Today’s corporate workforce is mobile and global. Employees are accessing their work when and where they want, often with multiple devices.
While this new landscape could be a nightmare, IT leaders actually see it as an opportunity. They’re using it to provide an improved user experience that they say is crucial for digital transformation.
But first, these IT executives recognize they must overcome challenges such as balancing resources and addressing security.
Ingredients of a digital workspace strategy
Work is no longer about a place. It happens in an office and in the home, at customer facilities and in coffee shops. By 2022, 42.5% of the total global workforce is estimated to be mobile, according to Strategy Analytics.
To accommodate this shift, companies are starting to put together the elements of a digital workspace. IT leaders are embracing transformational trends including mobility and cloud to enable greater flexibility for workers, while trying to improve productivity.
To bring the digital workspace to the next level, companies need to focus on:
- A unified experience that simply works — no matter if users are on desktops, mobile devices, the web, or all of these devices at different times.
- Native integration of cloud and on-premises applications, including mobile, virtual, software-as-a-service, and desktop solutions.
- Enhanced security with intelligent monitoring and unified endpoint management to take into account today’s expanded attack surface.
All of these elements should also come with a level of IT control. That means bonus points for incorporating analytics to gain insights into user behavior. And companies should have the ability to continually enhance the digital workspace with smooth migrations — for example, to new cloud services or Windows 10.
Challenges to overcome
Yet, no one said that creating a unified digital workspace would be easy. In a recent survey by IDG, IT leaders cited several key challenges.
Their primary concern — finding a balance between growth opportunities and day-to-day IT operations — is no surprise. Although IT executives recognize the value of digital transformation, and how the digital workspace fits into that strategy, they struggle with financially supporting it. Respondents also cited challenges with meeting security/compliance standards and empowering user productivity.
When it comes to managing the digital workspace, IT leaders overwhelmingly selected security as the top challenge over ensuring uptime and disaster recovery. It’s not surprising, especially as more companies migrate to the cloud.
“One of the concerns that resonates in my peer group is thinking about the controls and security of cloud connections our users make every day — for example, if you have employees connecting via a mobile device via an untrusted network like in a café,” said Stan Black, Senior Vice President, Chief Security and Information Officer, Citrix. “Truly understanding who owns the responsibility in making something secure is of the utmost importance. And even more importantly, being able to prove that connection is secure.”
And yet, ensuring security of on-premises technology is not easy. “I would submit that the complexity of managing tens of thousands of hardware, software, operating systems, mobile devices, network providers, etc., leaves you with an even bigger level of risk,” Black said. “You can never keep up with the patches if you don’t know who owns enforcing that patch management.”
When managed properly, the right cloud-based digital workspace can keep the organization and its users secure.
A digital workspace takes shape
Malux AB is a Swedish manufacturer and distributor of electrical, explosion-proof products, as well as lighting and communications products such as antennas. To attract the best individuals who could help the company grow, the company chose to incorporate a mobile platform, where employees could work anywhere, any time.
And yet, like most growing companies, Malux didn’t want to invest in all new hardware and software. They needed to balance their budget for IT innovation with day-to-day operations in a way that would let them build for the future.
“We are talking about how to enable the employee and the company to grow and to scale,” said Jörgen Norman, CIO of Malux. “All employees, all humans want simplicity. If you don’t add simplicity into your business model, you will be tangled up with all the technology.”
To shape its digital workspace, Malux partnered with AceIQ, a Citrix solutions provider. By integrating many of its existing solutions including XenApp and XenDesktop with workspace services such as XenMobile and ShareFile, Malux has deployed the full Citrix Workspace on Azure.
“My take on IT is how we can add value — for the company, for the business and, ultimately, for the community,” Norman said. AceIQ and Citrix have “provided that platform.”
The bottom line
Quite simply, work is no longer a place; it’s wherever works gets done. As companies increasingly embrace the digital workspace, they should consider the critical elements: a unified user experience, integration, and security.