Do you really need a desktop? Three trends driving change in the modern digital workplace

By | 2 minute read | May 4, 2019

This won’t be news to you, but I’ll say it anyway: the idea of a “standard” workplace is changing. Employees are increasingly using more than one device to accomplish their work, often from multiple locations and using a variety of cloud services and applications. To do more than just keep up, it’s important to examine trends that are shaping the modern digital workplace.

Trend #1: A great leap to the cloud

It seems like the entire industry is in a rush to get to cloud these days, but there are a lot of things that go hand in hand with that move. Your network needs to be bigger in order to support more people using virtualized instances, where before everything was self-contained on a desktop. You’re changing the dynamic of what it means to deliver access and apps and data. Moving to cloud is like squeezing a balloon. You’re shifting around the same infrastructure and delivery elements you have always used; if your network can’t stretch accordingly, it might pop. Having a clear roadmap for your cloud migration and workplace modernization is a major differentiator between success and failure.

Trend #2: Modernize computing environments

Previously, this trend centered around the move toward virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). But VDI was really just a stepping stone to apps. Now it’s all about the digital workplace strategy, about apps and data and less about a desktop, an OS or an endpoint.

From a virtualization perspective, this can be a difficult shift for IT. There’s a lot of change going on with what needs to be secured, how to secure it and what’s covered in mobility. Gone are the days of just securing a laptop and providing deskside support, with users opting for thin clients, tablets or phones to do their jobs. It’s easy to forget that it’s still the same people who have to manage all those changes; they just have the more complex job of defining what a user can access, where they can access it, how they can access it…

Trend #3: Optimize user experience

The future of the digital workplace is an approach that focuses on user experience. Rather than giving every user the same mode of working, the long-term view asks IT to deliver the access a user needs based on their role. Define the user’s identity and say “OK, here are the accesses you need to do your job. Here are the apps you need and, based on the device you’re using, here are the apps and access that go along with it.”

Which begs the question: Is the standard desktop workstation even necessary?

For some roles, like developers, the answer is yes. But many other folks in the enterprise continue to use a desktop out of familiarity rather than necessity. A unified platform, such as VMware Workspace One, creates a level of identity and security defined by enterprise standards but doesn’t prevent users from bringing their own devices—they just have to come through the portal, a secure gateway, where they define who they are and provide the appropriate credentials.

Innovative new technologies make it possible to optimize your user experience and modernize your computing environment in the cloud. Something that before might have been slow and clunky with the virtual desktop becomes better or on par with what users are used to from a laptop — and when you reach that point, you’ll know you’ve done it right.

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