Because I'm worth it - are UC evangelists a major pain to IT support?

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inventor and robot.jpgFor a self-professed technogeek like me, one of the joys of working for Orange is the opportunity to try out new technology.

Unfortunately, most of the time our geeking is confined to a sandbox/demo-net so our playthings are not connected to the corporate systems and don't cause problems for the normal operations staff. This means we don't really get to test the new ways of working against our day to day working tasks or give the support staff 'interesting' problems to deal with.

This month's plaything centres around the delivery of virtualised workplace services on mobile devices like the iPad/iPhone.

We have quite a lot of experience in delivering a Citrix based workplace to our own employees and customers as we are one of the largest Citrix users in the world with over 100,000 users but until recently we have mostly delivered services via dedicated thin client workstations or re-purposed PCs.

We know that a smartphone is not really the best device to display and work on a full windows desktop but, with the adoption of Unified Communications using the computer as the primary delivery device, computing has become more and more about communicating rather than just creating content.

Beyond the desktop, the adoption of smart mobile devices is making us take another look at the best way of delivering services such as voice, video and instant messaging. Like quite a few others, we are looking at Citrix on iOS as a new way of working (and I've joined citrixonipadatwork.com)

This week I took delivery of a solution that combines on my iPad and iPhone (and also my personally owned MacBook laptop):

  • Citrix client giving access to:
    • Corporate standard Windows 7 Desktop
    • Office 2010 including Lync Client
    • video client

The Lync and video clients use the camera, mic and speakers/headphone from my devices so that I am able to make and receive calls as if I was sat at a desktop.  

When I'm 'offline' I can use email via ActiveSync and work on locally stored files and I can always use my phone to make and receive calls in the old-school way.

For me, this is a major step up from the  'demo-net' approach as I can use it day to day. But, and this is a big 'but', the amount of support required from our operations teams to get up and running and then support the trial is significant.

So, am I 'worth it'?

I think this depends on the lessons learnt from the trial. Part of the exercise is to capture a standardised deployment procedure so that we can roll-out services to a wider audience when we are ready.

I'm interested in how others approach field trials of technology. Do you wait until you have a standard platform to roll-out, or do you try a few different approaches in the field first?

Peter Glock

With management roles in sales, marketing, and strategy I have over 30 years in IT and telecoms specializing in transformation projects.