The final phase of the journey to better end-user computing (EUC) will most likely take place during the second half of this decade and will complete the escape to the cloud:
- The first step will be to invert the relationship between the desktop and cloud brokers – making the cloud services platform the primary workspace through which the desktop is accessed (as another service) for all users.
- With the shift in workspace emphasis from the desktop to the cloud, the desktop persona will diminish in importance. Organizations should drive down user dependence on this component, eventually eliminating it from their environment completely. The traditional desktop environment will now only exist to support the “long tail” of the organization’s legacy applications.
- Complete the move to the cloud through iterative replacement of legacy, OS-based applications with next-generation cloud-based alternatives. Once the last application is moved, the desktop OS will no longer be needed.
At the end of this phase, organizations will have completed the journey from the PC-based era of end-user computing to a new era of choice – where they can focus on users, applications and data.
As the range of EUC services and capabilities supported extend, the center of gravity of each user’s work will shift steadily from the desktop to the cloud. Initially their cloud-based services will be resources accessed through their desktop workspace (whether virtual or physical), but gradually this relationship will invert. Their primary workspace will become the cloud platform, with the desktop their means of access. Eventually, the desktop will become just another one of the services accessed through the cloud broker.
The Horizon Application Manager that was initially deployed for SaaS applications will now have become a unified application catalog, that supports:
- SaaS applications
- Web-services-based collaborative applications
- Virtualized and published desktop applications
- Enterprise applications
These are all administered and managed through a common range of infrastructure services that apply the organization’s policies, monitor usage and support accurate financial management. The services will probably be a hybrid of private and public, but this distinction will be masked from the user by the single Horizon portal.
What the user sees now is no longer a desktop, but a workspace that gives access to all of their services. This workspace will be available to them from any location and through any device. Where and how individual services are provisioned doesn’t matter, since the point of integration is always in the cloud. The workspace will be policy controlled, with application access and local capabilities dynamically adjusted according to entitlements, location and context of use.