The evolution of the digital workspace is happening faster than you think

The pandemic has accelerated the evolution of the digital workspace, forcing organizations to transform and provide their employees with the cloud-based tools and services they need for a positive user experience from wherever they are logging in.

While many organizations have managed to get by in the global health crisis using their current digital workspace, this approach has been inflexible. They have been unable to deliver the quality user experience, performance monitoring and security that is essential for business success, according to IDC.

The pandemic has underscored the necessity to improve the digital resiliency of employees to cope with any future disruptions, and the digital workspace plays a key role in delivering this. IDC defines the digital workspace as a “connected, secure work environment, independent of place or time.” Cloud is one of the central technologies on which a digital workspace is built, providing access to cloud-based front ends for legacy applications and new cloud-native apps.

Digital workspace

The user experience should be central to your transformation strategy

Digital transformation will not succeed unless an organization has engaged, informed employees with the right tools to do their jobs. But all too often, the employee experience ends up low on the priority list. CIOs need to put digital workplace initiatives at the top of their agendas if they are to enhance resilience, security and productivity. It will also help them to control shadow IT, where applications are accessed without the knowledge of the IT department.

Organizations are favoring what Gartner refers to as the “new work nucleus,” made up of software-as-a-service (SaaS) based personal productivity, collaboration and communication tools housed in a cloud-based office solution.

As a result, vendors are upgrading cloud services with new mobility, content discovery and artificial intelligence (AI) features to satisfy organizations’ growing demands for intelligent digital workspaces. They allow all areas of the digital workspace environment to be monitored and optimized to enhance employee satisfaction and increase productivity. Points of friction, such as heavy use of virtual meeting rooms at specific times, can be addressed, for example.

Data-driven workspace tools will start to analyze data for smart decision making.

Content based on sentiment will provide insights into sentiments and help motivate employees, for example. AI will help to set schedules and assign work, freeing up managers to focus on business-related tasks.

Securing the digital workspace

Rising threat levels and remote working challenges due to the pandemic have put huge pressure on security teams. In fact, 71% of IT professional respondents to a recent Check Point Software Technologies survey said they have seen an increase in security threats since the coronavirus outbreak started. And 47% said they were concerned about employees working from home using shadow IT solutions.

Working from anywhere and often using several devices, employees are frequently accessing numerous cloud services and applications. To ensure security and business continuity, organizations must have an end-to-end security posture to ensure only authorized employees can access the right resources.

Desktop-as-a-service in the spotlight

The pandemic has given desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) its moment to shine. DaaS is basically a cloud computing solution that allows businesses to deliver on-demand, cloud-hosted, virtual desktops to any device from anywhere.

Organizations are favoring the “new work nucleus”

Gartner forecasts that the global public cloud services market will grow 6% in 2020 to total $258 billion, up from $243 billion in 2019. It is little surprise that on the back of this, DaaS is expected to record significant growth, increasing 95.4% to $1.2 billion. DaaS provides a seamless, inexpensive option for organizations to support remote working, allowing employees to securely access applications from multiple devices and locations.

With DaaS, users can access their desktop from anywhere with an Internet connection. Its simplicity, centralized model and ability to quickly spin up and shut down desktop environments make it attractive to organizations. Putting desktop virtualization in the cloud offers up greater flexibility, agility and mobility, not to mention a pay-as-you go subscription model. The cloud provider protects data and transmission. DaaS, however, needs a fast, robust and continuous Internet connection for it to work effectively.

Organizations looking for a high level of security, together with centralized control and management, are going down the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) route. VDI environments, unlike DaaS, are usually housed in an on-site data center managed by in-house IT. With VDI, organizations have full control of their data. VDI also gives organizations the ability to customize their environments, if required.

Choosing between DaaS and VDI is dependent on an organization’s requirements. If the organization is dealing with sensitive data and strong compliancy rules, then on-site VDI is the way forward.

Cloud: ready for the digital workspace

Cloud is enabling this future workspace. With advanced digital workspaces and new ways of working becoming the norm, organizations need to make sure that their cloud transformation plans will support the increasingly dynamic ways of working of tomorrow.

Find out how virtual desktops are ensuring that doctors can keep working in a crisis and how a customized digital workspace is providing engineers with anytime, anywhere access.

Chris van Werkhoven
Chris van Werkhoven

As CTO at Login Consultants, a subsidiary of Orange, I am focused on inspiring customers and technical partners in their journey toward cloud-based workspace solutions and ensuring alignment to user requirements and business drivers.