Workplace Delivery Platform
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Complexity Breeds Opportunity for a New Approach

The growth of consumerization and innovation around service-based delivery models have given rise to hybrid delivery environments spanning a number of platforms and devices. Many organizations continue to deploy and expand point solutions focused on addressing short-term, isolated needs without looking at the long-term picture. 

Compounding the current complexity of workplace delivery is the fact that these disparate solutions, often acquired through several vendors, are deployed via a local device, on-premises data center, or hosted in a private, public, or personal cloud (see Figure 4). These solutions lack unity and centralized management. As long as companies address individual use cases, point solutions will continue to have traction, forcing organizations to support, manage, provision, and secure exceedingly complex application and desktop environments rather than seeking out long-term business and IT strategies.

Figure 4. Current Complexity of Workplace Delivery
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While the IT vendor market remains hyper-focused on addressing one point at the expense of others, businesses still must consider a vast array of endpoint possibilities, application and desktop delivery models, as well as how to secure, maintain, and deliver a highly efficient and productive environment. In addition, businesses must also consider online file management solutions, collaboration tools, and unified communication strategies.

Focusing on a single endpoint strategy or delivery model to address an individual use case will only delay long-term success. Typically, these point solutions are independent of one another and thus fail to aggregate, making them increasingly difficult to orchestrate, resource, and manage. Since productive end-users have and will continue to consume multiple devices, IT must capture control, simplify management, and maintain security from within the data center.

Determining Appropriate Consumption Models

The proliferation of endpoint devices and delivery models are not the only factors affecting IT decision making regarding application and desktop delivery. Businesses must also consider a variety of consumption models. Along with continuing to manage locally installed applications and data, IT will need to address a number of other alternative consumption models currently being built into many IT strategies—ranging from colocation facilities to applications executed and managed in the public cloud. Successful high-performing companies will learn to select the delivery models that best align with their business processes based on considerations such as economics, risk mitigation, and end-user satisfaction.

The complexity created by the adoption of multiple endpoint devices combined with the rapid evolution of delivery and consumption models breeds a great opportunity for businesses to exponentially improve the way end-users “consume” a workspace. Businesses require a long-term unified computing strategy that centralizes IT management and control, and caters to the flexibility and freedom of choice that end-users desire. Though current delivery models fall short of that business demand, vendors have explicitly stated their intentions to innovate workplace delivery platforms that focus on the management and support of various delivery models and devices (see Figure 5). 

Figure 5. Innovative Workplace Delivery Platforms Centralize IT Management and Support Various Delivery Models and Devices
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A workplace delivery platform is a unified set of strategies that enable businesses to aggregate delivery models, centralize management and security, and flexibly support various endpoint devices. From the IT perspective, workplace delivery platforms vastly alleviate the complexity associated with managing desktop and application environments on a case-by-case, and device-by-device basis.

The advantages for end-users are significant:

Improved accessibility

Flexibility

Overall simplicity 

For example, rather than requiring multiple sign-ons for each application or device, workplace delivery platforms are being developed to include a common policy for authentication and access control. As a result, end-users can sign-on just once, accessing all of their applications without having to contend with cumbersome processes associated with launching isolated applications in a hybrid delivery environment.

While taking into account the proliferation of endpoints, vendors are readily expanding the breadth of devices that they support within their workplace delivery strategies. Rather than just focusing on traditional PCs, burgeoning user demand has forced organizations to support alternative endpoint devices, tablets, smartphones, and thin clients, which is being reflected in vendor innovation. The result is that employees and customers will be able to access their applications and desktops ubiquitously on any device of their choosing.

By federating application and desktop environments within a single interface and simplifying both end-user access and IT management, a workplace delivery platform creates a user-centric computing model that improves business processes and user productivity.

Workplace Delivery Strategy

An effective workplace delivery strategy begins with:

Users: Segment users based on their roles and responsibilities through a common access and identity platform. Consider both your current user base as well as any planned or potential new roles.

Devices: Devices should not dictate a strategy, but IT should maintain an inventory of current, planned, and future device options. Revisit your device support policy and determine how, if, and when you will modify and enhance device support. The workplace delivery platform should be able to adopt to any device.

Application and desktop delivery models: Create a list of current, planned, and future application and delivery models. Map the delivery models to a timeline that is targeted to the user segmentation.

IT consumption models: Determine the prevailing IT consumption models in your organization, how they are used, and their benefits and challenges. Collaborate as a team to determine the adoption cadence of alternative consumption models that align with the strategic direction of the company.

Upon discovery of these items, you will start to assimilate the relationship between device adoption and delivery models, as well as factor in how and where your business will consume. As the strategy quickly evolves, the next area of consideration is policy and management. Consider these key factors:

Common policy creation and enforcement

Centralized security

Extensibility

User centricity

Shared identity and authentication

Seamless integration of devices and applications

Orchestration and dynamic workflow

License tracking

Analytics and reporting

Help desk/self help

Context Awareness

There are certain scenarios you will want to walk through as you build your strategy. Begin by thinking about context awareness. How will you consistently, predictably, and reliably deliver an application across multiple devices and networks? If the application requires the use of a mouse and keyboard when accessing the application on a laptop or desktop, and end-users expect it, how will that experience change when they access the same application on a smartphone? Sometimes the answer is simple, but much of the time it involves a careful walkthrough of how, when, and where a user will access an application. You may choose to restrict or, depending on the use case, limit access and application functionality based on device type and location. The most important factor to keep in mind is how you are going to track and manage these policies, in addition to the other delivery models you already have in place.