Transforming end user computing with Workspace as a Service

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Typically when I meet with my colleagues and peers in the industry there will be a range of tablets, laptops and smartphones around the table. It is automatically expected that we can access the information we need immediately and is just another example I see of how accessing business applications and data has changed beyond recognition. At Colt we recognised this a while ago and understood that our employees are not just interested in using the latest Apple device. Instead they want a choice of options for accessing our business applications and data anytime, from anywhere using multiple devices. Some prefer to use a personal computer at home and a tablet on the move, others prefer to stick with the corporate laptop. It is more about being able to access information at that critical point in time so they can be more productive. And recent research backs this up with Ovum stating that over 55% of full-time employees access corporate data from a personally owned smartphone or tablet. Equally, Forrester Research, Inc. reports that 29% of the global workforce use three or more devices, work from multiple locations and use numerous applications1. Remember when BYOD was just talked about as a nice idea? Now, alongside mobility, it is high up the CIO’s agenda of things to deliver. In fact, Gartner expects that half of enterprises will want their employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2016 and 39% of employees said they would consider leaving if they couldn’t use their own device at work. This thinking has been high on our agenda for a long time. We started an Office of the Future project in 2009 at Colt and now have over 2000 employees accessing their “workspace” via VDI across different devices. This helps us enable choice for our staff, providing access simply and securely, whilst helping to simplify IT management and security. Having successfully rolled out a VMware based VDI service internally, we then began developing the service for our customers. This month we announced the 25% savings achieved by Hammersmith & Fulham Council in the UK. One of the key success factors for any Workspace as a Service project is a great user experience that results in user acceptance. At Hammersmith & Fulham Council, satisfaction amongst their workers with the new VDI service spread through word of mouth, driving demand from other departments as the project was rolled out. In what seems a busy Q1 already we have now launched our Workspace as a Service solution across Europe. The service is based on per seat pricing, helping to reduce and control costs whilst providing the IT department with the ability to easily scale up or down. The service also ensures a consistent user experience on smartphones, tablets and PCs. Having developed the reference architectures for existing customer projects, Colt can now rapidly deliver pilots to demonstrate how the service will work for each customer. Something that they expect and quite rightly demand. Our own datacentre network footprint across Europe also ensures continuous availability and low latency connectivity to deliver the end-to-end performance of customers’ workspace solutions. With the technology expectations of employees growing, organisations expect their service providers to be able to provide new services and offerings that exceed their needs. At the same time they need to address the commercial, technology and service barriers that also exist. With Workspace as a Service we feel at Colt that we are doing just that. We are helping organisations to deliver modern IT services for today’s increasingly demanding and mobile workforce, and giving CIOs the freedom to concentrate on delivering business objectives, rather than managing technology. Additional information on Colt´s Workspace as a Service can be found HERE.

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