Tag Archive | Windows

Workplace IT predictions for 2014

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Well it’s that time of the year and no well-meaning blog would be complete without some predictions for the coming year. I canvassed some of my team for their views so that we can look back next year and see if they have potential parallel careers as fortune tellers!

First up is Paul who thinks we will see lots of continued uncertainty in the Mobile OS market, with a surprising upswing in Windows Phone and fight back by Blackberry to maintain adoption in Enterprise – that won’t be matched in the consumer world.  Somewhat polar to market commentary and headlines – so something to keep an eye on!

Next up is Pete who believes SSD (Solid State Disk) will become standard, across all traditional PC client devices. The cost difference for spindle and solid state has reached such a small difference that the performance benefits and reduced failure rates will outweigh this small price difference. Hmmm, could be good news for Samsung and Kingston!

Pete also thinks we’ll see the death of the docking station (again 🙂 ) – as we move towards more choice and more mobile devices, the desire and ability for a consistent docking experience will be surpassed by wireless peripherals and connected screens.

Next one up from the team is not necessarily good news for the industry and somewhat inevitable in the climate but there is the expectation that at least one major ‘pure play’ reseller (read no services division) will either go under or get swallowed up in 2014.

David in Services also suggests that we might see a short-fall in available UK resources to tackle the backlog of Enterprise Windows XP users that still haven’t migrated – caused by the product formally going ‘end of life’ in April 2014. Not sure if this is a prediction or wishful thinking!!

Finally, we move to Tina and Software. First prediction is that we will see Big Data move into the mainstream as people stop talking about it and start to use information to underpin their business models. Whilst 2014 will also be the year that we see the number of software vendors used within Enterprise estates increase as a result of the users opting for smaller ‘app like’ line-of- business tools and not the over specified and under-utilised tools they have today.

Personally, I think that we will continue to be ‘S.M.A.C.ked’ (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) as a major theme and as the “nexus of forces” continues to empower users through technology and information it will make 2014 disruptive and stimulating for everybody involved in Workplace IT.

So there you have it, down in black and white for judgement next year. I’d be really interested to hear your own predictions for the coming year (related to Workplace IT of course!)?

I hope you have a great Christmas break, and see you all in 2014!

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.

Windows 8 is on its way

This week we have been participating in Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, and this year was a record-breaking event with over 16,000 partners attending from over 156 different countries (4,000 were attending for the first time). When you witness the vast number of attendees and the diversity of partners you realise that it is one of the largest, most vibrant IT ecosystems in the world.

Just so you can get a sense of the scale yourself, you can see a picture of the keynote here

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One of the major announcements of the week, was the availability of the new release of their flagship desktop operating system Windows 8. If you didn’t catch it on the news wire, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August. For enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits, they will have full access to Windows 8 bits as early as August.

There were many new features and enhancements discussed during the course of the week, but most of the excitement centred around the potential for devices such as Surface and the new Metro style user interface and applications. It is certainly going to be exciting to see how all of the OEMs, service providers and application developers innovate to exploit the platform for customer value. Here at Computacenter we have already started to look how we integrate it into our existing ‘Contemporary Workplace’ framework of solutions and services – whether it be advice, supply, deployment, integration or management that is needed for an effective outcome for our client’s users.

So, come the end of the year there is going to be another credible option for Enterprise organisations that wish to deliver touch based applications and services on slick, lean and powerful tablet devices. With Apple’s almost ubiquitous iPad already established as the market leader and Microsoft’s dominance of the corporate desktop platform (backed by the sort of ecosystem covered above) – the fight for market dominance is going to be monumental battle to watch.

The good news is that we can help our clients either way – but which way do you think the battle will swing or do you think there is room for both?

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?