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What does virtualisation mean for the future of business IT?

It's no secret that the majority of IT teams in large organisations today are being challenged to deliver greater performance and a better user experience while at the same time having to work with reduced resources and budgets. IT is also responsible for major and incredibly time-consuming projects, such as desktop management and migration. User virtualisation is a technology which has a significant role to play in helping an organisation transform and modernise itself, and this is a trend that is set to grow.

Virtualisation has developed in recent years in response to the increasing trend of user-centric thinking, which calls for IT to put the end user at the heart of everything it does. It allows IT managers to manage a set of user settings instead of each individual device and helps businesses expand and chase new opportunities more efficiently.

It separates user settings, such as application usage permissions, from the system, thereby allowing individuals to choose the device and operating platform that suits them best, instead of the application settings forcing the device choice on them. By allowing flexibility and easy desktop management, businesses can enable their employees to work more efficiently and in turn allow the business to grow.

Virtualisation also enables cost efficiency through smart working, desktop virtualisation and time savings with employees. This allows the business to become more efficient and helps it achieve its goals in a more resourceful way. It also means that busy IT managers only need to manage a single layer of an individual's digital existence, instead of an exploding number of devices and applications, with millions of potential user configurations.

Since virtualisation technology can have a huge role in helping an organisation to transform and modernise itself, these factors can also help IT managers achieve their goals. But for it to work, IT must help the business to ask the right questions and make sure it gets what it is looking for – without losing focus on the individual.

Because of the rapid proliferation of mobile devices, IT management has fundamentally changed and forced IT departments to rethink how they manage the end-point. Furthermore, they've had to completely restructure how they manage and control the end-user as well. More and more enterprises are turning to virtualisation as a solution to rising IT costs and security concerns, combined with user demands for a personalised desktop experience and the ability to work from anywhere, at any time, from any device.

In terms of the future, the end-point environment will continue to evolve and user management will become even more important. Aside from the fact that virtualisation and cloud projects will continue to increase, there will be even more emphasis on the user layer. The growth in mobile devices used in a given environment will play a role in that. Better infrastructure management, increased user visibility, and more control over devices will help organisations align their IT goals with the needs of the wider business.

Keith Turnbull is the chief technology officer at AppSense.