Business Continuity By Product VMware Workspace ONE

2017: The Year of the Digital Workspace & User Experience Technology


It’s incredible the amount of mobile innovation and digital transformation we’ve witnessed in 2016. How will 2017 top it?

I believe we’ll see these five business and IT trends:

  1. A new market will emerge called the digital workspace.
  2. Senior IT leaders will take on more digital innovation roles.
  3. IT will win workers over with better user experiences.
  4. Bring your own (BYO) device, apps and everything else will persist.
  5. A new class of digital employees will expand.

Let’s dive in.

1. A New Market: The Digital Workspace

This year, we heard a lot about the “digital workspace,” born out of enterprise mobility management (EMM), mobile application management (MAM) and identity management (IDM). We launched our own digital workspace solution, VMware Workspace ONE. Industry analysts started talking about it, including Ovum, which recently produced The Digital Workspace Checklist. The technology evolved, customers embraced it and Frost & Sullivan said it addressed a new “critical industry requirement”—unified endpoint management (UEM).

[Read more: Frost & Sullivan Recognizes VMware & Workspace ONE as Visionary Innovation Leader for End-User Computing]

In 2017, we’ll see the emergence not just of the concept but an entirely new industry category called the digital workspace.

Security’s role is expanding, which means the technology must expand, too. In the past, IDM solutions operated in silos, and so did security pros. They deployed VPN and enabled remote access without even considering the end-user experience. Today, enterprises expect security to work alongside IT to ensure the entire end-user computing (EUC) infrastructure is in place. They not only deploy security solutions but also support end users.

As a result, leading IDM vendors are developing and widening their mobile capabilities. OneLogin, for example, recently acquired Sphere Secure Workspace “to gain mobile management foothold,” according to the TechCrunch headline. It’s evident the digital workspace market is emerging and that VMware is on the right path with Workspace ONE.

In 2017, we’ll see the emergence not just of the concept but an entirely new industry category called the digital workspace.

2. IT Leaders’ Mission: Mobile Moments

IT leaders will continue focusing more on transforming business processes—primarily via mobile—and less on keeping the lights on. This includes both emerging C-level roles like the Chief Digital Officer or Chief Innovation Officer and other senior IT roles.

This shift is already happening across EUC. But in 2017, we’ll see IT leaders refine and deliver more “mobile moments,” helping users get the most out of every minute they use a mobile device. A great example is our own vApprove app at VMware. Our IT organization made once-complicated process and approvals extremely simple to do on a smartphone. Now, it’s actually faster to get things done on a mobile device than a desktop.

3. End-User Experience Is #ITGoals

Allowed by default vs. denied by default—security said that for years. In 2017, end-user experiences will rise among IT priorities. IT wants to make it easier and more valuable to work with them rather than go around them. To do so, IT will leverage more consumer-driven user experience technology.

Take security tokens. Users are required to generate a third-party code to get software tokens to remotely access work. Not surprisingly, employees hate it. The process is clumsy and time-consuming. Essentially, IT asks workers to do something that’s difficult by default.

At VMware, we’re starting to seeing a ton of interest from companies wanting to move away from that classic token model to more user-friendly solutions, like mobile push technology. With mobile push tokens, like VMware Verify, the user’s smartphone is the second factor for authentication. Users just open the app to automatically generate a token that they enter into their digital workspace.

End-user experiences and mobile push technology will be very hot topics in 2017. It helps employees get down to business faster and helps IT drive down Shadow IT.

[Read: Introducing VMware Verify Two-Factor Authentication]

4. BYO Sticks Around—Deal with It

We’ve heard about BYO for years, and that’s not changing. It’s still relevant, and it will continue to be. It’s not about company policies. It’s just reality.

Studies reveal employees are pulling up work on personal devices, regardless of company policy.  Alternatively, companies are starting to rely on BYO to deliver work apps to employees. Workers won’t necessarily expect to perform their entire jobs on personal devices, but they will expect the basics: email, calendar, scheduling, etc.

Every IT organization will need to find a user-friendly, secure solution to deal with it.

[Download: The 5 Next Big Things in Mobile Security]

5. There’s a New Class of Digital Employees

When Gartner said, “Every employee is a digital employee,” back in 2015, the analyst firm was referring to the digitalization of business processes. Today, this statement takes on a whole new meaning. Moving forward in 2017, this will apply to every employee in every industry (not just classic knowledge workers).

Most employees carry a reliable mobile device to work, and it’s gotten so easy to push work apps to these personal devices. The very nature of jobs radically changed because of mobile technology. As a result, an entirely new class of digital employees is expanding.

The digital retail worker, for example, can now instantly schedule and switch shifts in the middle of the night just by opening an app, and everyone knows who’s opening the store. That’s huge for a retailer.

[Read: Managing Data Workflows in Retail Using VMware AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management]

These users never worked on a computer before but now access work email from a smartphone. These are users IT never before supported. Thousands of new digital employees and endpoints are under IT’s management.

The very nature of jobs radically changed because of mobile technology, and as a result, an entirely new class of digital employees is expanding.

Like the rest of these trends, this means new opportunities for business growth, as well as for us here at VMware to help companies seize those opportunities. 2016 has been a thrilling year to watch technology like the digital workspace develop, and 2017 is sure to be an exciting year of execution and innovation.

I can’t wait to share what’s next from VMware. Join our digital community to be there when it happens.


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