VMware Horizon

It’s Hard Making ‘Plans’ in End-User Computing

The last five years have seen the rise of a new burning requirement in end-user computing (EUC): building a transformational plan. Before then, most organizations made their plans around upgrade and renewal of their PC installed base – exploiting the stability and increasing commoditization of a mature and well understood platform. But since 2008, newer generations of technology have moved into the mainstream, expanding the range of available options dramatically.  It has become increasingly obvious that the only way to embrace these new options in a way that makes sense to users, to the organization and to the budget is by having a plan, or a ‘roadmap’ – one that covers the transformation of a broadly homogenous set of assets to a much more diverse portfolio.

Building a plan for EUC transformation is hard – we talk to organizations all over the world and we find many are struggling to do this. Oddly enough, it’s not technology that’s the problem, despite the rapid expansion in choice and capability. The problem is language.

All those years of building plans around the refresh of existing capabilities have shifted our focus from benefit to cost, making it ever harder to demonstrate value for the investments we make: when the main motivation to invest is the end of life of your existing assets, not the characteristics or capabilities of the new assets you aim to deploy, it changes the perception for all parties involved. Anyone who’s ever made a business case within EUC knows all about this.

Different stakeholders tend to look at EUC through very different lenses – the business sees applications and information, users see capability and convenience, IT sees infrastructure, standards and profiles. Nobody’s talking the same language and even were they doing so, all seem to miss a critical dimension needed for transformation: time.

I’ve been wrestling with the challenge of building EUC plans for a number of years now:  in the years before I joined VMware I did my best to advise organizations on potential approaches and when I took up my current role in early 2011, I was keen to take that work a step further. I was delighted to find many like-minded colleagues at VMware and so we set to work.

In late 2011 a project team came together to work on the design of a new mechanism for building EUC plans. By Spring 2012 we had a working prototype of our application and began quietly alpha-testing with a small group of customers. The testing continued through the rest of the year, but one thing was immediately clear: we had something – our method was credible and universally well received

By late 2012 our application was ready and we began to operationalize our use of it through an EUC Advisory Service. We now have a team of specialists successfully delivering this service across the globe.

The application that underpins our new service is called Value Path – and it takes a very different approach to building EUC plans.  We begin with the status and objectives of the organization and work in towards technology, not vice-versa.  On the way, we consider the functional needs of different groups of users, plus the capabilities of management and security processes. The result is technology choices made to meet goals, not vice-versa. Perhaps the thing you may find most surprising about Value Path is that it’s technology neutral – you won’t find any product names mentioned anywhere.

If you’d like to hear more about VMware’s view of how to build EUC transformational plans, the Value Path application or our EUC Advisory Services, then please join my session EUC 5557 at VMworld SF on Wednesday, August 28 at 10:00 AM. Just one word of warning – the focus will be on what we need technology to do, not on features and products. Hopefully, we can help make the process of building your EUC plan significantly less hard.

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