End-User Computing Evolution and Its Impact to Information Technology

As organisations embrace end-user computing (EUC), the term workplace is no longer viewed as specific locations where workers are supposed to do their jobs. It takes a brand new meaning as many people now own devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops that provide them access to data anywhere at any time. Workers can choose how, when and where they access and consume enterprise data, and perform their work.

What EUC means

According to TechTarget, EUC refers to the technologies that IT professionals use to deploy, manage and secure the devices, applications and data that workers require to perform their jobs.

The major components of EUC are physical desktop computing, virtual desktop computing and mobile computing. Each component involves several different technologies. VDI or virtual desktop infrastructure, for instance, is an example of the technologies that come into play. VDI allows organisations to run or interact desktop OS on a centralised server in a data centre. DaaS or Desktop as a service is another. It works similar with VDI but only in the cloud. More discussion about these technologies in the succeeding blog posts.

EUC also covers the technologies that IT uses to provide access to these resources such as Windows management, enterprise mobility management software, desktop and application virtualisation platform, and enterprise file sync-and-share services.

Workplace shift

The availability of wireless broadband, smartphones and cloud technology plus the desire for more work flexibility especially among many of the younger generation revolutionize how people work. It all changes how we define workplace.

This workplace shift, which is also known as IT consumerisation, brings new complexities and challenges to IT.

Gartner explains that consumerisation is the specific impact that consumer-originated technologies can have on enterprises. It reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise IT sector.

This trend devolves the computing power from a centralised IT management to the end-users.

Part of this IT consumerisation trend is BYOD or bring your own device wherein employees bring their own devices to work like smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Tasks like hardware and software acquisition and support are shifted from IT to employees. IT’s new role is more on the data layer.

EUC evolution

Back in the 90’s, IT commands the workplace in terms of the applications and devices to be used. They configured hardware and software to ease support. IT support then was focused on networking, hardware maintenance, PC email support and software installations.

Fast forward today, as IT consumerisation takes a foothold in the organisations, EUC radically changed how corporate IT works. EUC is beneficial to companies but it opens companies to new risks, which requires IT departments to reassess and amplify security on the data level.

Impact of BYOD to IT and the organisation

Organisations that have adapted consumerisation are reaping numerous benefits. But along with the rewards are greater responsibilities.

It is important that CIO understand all the challenges of BYOD and its impact to IT and the organisation. The decisions and steps the CIO make greatly influence enterprise IT and user experience.

  1. Augmentation of IT skills

Since EUC paves the devolution of some IT tasks to employees, this allows enterprise to restructure the IT department and function in a smaller IT support team. However, it calls for the augmentation of skills especially in the areas of data management, analytics and security.

With some tasks devolved to employees, the IT department focuses more on data security, data management, and server and cloud infrastructure.

IT also needs to expand its capability in providing collaborative environment and tools, and app development to support various devices being used.

  1. Reduction of CAPEX but increase in operating expenses

BYOD means savings to the company in terms of capital expenditures (CAPEX) on hardware and software. However, this trend brings an expectation of reward to employees who bring or use their technologies for work. This translates to increase in salary hence, increase in operating expense.

  1. Protection of the IT infrastructure from new risks.

IT consumerisation opens the organisation to new risks. CIO must understand the current IT environment and consider all the risks possible.

IT should take proactive approach in dealing with risks.  Appropriate security measures must be implemented to protect enterprise IT infrastructure and data.

Policies on employee obligations and accountability must be reviewed and adjusted accordingly. These must be discussed properly to all employees. Organisation also needs to conduct continuous learning on security threats and risks mitigation.

Processes may need to be standardised or revised to consider legal and technical aspects for compliance.

End-user computing support

 

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