With terms like the Digital Workspace, Business Mobility, Mobile Workspace, Digital Transformation, Mobile Cloud era, Cloud First hitting you left and right, it’s very easy to get dazzled and sink into the pothole of buzzword bingo and lose. Don’t. In End User Computing, all these terms are different ways for enterprises to increase their rate of innovation in a sustainable manner – by maximizing employee and the resulting business productivity. Let's explore how the right End User Computing solutions can help enterprises increase their rate of innovation in a sustainable manner. ( Reading Time: 4 minutes )
Innovation and business processes
Ever since the beginning of my career I have been passionate around understanding the (primary) business processes within enterprises and finding ways how IT can improve those business processes. After all, that's what IT has intended to do since the beginning. Innovation is the key in this. Over the last couple of years, it's become increasingly important for enterprises (and SMEs) to innovate, fast. It is not just limited to the likes of TESLA, Google and Facebook but about almost every company NEEDS to innovate. It is not enough to use IT to just optimize business processes. Companies need to innovate and find new ways to delight their customers - because if they don't someone else will and the customer will go to the competitor. This innovation can be external: new IT services (apps and associated data) that are developed in house to delight their customers. The innovation can also be internal: new IT Services that aim to make employees more efficient and productive. The latter internal innovation cycle is where End User Computing plays a pivotal role.
The Importance of the Consumer Experience
One of the biggest changes that has occurred over the last years is the fact that many employees have developed different expectations of the IT services that are made available for them. In short, they expect a consumer like experience for the IT services they consume, also known as the Consumerization of IT.
So what is a consumer experience? In this context, a consumer experience entails:
- A Pristine User experience: traditionally internal IT services have been very 'functional' and have had little attention for the end user experience. This is no longer acceptable. The right End User Computer solution will allow you to deliver a pristine user experience no matter what. A less than pristine user experience will mean that it won’t be used.
- Simplicity: since internal processes typically are hard to automate and abstract, typically the consumption of the resulting IT services is complex for end users. This is fatal to employee and business productivity. The End User Computing solution you select should make it 'sesame street' easy to consume IT services no matter what.
- Self Service: today's employees demand a consumer like response rate. No longer is it OK for an employee to wait days or weeks for a certain IT service to be delivered or created. Today's employees take their instant gratification 'AppStore' experience with them to the workplace. The right End User Solution should allow you to offer the (selected) IT services in a self-service fashion.
Security and Accountability
Enterprises wanting to maximize the productivity of their employees and their resulting business will find an interesting challenge in providing the aforementioned consumer experience. The challenge lies in security.
Enterprises have a responsibility to their resulting customers, regulators and themselves to maintain the right level of security. The problem is that, traditionally, security slows down or blocks end users, which will cause them to try and work around those security measures - exactly what we are trying to prevent. I've discussed this in more detail in previous articles. Let's take one example: corporate content (data). Enterprises need to be able to securely store their corporate content but at the same time need to have access to it when they need it, wherever they need it. The right End User Computing solution should secure (mobile) access to content and IT services anytime, anywhere in that simple fashion that delivers a great user experience. One random personal example is the Boxer email and calendar app (recently acquired by VMware). It is not that there were no secure email clients available but they all did not have the right consumer experience. Boxer combines security with that pristine user experience.
Omni-present, Heterogeneous Productivity
Something that should have leaked through when we discussed the importance of the Consumer Experience and Enterprise Security is a factor that is very important to maximize employee and business productivity. This factor is all about, as I like to call it: omni-present, heterogeneous productivity.
By omni-present I mean that today's employees work from whatever device (form factor) they desire, from where they want, whenever they like. As a result, the right End User Computing solution should be able to service these employee needs - giving them a consumer experience but at the same time making sure that the right security level is maintained.
By heterogeneous I mean that employees will use different types of apps. It could be a client-server application, a web application, a mobile app, a SaaS application etc. The right End User Computing solution should not care what kind of application is used. It should allow employees to seamlessly use the application they want with a consistent user experience- on the device they want wherever they want, whilst again preserving security. Preferably it should also offer Single Sign-on capabilities to even exceed the consumer experience employees have.
Bingo! You win.