As I come to the end of what has been a long customer engagement I find myself reflecting on what went well, not so well and REALLY well. I engaged with a client who was struggling with desktop transformation, having been shackled to Windows XP for too long, and had little direction to move in apart from the tried and tested approach of fat client refresh and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) application delivery; hardly transformative or strategic. Compared to what they were doing in the datacenter, the desktop environment was light-years behind, yet they had the capability of a modern datacenter to deliver a transformative digital workspace.
All too often, I witness organisations treating their desktop as second-class citizens to the datacenter, when in reality the datacenter is the servant to the endpoint. Those organisations that truly transform their end user computing (EUC) environments do so with three key principles in mind:
All too often, IT starts with technology rather than thinking about what impact modernisation will have on users, their productivity and the financial model associated with end user IT. Gone are the days when we simply issued users with devices and mobile phones and never spoke to them again until they had an issue. Our end users are far more technically savvy and operate their own networks at home, they want to be engaged, they want a say on the appropriate application of technology and they want workplace flexibility; happy workers tend to stay where they are.
Users deserve to be engaged and by engaging them early on EUC transformation you create advocates who are part of the process and want to see it succeed. Don’t underestimate this vital stage. Simply put, “Stop starting with technology.”
It is no longer appropriate to operate end user computing environments in isolation to the rest of the IT organisation. Virtualisation stopped that trend from happening when we saw a movement of the desktop into the datacenter. As organisations start to consume different application and security models your EUC environment needs to be close to the action for performance and operational gains.
To fully harness this change, we see organisations starting to build out a centre of excellence containing members that span the many moving parts of an EUC environment from endpoint, applications security, networks, datacenter and operations. In doing so you can be confident that there will not be overspending on technology, there will be appropriate capacity to support your requirements and the best experience will be delivered to your end users.
I recently saw the lightbulb moment in my client’s eyes when discussing the simplification of application delivery; we were introducing AppVolumes. Rather than dazzle them with science, we had a simple demonstration and a discussion around the time tested install process of “Next, Next, Next Finish” into an AppStack and made them realize that the world has moved on.
As organisations look to re-architect critical applications they need to think about simplifying the application lifecycle management (ALM) for legacy applications, a key capability of AppVolumes. IT brings the ability to shorten the ALM process significantly, from request fulfillment through patching and updates, to drive consistency and stability whilst minimizing the cost associated with lifecycle and change processes.
As with all technologies, you need to make sure the investment reduces the problem and the financial gain supports the change. The architecture and minimal impact on existing processes places AppVolumes in a very desirable place to solve application delivery challenges.
Opportunities to transform the end user computing environment don’t come along very often but their impact on end user computing is prolific. There has never been a more exciting yet complicated time to be associated in this space.
To use the words of the late Steve Jobs, “You have to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology.”
Charles Barratt is an EUC Business Solutions Strategist for VMware’s Advisory Services team and based in the UK.