Becoming increasingly apparent is that the world of IT is dramatically, perhaps fundamentally changing, with end-user computing experiences also being affected. And apps are leading the charge.
Arthur Dell, director of technology and service at Citrix explained that for a generation or more, IT has thought about end-user computing in terms of a Microsoft Windows desktop. He noted that if you ask people what really matters to them now, you’ll hear them talk about the applications they rely on to get their work done.
“As the types of apps in the enterprise continue to diversify– Windows, web, mobile, and Software as a Service (SaaS), along with the devices people use for work, the desktop no longer singularly defines user experience. For IT, the challenge now is to deliver the apps people need, where they need them, while maintaining security and control, regardless of app type, device or location,” he stressed.
Dell asserted that while Windows will continue to be the dominant platform, focusing too narrowly on the traditional desktop paradigm risks overlooking a fundamental change in the way people are using apps.
According to a recent Citrix survey, conducted from 733 customers across the globe, 64% of the apps in their enterprises today are Windows-based; 20% are web or HTML5; 10% as SaaS; while only 6% were found to be mobile. This though is expected to change within the year. The share of Windows apps are predicted to drop 54% while Web/ HMTL5 apps and SaaS will rise to 23% and 14%. Mobile apps are then expected to grow by 3% up to 9%.
Furthermore, it seems as though digital natives are the driving force behind this shift. Dell elaborated that for these users, a desktop is one kind of workspace. Moreover, he stressed that increasingly, the new way of working is characterised by “a mobile workspace that securely delivers apps, desktops, files and services to the user on any device from which they choose to work, and over any network.” Dell noted that in a multi-device mobile world, businesses need to be able to securely deliver apps of all kinds across a variety of devices.
Enterprise-ready, but consumer-like
Not to be underestimated is the role mobility still plays as one of the main drivers of IT, particularly as users bring consumer- grade apps into the enterprise to compensate for the lack of IT-issued, enterprise-ready mobile apps. Dell pointed out that while native mobile email clients and web browsers; file sharing services like Dropbox; and mobile calendaring apps, all serve important user needs, they also invite security breaches and complicate life for IT. He stressed that whether through in-house development or a third-party vendor, IT needs to provide sanctioned, enterprise-ready alternatives to consumer-grade mobile apps.
To succeed, these apps have to pass the toughest test of all: user acceptance. This can be achieved by providing business-oriented features beyond the scope of a consumer app or service, such as the ability to add an attachment to a meeting invitation or join a meeting right from the calendar request. Equally important, though, the app has to offer the consumer-like experiences people are familiar with, and not require them to adapt to a different look-and-feel from the iOS or Android apps they’ve been using, Dell concluded.