tangled wires
Digital workplaces offer IT an opportunity to step out of the sidelines and onto the playing field. Will they take it? PHOTO: Randall Bruder

The consumerization trend started by mobile and cloud technologies has changed individual expectations forever and is disrupting businesses across industries.

To thrive in the middle of this disruption requires a new approach to delivering IT services.

Drivers of Heightened Expectations

Modern workforce expectations are a key driver of digitization. All employees, including millennials who will make up nearly 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, keep their smartphones nearby at all times and are enamored by flexible, collaborative work styles and the convenience of mobile experiences. 

Technology choices surround us all every day, pushing the expectations for great end-user experiences even higher. If a technology doesn't immediately grab us out of the box, we move on to the next available option.

Another factor is apps. “There's an app for that” may be a punchline, but it's not a phrase to take lightly. Cloud technologies make it easy for anyone to provision the app they want as long as they have an internet connection and a credit card available. 

Unfortunately, provisioning business applications rarely mimics the simplicity of the consumer experience. For IT, managing these rogue apps is especially difficult given the many different types of mobile, cloud, web and Windows apps — none of which work across all devices.

Finally, it’s all about mobile workflows. In our personal lives, consumer apps are optimized for mobile actions: order a car service, pay a bill, deposit a check or locate a place of interest. 

But our work apps? Not so much. 

The enterprise mobile experience must grow beyond content consumption (e.g., email and documents). To capture the value of consumer experiences at work and boost productivity, IT must implement simple, action-oriented workflows, such as one-touch approvals and service tickets.

Where IT Comes In

Enterprise technologies are delivered and managed in silos: and IT needs to deal with this challenge. The team managing employee onboarding is different and distinct from those managing desktops. Both of these groups are separate from the team managing mobile devices. 

Add in device diversity, and the complexity of the end-user computing environment gets further exacerbated.

IT must support end-users across operating systems and device types: smartphones, tablets and even the Internet of Things. Security policies are created and implemented in silos and each organization sources its own apps, leading to the rise in Shadow IT. 

The result is a disjointed user experience that not only lowers employee satisfaction and productivity but also increases the cost of IT implementation and support.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of digitization are clear. Enterprise technology must evolve and adopt new approaches to realize the benefits of digital transformation.

Breaking Down Silos with Digital Workspaces

A digital workspace solution can help IT harness the rapid changes brought about by consumerization. 

The digital workspace offers a holistic change in the way IT delivers end-user services. Enabling the digital workspace requires breaking down silos and implementing a platform-based approach with the necessary infrastructure to deliver the apps and data employees need.

Using this approach, IT can deploy services across any device to address the wide range of needs, use cases and workforce profiles within businesses. The digital workspace also has a strong impact on the culture of the organization (an topic worthy of its own article), which businesses must address through change management as employees receive new technologies.

Digital Workspace Requirements

Any digital workspace platform should meet two key requirements:

  1. Simple, consumer-style experience for end-users and
  2. Information security and compliance for the organization.

Meeting these requirements requires IT to unify endpoint, app and security management. Unification helps IT deliver a variety of applications (web, SaaS, mobile and virtual), distributed across public and private clouds, and delivered in a secure, consistent way to the employees preferred device, independent of who owns it. 

The ability to deliver any app to any device enables fast employee onboarding and results in increased productivity and user satisfaction. Unifying application policy controls also maintains the security of corporate data, especially as employees connect outside of the network domain and from different devices.

Ultimately, a solution’s ROI is only as good as its adoption. 

To maximize adoption and satisfaction, the solution must offer simple, action-oriented experiences to deliver productive mobile moments similar to the consumer experience. End-users struggle with disparate experiences when using enterprise desktops, mobile applications and cloud services. 

With digital workspaces, companies can deliver a unified mobile and desktop experience on a single device with the great experience that end-users want and help streamline the management and delivery of apps for IT.

IT Steps Out of the Sidelines

It’s an exciting time for enterprise IT. 

Rapid changes in consumer technology are changing our expectations for applications and devices at the workplace. IT can help the move to the digital workspace by meeting employee needs and developing a long-term technology roadmap that aligns with business priorities. 

It’s time for IT to get off the sidelines and into the game.