Tag Archive | Flexible Workplace

Enterprise Mobility – Haven’t we always been ‘Mobile’?

Industry surveys, analyst commentary, our client and partner conversations all suggest that “Mobility” is the hottest concept in enterprise IT, possibly surpassing “cloud” which has dominated the IT agenda in recent years.  But haven’t we always been mobile?

We may be in danger of speaking about ‘Mobility’ as if its a new concept even though we’ve had mobile work styles and solutions for at least the past 20 years!  What is changing, and what we need to focus on is how technology, user demands and innovation are driving solutions that in turn drive a whole new value proposition around mobility and its application potential across a much broader area.  In doing so, we need to reset our definition of “Enterprise Mobility”

Our Mobile Journey

A mobile worker was once a “road warrior”, based from the company car, armed with only a work diary they would conduct the majority of their working week away from the office – meeting clients, taking orders and writing up notes that they would then have to process on their return  to the office and “got connected”.  This was how you achieved customer intimacy, but with glaring inefficiencies and challenges that seem so alien to us now.

True, IT mobility started in the laptop era. As hardware became more cost effective businesses could unshackle key users from a fixed office location.  Dial up RAS was the first mobile solution, as long as you were near a telephone line!  It was better, but still not efficient or flexible.  With the emergence of broadband technology and WiFi, mobile working joined the mainstream and with the prevalence of mobile phones users could be connected and contactable.  Suddenly users became mobile, productive and contactable!  The really important people were also given a Blackberry, the epitome of mobility.  

It would be difficult to say that we weren’t mobile, albeit in the early days it could be an inefficient and frustrating experience

Consumerisation: Redefining Mobility

The mobile workforce was contented, technology was enhancing and connectivity was improving as we moved into the 3G area.  Then came an explosion of consumer led technology – devices and cloud services. This moved “mobility” to the next level, and before we knew it, this technology found its way into the corporate world.

Device platforms and form factors changed, but more importantly the technology was  much simpler to operate and fashionable, and with strong connectivity it all started to come together:

We can work anywhere, on any device, and at any time

 The only lingering problem was that this was starting to occur under the radar; users were driving this trend rather than the IT department.  The term “shadow IT” was coined to define the trend, and is now explains the significant challenges facing the IT department.

Challenges and the Future

 The future mobile world is a complex mix of all of the things we’ve discussed – devices, connectivity, services, applications and data.  We want to be able to work from multiple device types, at any time, in any location and for it to be consistent and at/for our convenience.  The nature of work has also changed significantly, competition in the market, globalisation and the demands it places on employees and the strive for home/life balance and key examples where we as users have had to look towards new technology to help us “keep up” and achieve the right balance

 The demands are unprecedented, and require we architect and think about mobility in a whole new way:

  • Abstract the user and their services from the devices that they use
  • To support a much broader range of device platforms and form factors
  • Mobilise applications and data content
  • Govern, manage and secure the services to protect the company
  • Put the user needs and experience at the forefront of the design

 Those are the guiding principles by which we’re developing our Mobility and Workplace services; Mobility isn’t new, but the challenges and opportunities it now offers businesses are bigger than ever before.

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

Xpect Delays!

Today we held a briefing with Gartner on the current state of the Windows 7 migration market. It’s apparent from our discussions, that as a result of our involvement with the product (effectively from its inception) we have managed to turn our early experiences into a proposition that targets all of the challenges associated with the full lifecycle of a project with successful references across a broad span of  industry segments.

A lot of our discussion focussed around the time needed to fully address the scope of such a migration exercise in Enterprise customers. Gartner’s view was that customers should have started planning 2 years ago!, however we see the reality that many customers are only just starting to address the problem of XP going end of life on 8th April 2014. Whilst this may seem quite a long way away, it is in fact only just over 700 days away and less than 500 working days (498 to be precise at the time of writing) – not very long for what can be a technical and logistically challenging project on an Enterprise scale.

If you’re interested on keeping an eye on the timeline, we’ve built a countdown timer that you can find here.

The good news is that we have be building capacity in line with our client’s current demand, but we do agree with Gartner that many organisations are leaving it late to address the problem, (particularly if they want to exploit the new functionality that such a platform change can provide  i.e. virtualisation, enhanced automation, application rationalisation, support improvements etc.). With only a finite amount of time and resource to meet an immovable date, we were speculating on whether we’re approaching a ‘Y2K’ like bow wave of demand when organisations scramble to react and we see demand outstretch supply.

Are you well on the way to addressing the challenge or can you XPect delays?