Cisco announced today a five-year strategic alliance with Citrix in the desktop virtualization space. As a first outcome of their new alliance, Cisco WAAS will be optimized for Citrix XenDesktop. It’s designed to improve the end-user experience such that it has “LAN-like” performance. This translates into the capability of a more rich Unified Communication experience—HD quality video, faster print jobs, and improved app performance. Rather than buying several products to get this done, this is nicely packaged as one solution for virtual and physical desktops.
What does this mean for Sourcing and Vendor Management (SVM) professionals and what can you do?
1. If your organization isn’t looking at this, it will be forced to within your next refresh cycle. While Desktop Virtualization has been around for years, it’s more recently been attracting enterprise customers at a very robust growth rate. Most resellers I’ve spoken to enjoy double digit semi-annual growth rates as high as 40% in inquiries and many of them include desktop virtualization on tablets. At this stage, most companies are still in education mode, but adoption appears to be steadily increasing. If you’re not working on it right now, spend the time to get educated on the various flavors and the elements of the project that lead to savings for your organization. ROI will vary from company to company due to the varying desktop environments.
Mobile video solutions are riding a wave of demand from technology-centric information workers to help keep them connected in today’s geographically distributed, frenetically paced workplace. Many workers are bringing their own devices (and video communications applications) to work today. Resourceful information workers use video communications solutions that they have used in their consumer life to help them succeed at work. I have spoken to a bank that uses Skype on Internet-connected TVs to hold internal video meetings to reach executive consensus in the decision-making process, and to system integrators that use FaceTime to contact on-site teams to improve response time and communications clarity when resolving issues. Several Forrester clients have shared that they are uncomfortable using consumer video solutions for business purposes — citing the need for compliance and security. Video conferencing vendors have taken note and are working to ease adoption of their business-grade solutions — two recent examples leverage the popularity of tablets with technology-centric information workers.
Polycom and Vidyo have announced tablet-ready versions of their personal video portfolios recently — and their applications are available in the Android Market and Apple AppStore today. Avaya* and Cisco** have also launched tablet-powered video communications solutions. Both offer the option of delivering video on their own end point devices to optimize all forms of unified communications on a tablet. These solutions bring business-grade video conferencing to increasingly popular tablet platforms like the Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy — delivering slick, engaging video experiences as seen in this photo.
I'm thrilled that Sona Chawla will be a keynote speaker at Forrester's Consumer Forum in just over three weeks! As the President of e-Commerce, Sona oversees operations and leads the team responsible for building the sales, service and customer experience of Walgreens.com and drugstore.com (acquired in June 2011). This includes driving store traffic through the Web, growing online profitability, and the development of new product and service offerings via emerging digital touchpoints such as mobile.
Earlier today, Sona provided me with a sneak peek of her upcoming presentation for our forum "110 Years Of Agility: Continuing Our Evolution To Meet Customer Demands" and all I can say is that it's not to be missed! I don't want to reveal too much and spoil it, but Sona will touch on the dynamic forces at play within healthcare and retail that are driving Walgreens' digital transformation, the framework they are utilizing to enable that transformation, and finally what Walgreens sees for the future. And of course throughout the discussion Sona will have key lessons learned and advice for firms across industries going through similar transformations.
I do however want to share with you Sona's responses to some questions we asked her in advance of the event. Her thoughts demonstrate the growing importance (and let's not forget the financial benefits) of serving customers across touchpoints with innovative, digital products and services.