Two days ago I had an interview with the Head of End User and Desktop Services of a global pharmaceutical company. He mentioned that he's working through Windows 8, VDI, BYO and other key initiatives facing IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals.
There are very few companies in technology who truly understand that "consumers" and workers are the same *people*. Citrix is one of them. Consumers are consumers because they have jobs, and they get out of bed in the morning to go to a place where they earn money in exchange for their time and work to further their employers' objectives. It really is that simple. Yet most tech companies pay lip service to "consumers" while they target most of their resources on the stated needs of enterprise IT, and the implications of this abstraction are profound.
Citrix lives for achieving the conflicting goals of employee freedom and IT comfort
I believe Citrix understands this and while their POs usually come from enterprise IT, their vision and purpose as a business are to meet the needs of workers in their daily lives. But how? For one thing, this is a business where nuances are important. Precisely where technology providers draw lines between employee needs and IT needs determines whether employees will embrace it or reject it, but we also believe it goes much further. When a person reaches an artificial barrier, or seemingly arbitrary "policy" gets in the way of what they see as their good, honest attempt to get hard work done, their next thought might just be: How stupid do they think I am? Don't they trust me? And so goes the path of building frustration and draining trust out of the organization as a direct result of poor workforce computing strategy and choices, followed by enormous time and energy spent getting around the barriers.
CEO Mark Templeton describes what exceptional IT leadership looks like
Amazon announced today that its Kindle Fire HD tablet offerings will rocket from availability in just seven markets (U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Japan) to 170+ countries in mid-June. The 7” and 8.9” Amazon Kindle Fire HD models have enjoyed great success in the consumer market, as Forrester predicted they would even before the first device was released in November, 2011.
The move to expand geographically makes sense, as Amazon continues to capitalize on its core strength – its content + device + services value proposition – in consumer markets. Perhaps less obviously, though, Kindle Fire HD has turned out to be something of a stealth competitor in the bring-your-own-device (BYO) space.
In a survey of information workers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, and Germany – fielded from February to April 2013 – we found that, among those who say they use a tablet at least weekly for work:
It’s (long past) time to put the era of One Size Fits All enterprise computing behind us. Providing workers with Standard Issue™ devices and software represents an antiquated paradigm. Instead, segmenting your workforce into different classes of workers – honoring the needs of each type of worker – can help you:
Save money. Overinvesting in computing power by giving a worker “too much machine” and over-investing in software licenses for applications that won’t be used are common implications of One Size Fits All enterprise computing. You can save money by provisioning appropriate hardware and software to various classes of workers.
Preempt BYO. While IT departments are coming around to the virtues and values of BYO, managing excessively diverse BYO comes with management costs. You can preempt some types of BYO by providing the right tool to the right worker at the right time… obviating the need for them to bring their own.
Drive worker productivity and innovation. Innovations like tablets and Chromebooks can empower certain classes of workers to achieve new levels of productivity. Providing the right worker – for example, a traveling salesperson – with a tablet can enable new scenarios and create tangible returns.
VMware pulled back the curtain on its vCloud Hybrid Service today. The concept of a hybrid cloud isn't new, but there are as many definitions of it as there are for cloud itself. Indeed, the beauty of cloud really is in the eye of the beholder, and it's important to align beauty with its beholders. Forrester defines hybrid cloud as a cloud service connected to any other corporate resource. That means most enterprises are hybrid today - if you have at least one SaaS app connected to anything in your data center, you're hybrid.
Today, VMware set out its definition of hybrid: An extension of the virtualized corporate data center. The beholders here are the infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams who've spent years virtualizing and optimizing a range of corporate apps. These pros haven't been the main drivers of public cloud in the enterprise so far; business-unit-aligned developers have. And the tension between the two is growing. Developers want to build faster, deploy quickly, and forget about infrastructure management, so they start with public cloud: cheap, fast, and easy. But I&O teams want to drive more value and efficiency from existing infrastructure by selectively moving apps (or the scalable parts of apps) off premises to take advantage of cloud’s elasticity and pay-per-use economics. They look at cloud as an extension of the corporate data center, and the vCloud Hybrid Service is designed for them first. Both perspectives make sense and both approaches to cloud can drive value.
One of the best TV comedies in the UK over the last couple of years has been The IT Crowd. It is about a fictional IT department and plays to all the possible IT stereotypes. One of my favorite scenes is from the very first episode in which a ‘user’ is left waiting for their call to be answered for an excruciating amount of time and then another ‘IT professional’ is shown speaking to a ‘user’ in complete technology gobbledygook. Yes, this clip is funny but surely these are all extreme cases and only slim comparisons can be made to Enterprise IT today?
I have to be honest here and say that during my time as an enterprise management consultant I saw all that happened on this clip, but surely modern day IT organizations don’t suffer from these problems? Well, maybe not to the same extent but how often have you heard, or even whispered, these famous words when working with the IT service desk or help desk:
Background — High Performance Attached Processors Handicapped By Architecture
The application of high-performance accelerators, notably GPUs, GPGPUs (APUs in AMD terminology) to a variety of computing problems has blossomed over the last decade, resulting in ever more affordable compute power for both horizon and mundane problems, along with growing revenue streams for a growing industry ecosystem. Adding heat to an already active mix, Intel’s Xeon Phi accelerators, the most recent addition to the GPU ecosystem, have the potential to speed adoption even further due to hoped-for synergies generated by the immense universe of x86 code that could potentially run on the Xeon Phi cores.
However, despite any potential synergies, GPUs (I will use this term generically to refer to all forms of these attached accelerators as they currently exist in the market) suffer from a fundamental architectural problem — they are very distant, in terms of latency, from the main scalar system memory and are not part of the coherent memory domain. This in turn has major impacts on performance, cost, design of the GPUs, and the structure of the algorithms:
Performance — The latency for memory accesses generally dictated by PCIe latencies, which while much improved over previous generations, are a factor of 100 or more longer than latency from coherent cache or local scalar CPU memory. While clever design and programming, such as overlapping and buffering multiple transfers can hide the latency in a series of transfers, it is difficult to hide the latency for an initial block of data. Even AMD’s integrated APUs, in which the GPU elements are on a common die, do not share a common memory space, and explicit transfers are made in and out of the APU memory.
What do the top 3% of IT leaders know about workforce computing that you don’t? When will (or won’t) Windows 8 hit critical mass in enterprises? What about software-defined data centers and networks? How can IT support the mobile shopper?
If you’re an IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professional looking for answers, read below. While I like to believe that www.forrester.com and this blog are your only two sources of information (wink, wink), I’ve handpicked advice and point of view from Forrester analysts quoted over the last two weeks in the The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, National Public Radio, InformationWeek, ZDNet, CIO, Computerworld, and others.
Some articles are very relevant for I&O leaders to act on (e.g.,workforce enablement, Windows 8, software-defined data centers, private cloud), while others offer important marketing and strategy insights for I&O leaders to be aware of (e.g., mobile shoppers, Google Glass, customer intelligence).
Is this useful? Let me know in the comment field below.
Thanks and enjoy your weekend,
Very Relevant Business Technology News For I&O Leaders:
EMC's Project Bourne morphed into ViPR at the EMC World 2013 event at Las Vegas last week. It seems like everyone has a different take on what should be included in SDS, and my definition and implementation guidelines can be found in this report. Like other vendors, EMC is promising to revolutionize the way customers will provision, manage and create storage resources using ViPR, which will become a key component in the vendor's Software Defined Data Center strategy for virtualizing compute, networking, and storage resources. Unlike other years, where EMC bombarded its attendees with dozens of product launches, this year's show focused almost entirely on ViPR, which makes sense given the importance of this technology. ViPR is expected to become generally available in the latter half of 2013, and like all other SDS implementations, ViPR is designed to reduce the number of administrators it takes to manage rapidly growing data repositories by using automation and self-service provisioning. So what's under ViPR's covers?
When you hear the words “end user computing”, what do you think of? If you’re in infrastructure & operations (I&O), you might think about the corporate standard laptop or desktop you’ve just selected that over the next couple of years you’ll provision to most of your employees. Or your corporate standard OS image that you stamp on those systems; locked-down, loaded with the management & security agents and corporate apps you think those employees need. Or perhaps even the corporate standard smartphone that you’ve handed out to the employees who needed mobile email access. You might think of these things because they all help I&O organizations deliver and support technology for employees more efficiently. These techniques help you address the historical “ask” from your colleagues outside of IT: “Give us technology while absolutely minimizing the impact you have on our bottom line”