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Mobility is Driving a Change in Desktop and Application Delivery Trends

The desktop and application delivery market has experienced tremendous change over the past several years, affecting organizations’ mobility strategies. A wide range of new solutions, devices, and service-based delivery models have proliferated and evolved. This “consumerization of IT” has resulted in a plethora of alternative endpoint devices flooding the corporate landscape. Today’s knowledge worker no longer consumes information solely on a single company-issued device, but rather on a combination of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and thin clients.

Given that, organizations are increasingly embracing a variety of alternative desktop and application delivery models, which often use a combination of software-as-a-service (SaaS), Web-based, and mobile applications for their flexibility, convenience, and ability to scale on demand.

Lying at the heart of these alternative desktop and application delivery models is something that can be characterized as a business goal as much as it is an IT headache—namely, the need to meet end-user demand for convenient and reliable access to applications and IT services from any location via any number of devices. 

Previously conducted ESG research found that end-user demand for alternative devices was cited by 44% of respondents as a factor responsible for the changing profile of endpoint device usage among those organizations surveyed. 

While these alternative delivery models are more user-centric, they are also more challenging for IT to manage and keep secure. How? Traditional, manual methods used for supporting, managing, and securing these alternative endpoints on a device-by-device basis—along with numerous and disparate operating systems—are rapidly exhausting IT resources and rendering tactical IT approaches untenable. Without automated processes to monitor, manage, assess, and remediate prospective threats and suspicious or malicious behavior on the network, the enterprise is left virtually unprotected.

In tactical-focused, hybrid delivery environments, (where a hybrid delivery environment is defined as a combination of traditional, private, and public cloud environments), policies and settings across endpoints and application delivery models fail to propagate. In this scenario, disparate applications and systems live in their own silos, and don’t “talk” to one another. Not only does this create a significant gap in network security, but it also creates a significant gap between business objectives and IT objectives. 

While alternative delivery models may allow IT to plug holes and address short-term tactical requirements, a long-term, strategic solution for managing applications and IT services, and how they are delivered to end-users, suffers in the long run. 

1Source: ESG Research Report, Mobile Device and Application Usage Trends, August 2013.

The Transition from a Locked-down Environment to a User-centric Environment

With the transition from a “locked-down” corporate end-user environment (information is delivered from the data center to the endpoint), to a user-centric common access and identity model (applications are user-driven and installed on demand), IT professionals are confronted with multiple challenges. They include:

Meeting end-user expectations.

Improving business processes.

Meeting mobility initiative requirements.

To reduce IT complexity while catering to the tractability of a flexible, self-service approach demanded by end-users, the industry requires a unified approach that aggregates delivery models, centralizes management and security, and supports a wide variety of endpoint devices. ESG defines this unified approach as Workplace Delivery Platform. 

Though current delivery models fall short of this business demand, a growing number of vendors have stated their intentions to innovate workplace delivery platforms that focus on the management and support of various delivery models and devices.

This report addresses:

The market status of workplace delivery today, and related issues challenging IT.  

The workplace delivery platform, what it is, and how it addresses the IT security conundrum of securing corporate access while improving the end-user experience.

The current, planned, and future market vision and transition strategies.