On April 8th the deadline passed for Microsoft support of Windows XP. We have all known about this for some time, but for those businesses that have been putting off migrating away from the venerable operating system, this does provide an opportunity to consider their overall plans for the future of desktops and desktop management. Especially as many also have to deal with the shift towards flexible, mobile working. Microsoft’s recent launch of Office for iPad highlights how even operating system vendors are having to react to these changing expectations.The changing IT landscapeUp until very recently, the majority of us had standard issue desktops, updated, refreshed and maintained by the IT team. Now employees expect to be able to access business information anytime, anywhere from multiple devices – many of their own choosing.The growing demand for mobility and BYOD (bring your own device) poses a challenge for the IT department, which has to balance giving remote access to applications while providing a consistent user experience, and ensuring data is secure and management costs low. Phasing out legacy software such as XP is just one symptom in the growing problem of managing and enabling workforce flexibility.Many of our customers are looking at the workspace-a-service (WaaS) model to enable them to provide the flexibility and mobility that users want. This approach allows flexibility in addressing user needs whilst also enabling organisations to reduce costs, keep employees happy and maintain a secure IT environment. However, the “as-a-service element” becomes the key element in delivering on the promise of the right workspace to the appropriate user at the right cost.From ‘Tech Support’ to Service ProviderIt’s clear that with the consumerisation of IT, and rapidly developing expectations of the workforce, IT departments must evolve to be much more than maintenance and support teams; they are responsible for helping the business transform. The position of the IT department is moving inexorably towards one of a service broker or internal IT expert. It is moving away from the ‘command and control’ mentality of years gone by to now work more collaboratively with users to understand how they want to work and to be more productive. Perhaps the passing of XP should also be celebrated as the marker to the passing of the “desktop”: standardised, controlled and locked down. Welcome to the new world of Workspace.This blog was first published on Enterprise Apps Tech – you can read it here.
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