Enterprise computing is more and more centered around the user, but how will this trend affect the workplace and what changes will it make to productivity and the way systems are managed and delivered?
Torsten Volk, VP of product management, cloud at business software specialist ASG Software Solutions, was on hand to enlighten us.
What do you think will be the main trends for IT in the workplace during 2015?
TV: In 2015, the workplace will become more and more end user centric. Business staff, developers and IT operators will receive an individualised user experience that enables them to be more productive. All three of these user groups will be able to receive a more consistent interface from any PC or mobile device, with all the applications, content, services and business data they require.
This means, 2015 will be the year where enterprise IT becomes much more independent of the OS and truly focused on delivering a role based and unified user experience.
Are we going to see a continuing shift towards the cloud and SaaS product delivery?
TV: The short answer is 'yes'. In many cases, the economics of delivering software via public cloud cannot be beat. However, we can expect a paradigm shift toward a truly policy driven approach to software delivery.
Each placement decision - physical, virtual, private cloud or public cloud - comes with different parameters in terms of cost, compliance, security and performance attached to it. The only way to ensure consistent delivery is to introduce a policy engine that 'intelligently' decides where to place an application. The end user should be entirely removed from this decision process.
How can dynamic workspaces make things easier for the user?
TV: Dynamic Hybrid Workspaces go significantly beyond the application centric approach to enterprise computing by offering a truly unified dashboard, where end users no longer have to worry about where their apps, services, data or content are coming from.
These placement decisions are made by a policy engine that works its magic in the background. To optimally complete their daily tasks, end users will no longer have to log into multiple applications with different user interfaces. Instead they will receive one unified dashboard with services and apps that exchange content to enable truly business driven computing.
Can this work with a range of different devices in a BYOD environment?
TV: The idea is to provide the same user experience independent of device and operating system. Whether or not content can be accessed will ultimately depend on compliance and security policy.
The CFO should not be able to review payroll data on the train, where his iPad might be stolen. Context sensitive computing will become a standard, freeing users from the limitations of individual Operating Systems and providing the ultimate level of control and governance to the IT department.
Will offering users a 'self service' approach to installing apps help reduce support workloads or just add more complication?
TV: The workspace aggregation principle enables end users to request and receive apps without a complex installation procedure. Of course, depending on cost and other considerations, there will be workflows that enable IT or LOB management to approve the delivery of certain costly applications or services.
However, the actual delivery will be automated and shift more and more toward virtualised apps and services that can easily scale.
Can using hybrid workspaces help businesses control their software licensing costs?
TV: Yes, the idea is to have one central place - the workspace - to monitor user behavior. If certain apps and services are not used, a workflow can be triggered to ask the user whether the license could be returned to the pool.
The key is the tight integration with a software asset management solution, to prevent licensing violations before they occur and to enable IT to govern the newly introduce self-service paradigm. Simply letting end users order apps and services in a self-service manner does not work without the right checks and balances in place.
Workspaces represent the central hub, where the optimal degree of license control can be applied and enforced.