Once they have a cloud services platform in place, organizations will begin reaping immediate benefits. New SaaS applications will be easy to add to the catalog using cloud application connectors.
Entitlements can be quickly adjusted; any application in the catalog can be made instantly available to additional users. The entitlements can also be managed holistically, so a change in user status is simple to apply, even if the entitlements affect services from different sources that use different credentials. If a user leaves the organization, their credentials can be revoked for all services assigned through a single operation.
There are no additional or hidden integration costs for SaaS applications, so the costs of deployment are immediately visible. This transparency combined with detailed usage reporting yields something that has long been missing for end-user computing (EUC) applications: direct line of sight between costs and results. Since the catalog of services is viewed through a portal it is device independent by default.
These characteristics will enable organizations to take much tighter control over the direction and pace of their ongoing EUC journey. New services are, by definition, discrete, so they can be added one-at-a-time as the capabilities of the Horizon platform extend. The Horizon project is agile, so there will be frequent updates, and there is much on the roadmap: published applications, virtualized applications, enterprise applications, data services, personas. Projects AppBlast and Octopus, which were both previewed at VMworld, demonstrated two of the future capabilities.
As organizations make their journey from the desktop to this cloud services platform, the business perception of EUC investments will change. This will gradually accelerate the escape from the vicious spiral. Line of sight between service costs and results will mean new capabilities can deliver demonstrable marginal benefits – organizations will be able to associate EUC investments with revenues, instead of just costs. Moreover, each step taken can be small, so organizations can balance their investments in new capabilities with the availability of budget and resources – this is very different to the “big project” nature of current desktop investments, where the need to take big steps in short periods of time usually drives both budget and resource allocation.
Operational costs will decline too, with the elimination of integration complexity and overhead. There will still be ongoing costs, but these will increasingly be driven by usage rather than maintenance and support. The faster the organization moves EUC services from the desktop to the cloud, the faster these benefits will accrue.
Shifting the primary application base to the cloud will also help with another key change – the move towards the workflow-based applications required for more collaborative working – more on that in the next post.