Photo: Kevin Chin, F5.
Chin believes that control is crucial. "IT will have to manage user experience and expectations in deploying and managing applications," he said. "It has to look at ways to automate delivery and management. Organisations will also have to manage long-term virtual sprawl in the cloud which could harm the efficiency, productivity and resource management gains from moving to the cloud in the first place."
Changing work patterns
To illustrate changes in the working environment, Nabeel Youakim, Vice President, Asia Pacific Products & Microsoft Alliance, Citrix, pointed to assumptions typically made by organisations.
Photo: Nabeel Youakim, Citrix.
"For the past 20 years, organisations have assumed that the office is the physical centre of activity. They assumed that their employees would work on fixed corporate desktop devices such as the personal computer (PC) and use on-premise IT systems. Any variation to this working pattern was considered an exception," he said. "However, in today's cloud era, the opposite applies. Organisations should assume that their employees are mobile and work from different locations; they prefer to use their own devices, and they will be working over an infinite wireless public system. Working from the office is now an exception."
Such changes in working habits called for a different approach in how organisations built, controlled and managed their systems. "To optimise flexibility, enterprise systems should be configured to take advantage of private and public cloud services," said Youakim. "An open source architecture would allow for shifts across platforms."
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), a form of desktop virtualisation, was an example of a flexible system which combined enterprise control with worker mobility. Organisations retained management over data and applications in their data centre while allowing their mobile workforce to access their virtual desktop from remote sites such as client offices or from home. It added business value by shifting the use of resources, cut down support costs and simplified the management of devices.
The mobile lifestyle has also seen the proliferation of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) which is blurring the line between work and personal devices. Tablets, smartphones and thin client devices are just some of the devices open to consumers. Employees are pushing for use of their own preferred devices which run on different operating systems within their organisation.
"This presents challenges to IT in terms of security and management," said Khoo Hung Chuan, Country General Manager, Lenovo Malaysia. "Organisations are grappling with the question of how much support and control they should provide for personal devices and applications. There has to be a balance on device ownership and device support between company and employee."
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