Simplifying the industry

In the words of our friends from Redmond, this is a “Call to Arms”. Every industry on the planet has “Standards”; no-one admits to liking them, but deep down there is a comfort to be had knowing they are there and that we can lean on them when needed. If you’re like me, you may even go to great lengths to tread the line between precise documentation and unnecessary complication when it comes to documentation of this ilk. BUT…we have a chance, an opportunity, a small window of hope in our world, that our “Standards” can be significantly simplified. This is my “Call to Arms”. The advent of Application Virtualisation technology presents us with the opportunity to take all the Standards we’ve been using with MSIs for years & years….and throw them out! Well most of them at least. We still need some of them of course, but when you look at both technologies and compare what is “absolutely necessary”, very little survives this technology transition. Naming conventions are important, look & feel equally so, comments and exceptions of course get to stay…but honestly, how much more do we really need? There will (needless to say) be Standards required in your enterprise that are specific to you and justified entirely, but they really should be very limited and when looked at dispassionately, much smaller than their MSI equivalents. So this is my “Call to Arms”, lets Simplify the Industry and move forward with a cut down, stripped out, optimised for the technology set of Standards for Application Virtualisation.

Making sense of your data

I’ve always been interested in maps and informational graphics.  Probably due to an unhealthy adherence and belief in the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words. There aren’t many times when that adage is true but boy when it is – the results are spectacular. For example Minard’s 1869 graphic on Napoleon’s 1812 Invasion of Russia has been cited as “..the best statistical graphic ever drawn”. The graph/map is so simple to understand, and conveys so much brutal and frightening data in such an intuitive format that it is hard not to be moved by it. In simple, cold, names and numbers the folly of war is exposed majestically. It would be interesting to find out what Minard would have been able to achieve and convey using the computing power and visualisation options available to us nowadays. The problem he would have is not representing data; we know he has the knack! The problem and challenge now, and more than ever, is to increase the Signal/Noise ratio to present appropriate and relevant data. This quality and validity of data is a constantly reoccurring challenge within the world of IT – and one that is especially resonant in the world of Software Asset Management and Application Logistics. The abundance of application data and data sources can sometimes be a hindrance to the efficient categorisation, cataloguing, and transparency of actual software usage within an organisation. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised upon joining Camwood to learn of the innovative approach taken to Application Rationalisation. Not only is sense brought into the chaotic world of application usage, but it also comes with some pretty cool and informative graphics! It may not be a Minard Map, but it is very very useful and impressively clever. To learn more about how Camwood can help organisations make sense of their application usage data please look at our Application Rationalisation service. To learn more about the Minard Map click here

Diversity in the workplace

Diversity is growing in more ways than you may think. Having spent a considerable amount of time talking to fellow Microsoft partners out at WPC it is apparent that the end user space is in for an interesting transformation. This transformation is the move from device centric standardised solutions to the delivery of truly diversified end user services. Diversification is coming in many forms, but it is primarily device, generation and habit orientated. Device diversification is the most easily recognisable, owing a great deal to consumerisation and the mass adoption of desirable shiny objects with a fruit based logo. The greatest adopters being C-Level executives, demanding to be able to use the latest and greatest. This has been recognised in “Camp MS” by their flagship application/image delivery platform SCCM becoming apple aware. Citrix have been long advocates of delivering windows based applications to non-windows devices, but have really stepped up to the plate by providing Citrix Receiver on android and iOS operating systems. Generational diversification was in the spotlight more than ever, as millennials (Gen Y) workers start to become more prevalent within the workforce. This, is combined with an increasing retirement age, will mean that by 2020 the workforce will consist of 5 generations working side by side. This mix of technology natives and migrants will push IT Groups to embrace a myriad of new technology whilst continue supporting in situ applications and services. But of all workspace trends, habitual diversification is becoming the greatest challenge and opportunity for enterprises during these austere times. Employees are being challenged to be innovative whilst being encouraged to be thrifty with company expenses. This is driving intelligent and opportunistic working practises that can only be achieved by the adoption of well managed end user services. Those services being delivered, a mix of existing local installed, cached, streamed and published applications delivered in a manor appropriate for each individual use case. The good news is that diversification does not necessarily mean additional complexity and cost. Microsoft and its partner ecosystem has recognised these opportunities and have provided a robust framework of tools to ensure that these requirements drive greater efficiencies within the workplace through single image and user centric management. Camwood views an organisation’s move to Windows 7 as an opportunity to strategically prepare for more interesting times ahead.

Camwood at Microsoft WPC 2011

It’s a wrap – Microsoft WPC 2011 has finally come to a close and many weary partners from across the globe are returning to their day jobs. It’s been a hugely informative week for all those who attended – who’ll no doubt now be tasked with updating their work colleagues on exactly what was announced. From several senior Microsoft executives including Steve Balmer, John Roscoe and Kevin Turner we heard a vast array of new things including a sneaky glimpse of Windows 8. But one thing’s for sure, at no time in Microsoft’s history has such a collaborative, shared and unified technology strategy been so evident to see – from mobile to slate to PC to server – either in the cloud or on-premise: a clear sign that IT consumerisation is well and truly being endorsed and embraced. This undoubtedly helps remove part of the headache that comes with the consumerisation debate which CIO’s, CTO’s and most of those sitting in the IT management chain are certainly suffering. But that’s still only part of the thinking covered off. The other major piece is the application strategy. It’s hard enough working out just which apps are out there (we call it “application chaos”) let alone those you’ll want to take into this new multi-device, multi-platform world. The bottom line is that for new world survival, the apps need to be agile. Agile apps support a productive, collaborative and mobile workforce that is in turn supported by a clearly defined and effective corporate IT application strategy. Get this right and, coupled with the foundations being laid by Microsoft, the move to consumerisation may be less painful than anticipated.

News from WPC 2011 in LA

Here at WPC 2011 in LA and there is lots going on. From Cloud and Mobile to Windows and Gaming, Microsoft has had lots to show and even more to say. As always, Steve Balmer enthusiastically fast tracks the 15000 strong audience through Microsoft’s vision of the future and what we can expect to see in the next 12 months. In fact, we could have stayed in the Staples Centre for the whole week and still not covered the enormous product portfolio in anything like the detail we need to do it justice. So, what’s the future looking like? A peek at Windows 8 was top of the list and its new approach to ‘tiles’ as opposed to static ‘icons’ and Bing with integrated web apps were two notable topics of interest. But one thing is clear. In order for us all to prepare for the future, we need to embrace the present. So, in simple terms that means deploying Windows 7 and realising the benefits that are achievable today. It looks like it’s going to be a busy year for Camwood.