Before we dive into the concepts of RES Software, let’s have a look on what is going on in the world of IT. We see three major trends that are re-shaping IT as we know it today.Consumerization of IT. We are dealing today with a new generation of people who grew up with IT within easy reach. Smart phones and tablets being used for personal use, are now – increasingly - being used more and more in our professional lives. People appreciate the experience they have with consumer technologies, and they want to see this same level of satisfaction in their corporate technologies (for example: email, Dropbox, intranet, etc.).Cloud based technologies. IT departments are no longer delivering all IT services themselves. The movement towards the cloud is real and sustained into our future. But the cloud raises other concerns as well, not the least of which are security and compliance. Tackling the cloud demands another way of thinking for IT. Where we used to deliver IT purely from a technical perspective, we now see that we must have better ways of delivering IT in the future. We need to shift our frame of reference from providing technology to providing IT as a service.Hybrid IT. Actually the two before mentioned trends are driving an additional trend. Hybrid IT is a fact. Not too many years ago, the pundits were predicting a full-scale transition from traditional rich client infrastructures to virtual desktops. The reality has been different. Virtual desktops are growing, but they’re only a part of the picture – and still a relatively small one. The reality is, desktop infrastructures aren’t transitioning from one model to another – they’re hybrid. This isn’t happening because it’s easier for IT to maintain: quite the opposite. But it’s what our IT consumers are demanding from us. Our customers want to work everywhere, from multiple devices, and they want the ability to be online 24 / 7. These trends really impact the daily IT operation:To keep our users satisfied, Hybrid IT brings a lot of complexity. We need to maintain these complex infrastructures – but that is costing us more maintenance hours. This forces more IT resources into daily operations, and away from other projects and “strategic IT.” This makes us less flexible and – frankly – less responsive to IT consumers. As a result, they’re looking for “shadow IT” or “user IT” solutions like Dropbox and Gmail. Shadow IT are cloud based consumer solutions used for professional work – but outside of IT’s control.We see the cost of IT going up. We’ve never had to be more cost aware than today, so this is a struggle for almost every IT manager or CIO. Each year, IT is asked to do more with less – when technologies are becoming more complex, and IT’s ability to control the consumption of technology is being reduced.The 24/7 access from any device in combination with shadow IT solutions gives us big headaches when it comes to compliance and security of our corporate data environment. And compliance and data security are not optional; they’re “do or die” for IT.At some level, it’s an exciting time to be in IT because so much is changing, including very fundamental changes. But these same changes are making our jobs riskier, more difficult, and much more demanding.That’s why RES Software is here to help.Footnotes with sources for the above information:1 Number of laptops, iPads and desktop PCs expected to be shipped to corporate IT environments in the next three years2 Based on Gartner’s “Desktop Total Cost of Ownership”3 Based on a survey of US companies. “Employee negligence” and “lost or stolen devices” caused 41% and 35% of breaches respectively Source: Forrester, Gartner, Ponemon Institute
This combination of different working styles and 24/7 access from any device is becoming more and more a challenge. It means that we cannot control technology with traditional IT approaches and traditional ways of thinking about IT. This is also confirmed by Analysts like Gartner and Forrester. (Refer to the actual quote of Forrester on the slide.)Instead of taking the traditional desktop management approach, it’s time for a change. RES Software believes IT can better achieve control of its mission and destiny by shifting its focus from the traditional desktop to a new vision of IT as a Service that can be delivered to any workspace. If we take this approach, we begin to think about:Which services we should deliverAt what timeTo what device (desktop, laptop, tablet)Who qualifies for themOnly with this approach, we are able, in the end, to find the right technology for doing so.The big question is of course, how can we support this approach, and how should we change our focus?
If we look at how IT today tries to manage technology, we see that from an end user perspective (let’s think of it as an “IT consumer” perspective), productivity is very important. IT simply exists because it enables us to do more work more rapidly, and it enables us to collaborate in a much more effective way.On the other hand, we have the IT organization which is very often perceived as a cost center (that is, an organization that costs the business money and does not deliver value in an easily measured way). From an IT perspective, efficiency and security are important drivers: but focusing on them can really hold back innovation, and it takes the focus away from the IT consumer’s actual user experience and needs. Again this leads to “Shadow IT,” which in turn subjects the business to serious risks of data security and compliance breaches.To be able to be innovative as an IT organization, and to make sure that we can manage complex hybrid application delivery infrastructures, we need to change our view to “IT as a Service”.
(Optional: Use a metaphor, such as the Starbucks experience, to tell this story. Do research on your prospect so this can be made directly relevant to them)When we begin to think of IT as a Service, we stop looking at things from a technology standpoint, and instead look at the services that IT consumers actually expect – and at how they get these services today. Traditionally when an IT consumer needs something, he or she will probably call the service desk and request a service. (For example: MS Visio or change of mobile phone number in his or her signature block; pick an example or two that you are comfortable with explaining.) To deliver this standard service, IT needs to do a lot of stuff. They need to check whether they have enough licenses available to the IT consumer; they have to check whether this consumer is actually allowed to get this service, and who needs to approve them for it; and finally they need to perform a technical change in the infrastructure to make this happen (e.g., install the app on the consumer’s laptop, or add the consumer to an AD group to get access to a streamed app).Finally the service desk will call or email the user with the message that he or she has to reboot their Windows machine to make the new service available on their desktop.Now this is a traditional approach and it costs a lot of money to execute; especially where changes are made by IT professionals to the IT environment. Those are actually operational changes that are often still performed by 2nd or 3rd line personnel. And those skilled resources are really expensive – really too expensive to be focused on repetitive operational tasks.But even requesting the services themselves is a long process. Even if we have a service desk available 24/7, this does not mean that those services are also delivered 24/7; very often we have to wait until the real IT people are available and have time to actually carry out the request.And making the services available on the desktop is traditionally done based on identity only (who are you, what department are you in, etc.). But, in an environment where IT consumers are accessing business technology from different locations, at different times, and using different devices, that just doesn’t work anymore either. A new approach is needed.
So… If we want to transform our IT organization into a real IT service provider, then we need to change some things in our approach.IT Service StoreFirst of all, we need to make sure that users are able to request their services from a convenient, easy to use corporate app store. And even better, a corporate IT store. Because we have many more services to offer than apps only! In fact, we need a lot more than the current app stores as we know them today! The app stores as we know them today are focused on consumers; this shows how they’re set up. Take the Apple App Store, for example. Al services are available to everyone – but actually for only one platform and essentially one device. There is no workflow logic behind to enable license checks, management approvals, and requests for information. A real corporate IT service store should contain services that are 80% automatically delivered, because we can upfront predict which services an IT consumer needs based on his or her role, department, level, etc. This information could very well be retrieved from HR systems or Identity Management systems (note: RES does not provide these systems).This leaves 20% of the services that are not so predictable (a phone number change for example). These services should end up in a personal catalog, allowing users to request them when actually needed.Furthermore we need to be able to build a process workflow around these services so managers can actually approve them when and if they’re needed.Automation FabricIf we are able to service our user with a Corporate App Store, then it also becomes important that services are delivered as soon as they are requested and approved. This means that we should not have to wait until somebody in the IT organization has time to configure the needed change in the IT infrastructure. In fact, behind every request sits a standard infrastructural change that is repeatable and has a predictable outcome: a task, in other words, that can be easily automated. To do this you need a light-weight “automation fabric” that can perform and guide those changes within the infrastructure. This automation fabric should be a thin layer that sits on top of and integrates with your existing systems.If we are really able to create an IT Service Store, and we are able to automate those standard changes, than we can request and deliver services without a case-by-case intervention of IT people. This speeds up service delivery, reduces chances for human error, and frees up IT resources so they can work on projects rather than have their time consumed with repetitive, daily operational tasks.User WorkspaceFinally we need to make sure that the IT consumer’s desktop (we prefer to call it a workspace), is dynamically composed. Why does it need to be dynamic? Because the services on the desktop do not only depend on the identity of a consumer, but also on that consumer’s location, device and time. We call this “context awareness.” It’s about delivering IT in a service-based approach to consumers based on their context (or situation) – not just on their identity. The workspace of the IT consumer should be consistent from a look and feel perspective; but also dynamic when it comes to their available services. (For example, access to sensitive data might not be allowed from any location; printer access should be based on location; selected apps can be concealed when working outside the office, etc.)Also the user workspace should be managed regardless of the delivery technology being used. An IT consumer should not be affected by the fact that he or she uses Windows XP on a rich client today and Windows 7 in a VDI environment tomorrow. Nor should he or she care whether an application is installed, streamed or virtualized. An IT administrator should have the freedom to choose the technology that suits a specific service best, in a way that is invisible to the IT consumer!When we are able to do all this, we created IT as a Service which leads to:
Follow-me-IT is IT that is centered around the user. This picture really shows that services should be brought to the IT consumer in a context-aware fashion. Context/situation is becoming ultimately important not just for the reasons I’ve already mentioned, but because it allows security and compliance to become adaptive. Security also is not just about identity anymore; it is dependent on the IT consumer’s context! Should every app be available from every location? Should I be able to store data on any device? Should the intranet be accessible when I am not in a trusted location?