Enterprise challenges this year: is everyone a service provider?

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Steve Hughes discusses key trends affecting enterprises this year and his predictions for the remainder of the yearThe second month of 2014 is well underway, and besides signifying the success or failure of our New Year’s resolutions, it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on key trends for the rest of the year. It’s clear that the application of some technologies will have a tangible impact on business decisions and the way enterprise works, but which will feature most prominently? Virtual Workspace reaches the mainstreamThere’s no doubt that the stars are finally aligning when it comes to BYOD (bring your own device). There’s now widespread technical and commercial acceptance of BYOD within the enterprise, its many issues – security software licensing, tech support and so forth – have largely been addressed and it’s now commonly supported. According to Infonetics Research, almost two thirds of enterprises now allow their employees to use their own devices. One significant consequence of this is that we will start to see more virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and virtual desktop-as-a-service rolled out in the coming 12 months.Be prepared: Data Security will hit the news againData security, or more specifically sovereignty – the issue of where data resides and the risks and responsibilities associated with this – is an issue that isn’t going away any time soon. The European Commission has been considering standards and legislation on cloud computing. Those standards relate to data security, interoperability and data portability. This will have an impact on enterprises and service providers – as they interpret what impact proposals will have on their IT infrastructure and services – and the timeframes. While its aims are laudable, in that it wants the European Union to be a world leading market in data security and protection, the Commission has an interesting track record in legislating to control and influence IT developments. Also, we must add the global dimension, as this can’t be considered as a purely European market issue.Expect more stories to break on data privacy and protection and expect more questions to be asked within your organisation about risk and security management. Make sure you are reviewing your security position and taking advantage of the full range of security services available.Data, Data EverywhereData storage is a returning and growing problem. With the increasing business focus on data analytics and previous-mentioned security issues, enterprise lines of business managers will be looking much more closely at performance and management of data storage in order to give them the edge in an increasingly information driven economy.One important development in this area is the adoption of solid state technology to give enterprises the dial up/dial down capability for storage performance. Colt has recently launched a performance guaranteed shared storage service which we know will resonate with these customers’ needs in the coming months.Everyone is a Service Provider nowBuilding is out, consuming and providing services is in. More and more, we see enterprise IT departments acting as an internal service provider for their organisations. However, we are also seeing that the virtualisation project approach that proved successful in the past is not enough to deliver the transformation needed to move to this as-a-service or broker model. No one should underestimate the change in culture and approach needed to pull this off. What is clear is that a sort of hybrid service model is here to stay and will evolve, far beyond private/public cloud technical discussions. The hybrid model is not only about management across internal and external platforms; finding the best execution location for applications; agility and flexibility – it is also about learning from technology and service provider partners and extending capability and resources beyond your own enterprise. At Colt, we are seeing our most successful customer engagements developing from an approach to learn-from-each other. The remainder of 2014 will be challenging for all businesses but by building strong relationships and making use of the expertise available beyond our own organisations we will be able to meet these challenges head on.

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