Enterprise workspace digitisation inevitable due to consumerisation of IT
Take small steps, create compelling apps, lead from top down for success
THE bring-your-own device (BYOD) trend has become part of the enterprise landscape for a few years now, creating all kinds of challenges for information technology (IT) departments.
The situation is getting more intricate and the headaches faced by IT professionals are going to get worse before they get any better, according to a new study by Forrester Research.
In its latest Digital Workspace study entitled Match Digital Workspace Delivery Systems to Your Organization’s Workforce, Forrester senior analyst David Johnson (pic) noted that only 13% of information workers report that they are completely satisfied that their technology management organisations have a sufficient understanding of their needs.
On top of this, there is more pressure from business leaders to support new technology faster, he added.
“With 89% of the world’s corporate-issued PCs running some version of Microsoft Windows, the familiar desktop environment and its rich variety of apps will continue to be the workhorse of employees’ productivity.
“But as with most firms, employees are more mobile, and they also now use a much wider array of devices, operating systems (OSes), and apps.
“At the same time, managing the Windows PC environment is just as expensive and complicated as ever, if not more so given ever stricter compliance mandates and security measures,” Johnson wrote.
The interest of hardware decision-makers and their investments in many digital workspace delivery technologies are on the rise, but companies still struggle with user acceptance and choosing the right technologies for their workforce, the Forrester report noted.
The challenges highlighted by the research and analyst firm are familiar to most enterprises today, especially in Malaysia, where the ecosystem for digital workspace is still evolving, said Avanade Malaysia country manager Ong Ken Teong.
Founded in 2000, Avanade Inc is joint-venture business technology consultancy between Microsoft Corp and Accenture Plc. The company specialises in servicing enterprises using the former’s products and services.
Speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) in an interview recently, Ong said Malaysian enterprises lack the sophistication to adopt a full-fledged digital workspace strategy and are still too focused on attaining return-on-investment (ROI) as a key performance indicator for the technologies they adopt.
For instance, an organisation thinking about mobility would consider arming its workforce with mobile apps and services, but these deployments normally be confined to front-line staff rather than everyone within the organisation, he argued.
“This mindset puts revenue generation first as the main driver for mobility,” he added.
However, Ong noted that things are beginning to change as companies are now being forced to move into the digital workspace because business demands it.
“Malaysian are more cautious and are often focused on how the technology benefit business, but the four key drivers of mobility, cloud, collaboration, and big data are forcing enterprises into adopting a digital workspace mindset,” he added.
Ong said that according Avanade’s own research of 599 C-level executives in 19 countries conducted recently, the consumerisation of IT – fuelled by ubiquitous Internet access, changing consumer behaviour, collaboration technologies, data consumption and cloud services – is doing more than just facilitating remote access to data and applications.
These trends are also enabling enterprises to redefine and transform how work gets done, he added.
In order to deal with these changes, Ong argued that organisations would need to redesign the processes they use to conduct business every day to transcend location, roles, time zones and business boundaries, opening the door for more collaborative business.
These processes include, in many cases, sales and service enablement, process automation and compliance, order fulfilment and distribution, and distributed ‘teaming.’
How to do it
Based on its Work Redesigned philosophy, Avanade has come up with a number of steps to help enterprises wanting to take control of workspace digitisation needs, said Ong (pic).
Starting small and involving a cross-section of people at the beginning are key to the journey. The next step would be to then build a proof-of-concept and run a short pilot to evaluate ideas and refine new work processes, he said.
This can lead to quick wins that would in turn lead to the adoption of the proof-of-concept in other areas of the business beyond the pilot, he added.
“The other important points [for success] are ease of use, training and communication,” said Ong.
“Training and communication shouldn’t just be about organising a workshop to instruct users on the ‘hows,’ but should also be about building apps that are intuitive to use, and have good user interfaces and customer experiences so that people would enjoy using them.”
Besides these practices listed by Avanade, Forrester’s Johnson recommends that a company appoint a senior person to head the ‘overlay team,’ and empower that person to override technology-led decisions when necessary to ensure that the user experience remains the top priority.
“This is because the user experience will be critically important to the overall success of the project,” he wrote in the study.
Also, choose a provider with deep expertise with all of the digital workspace solutions of your primary software vendor for the initiative, Johnson advised.
Lastly, consider investing in better instrumentation and analytics, for infrastructure-monitoring is a wise investment.
“Because digital workspace delivery systems bring together and cross many elements of a technology infrastructure, it can be very difficult to troubleshoot the root causes of performance issues and anomalies [without advanced analytics],” Johnson argued.
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