holds for them in 2012 and beyond – ‘The cloud’ and consumerisation are the key technology drivers! However, for RDC, this is also coupled with the economic tilting of the world  towards the South and East that will also shift the origination and market for used product. Whereas in 2003 less than 5% of their customers’ product was left the UK, it is now approaching 80% that is being exported.

At Computacenter, we know that more and more of commercial and consumer traffic will be driven to the cloud, and people will want to access software and data through a diverse range of devices.  In the same way we are developing new services around application delivery, data-security, device management and fulfilment of BYOD/Employee choice schemes – RDC recognise that they need to offer more flexible access to dispose of and purchase used equipment. You only have to look around you to see the diversity and growth – but what is happening to the old devices that consumers are so keen to drop whilst they move to the latest and greatest gadget? (in increasingly shorter cycles).

Well that is where RDC are one step ahead. They have already developed a range of web solutions for consumers and employees, to return and purchase used equipment on-line, which you can see here at  Money4computers.com.

That is why we believe in delivering truly end-to-end infrastructure services. So even whilst all of the development around cloud and devices is focussed on taking business to new levels of efficiency, mobility, flexibility and agility – with our capabilities in RDC there is also the opportunity for our clients to make money and save the planet at the same time!

Don’t leave them to their own devices

I wonder how many of you saw Apple’s remarkable results last week? If you didn’t, they nearly doubled their quarterly profits and amongst all of the other superlatives in the commentary they added over $40 billion to their market cap! In fact the iPad maker has the biggest weighting of any company in the S&P 500, accounting for 4.5pc of the overall index – it has been quite a while since
so much tech sentiment revolves around just one stock.

One of the other data points I picked up on was that they have now sold over 60 million iPads worldwide since their inception in 2010 and has hence created a category all of their own. Whether it be their financial might or technology innovation – you certainly can’t ignore them.

Apart from the fantastic opportunity this presents business in changing they way they can enable and support their workforce, it has created a lot of headaches too!

To this end, we’ve been busy working with Apple to ensure we have developed our portfolio in line with their with technology to help our clients and provide the type of service that most Enterprise workers have become accustomed to. We’ve even put a little ‘chalk n talk’ video together to outline what we have done. You can check it out here. I hope you like it?

Generation Z research

As I’m writing this blog, our Press Department is swinging in to action to publicise some very intriguing results that have arisen from an independent survey we recently commissioned.

We have investigated one of the hottest topics in the news the ‘consumerisation of IT’ and BYOD, which confirms there has been a significant shift in IT thinking which is mainly end user led and driven by the sophistication and proliferation of consumer devices in the workplace

However, the research has thrown up an anomaly that suggests IT departments have potentially misjudged the attitudes of young workers towards new workplace technology trends and their demands for consumer devices at work.

Interestingly more than half of 16-24yr olds in the workplace – dubbed ‘Generation Z’ – state they don’t want an iPhone or tablet device in the office, and that they believe that it is more important for companies to stay in control of data than to embrace consumerisation.

Even more surprisingly given the growth of social media apps, 85 % of Generation Z employees surveyed actually prefer to communicate with their work colleagues face-to-face, with only 17 per cent voting for using instant messaging or social media networks.

Generation Z just want to be given the right tools to do the job; although they have grown up with instant messaging and high-tech gadgets, they don’t necessarily want to bring them to work.

IT departments need to avoid getting caught up in the hype surrounding consumerisation – it is just one of many enablers for today’s contemporary workplace, but organisations do need to address the growing flexible working requirements and the  heightened performance expectations of the technology demanded by members of staff – young and old.

Experience shows that when corporate IT systems prevent workers from delivering their best – that is when they can start to take matters into their own hands. Connecting people (to people) and information, simply and efficiently, remains the core objective.

Having cast doubt on the current widespread assumption that Generation Z, who have grown up with smartphones and social networks, are driving the ‘device rebellion’ in Enterprises, you might want to read the full report… it makes for an interesting read.