Mark Micallef, Area Vice President, ASEAN, Citrix (pic), talked of the birth of the secure Application Economy:
This year, we witnessed various technologies disrupting businesses as the IT world moves towards "software-defined everything" - from software-defined storage, datacentres to networks. Businesses expanded their reliance on social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies in pursuit of positive business outcomes such as reducing costs, creating new revenue streams, and boosting customer satisfaction.
As 2015 continues to see the evolution towards a software-defined environment, the real and virtual worlds will start to converge. The Software-Defined Workplace will start to come to fruition in the upcoming years ahead, as organisations accelerate their paths to a mobility-transformed business, where IT is made simpler, and people more productive.
Half of the world's population will be using mobile devices to access the Internet by 2020, a significant growth from 30 percent last year. Furthermore, smartphone penetration in Asia Pacific continues to see significant growth in recent years, with Singapore at 87 percent, Malaysia at 80 percent and Thailand at 49 percent. As mobile becomes the gateway to the Internet for many across the world, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) becomes more of an assumption than an IT option. Hence, businesses need to reinvent the way it engages its employees - through applications (apps).
The growing mobile workforce is driving the app economy into one that is secure-by-design and context-aware. As the mobile app market grows, Gartner expects that by 2016, more than 300 billion apps will be downloaded annually from mobile app stores, and by 2017, one quarter of enterprises will have enterprise app stores for managing corporate-sanctioned apps on mobile devices and PCs .
As it is widely understood that security is one of the key areas of focus for all organizations, 2015 will witness a change in the way apps are developed. Organisations will design apps to be secure, agnostic and context-aware right from the start, to protect their data and the user's privacy. These apps will be supplemented with policies based on predictive analytics for adaptive access controls making them alert to their surroundings and able to respond appropriately to combat potential threats and security breaches. This will then enable organizations with secure software-defined mobile workspaces.
The rise of consumerisation of IT is changing the way business is done. Users are no longer tied to a single location, and neither should their data. In short, employees expect anytime secure access to their data. Gartner predicts that with the explosion in mobile users, there will be an increased focus on serving the user's needs in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone. Computing environments need to change according to these needs and become more dynamic and user-centric - one that does not start and stop at the datacentre - encompassing all aspects of computing, from the network through the application.
For instance, collaborative work is not necessarily conducted in a single location anymore. A recent research estimates that optimising workflows and increasing collaboration via software-based solutions by even 20 percent can save workers up to 200 hours per year. Creating a software-defined workplace with the right communication and collaboration tools for a highly distributed, centralized workforce to get work done from anywhere is the future.
All in all, organisations need to reinvent how people work to enable seamless, secure communication and collaboration across devices and locations. Communications, apps, support, desktops, networks and servers become strategic virtual tools for business mobility, regardless of the type of cloud or infrastructure from which they originate. Hence, organizations that transform traditional, physical workplaces, including resources, into one that is all-digital, virtualised, people-centric, software-defined and always available, will equip themselves with a competitive edge above the rest to drive both human and business outcomes.
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