Strategies for Creating Tomorrow’s Workplace, Today

For decades, the tech industry has been burned by buying into equipment and technologies that became obsolete far too quickly. Knowing that’s a constant, how can you lessen the economic burden, and prepare for the ever changing demands, technology, and capabilities of your workforce? This was the topic du jour in a panel session titled: “Strategies for Creating Tomorrow’s Workplace, Today” at the VMworld 2012 conference in San Francisco.

On the panel were:

  • Bruce Scheer, President, Future Sight Consulting – Moderator
  • Yogesh Khanna, VP, Chief Technology Officer, CSC – IT Infrastructure and Cloud Leader
  • Nimesh Shah, VP, Global Portfolio Infrastructure Services, CSC – Workplace Champion
  • Vittorio Viarengo, VP, End User Computing, VMware, Inc. – Workplace Technologist

Here are some of the issues that came up during the discussion:

The Workforce Technologist Viewpoint

  • Business priorities have not changed since the beginning of time. You create revenue, gain competitive advantage, and beat your competitors to market.
  • Reality is we always have changing technology. The question is how effectively are you using it to achieve your business goals? That boils down to how do I make my workforce more productive?
  • We’ve moved from “anywhere, anytime” to “any tech.” We have multiple end devices and applications, plus users are realizing the consumerization of IT and can access any service they want.
  • Shah joked that everyone in the audience was doing something else other than listening to this panel discussion. He said you’re probably doing work. It’s expected that you can and will be multi-tasking.
  • We’ve moved from BYOD to BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). People are using Skype, Dropbox, social networking, and other tools and applications. We’ve moved beyond just devices. We used to worry about Internet browsing, then devices, now we’re worried about all the applications. How do you harness the creativity and energy and drive that? How do you negotiate that conversation for your workforce?
  • Users have a sense of technology. They’ve got a selfish attitude towards technology since they can do it themselves. They don’t need IT to do what they want to do.
  • Being good enough is paramount. If you can get 70-80 percent of the functionality at the fraction of the cost then that’s very appealing.
  • We barely have any rules left for communications. For example, the rules for video conferencing have completely broken down.
  • There’s a sense of frustration with technology. We constantly want connections and communications to be instantaneous. Though we have a swaying tolerance for technology. Expectations, however, are constantly increasing.
  • Are you OK with technology that’s “good enough” if it’s a fraction of the cost of top notch competition?
  • The question of tomorrow’s workforce is “How productive can you make people?”

Infrastructure Trends

  • Infrastructure is getting less and less interesting. It’s a race to the bottom and Amazon is leading the way? Who can offer truly rock bottom prices?
  • Shift from CapEx environment to an OpEx environment. Let the financial engineering be supplied by the service provider.
  • Our mindset of “long distance” has completely changed. It’s no longer a big deal. Infrastructure has become more boring. Who thinks about how the water comes out of the tap? We’ve gone from $5/minute for long distance to essentially free.

Game changing workplace technologies

  • Kids only care about the apps. They look at technology as stateless. Operating systems are irrelevant to them. Don’t think that any IT person will willingly upgrade to Windows 8. It’s going to be more of a mobile play.
  • Context sensitive environment – Marry our data with our location. How do you correlate where you are, where you’re going, all based on information about yourself? We have examples of this, but we want to go to the pervasive level.

Future of desktop virtualization

  • We’ve had ROI from virtual desktops even when the cost was considerably higher. A few years ago, the cost of releasing a virtual desktop was $1,400. Today we’re down to $150. Even when it was $1,400, many saw ROI because there where security reasons. Now with the lower cost those that don’t have severe security concerns can start seeing ROI.
  • How are you determining your ROI for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)? Is it just money or are you replacing other services or are you creating new collaboration capabilities?

Critical challenges for organizations

  • We’ve moved beyond the consumerization of IT to the democratization of IT. I get a vote! It’s not just IT that decides what services we use.

Related Links

Image: Man Looking at Computer from Bigstock

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