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Three factors that should drive your new end-user computing strategy

End-user computing continues to bring major changes, including device convergence and device as a service. It also leads to users demanding device- and OS-agnostic apps.

BOSTON -- The times are changing for IT administrators, as the next wave of end-user computing descends on the enterprise.

Today's users work with tablets and smartphones, in addition to PCs, oftentimes using more than one device and more than one operating system. To avoid a shock, IT must shift its end-user computing strategy from device management to workspace management, which focuses on users, access, identity and data, said Linn Huang, a research director at IDC.

In the new multi-device, multi-OS world, IT's end-user computing strategy has to focus on making apps and data universal, so users can access what they need from anywhere on any platform. In addition, IT needs to contest with the ever-rising number of users, apps, devices, identities and more -- without the necessary amount of resources to keep pace.

"We have the continuum growing rapidly; we have resources growing less rapidly," Huang said. "A big focus from the IT sector will be, 'How do we close this gap?'"

At the IDC Directions conference here this week, Huang outlined three driving forces that can help admins answer that question: device hyper-convergence, devices as a service, and the proliferation of virtualization and cloud computing.

Device hyper-convergence

A big focus from the IT sector will be, 'How do we close this gap?'
Linn Huanga research director at IDC

Hyper-convergence reduces the number of devices users have to carry and IT has to manage.

In recent years, a user could own a smartphone, tablet and laptop, and use each device to accomplish different tasks. That paradigm is dying, Huang said. The rise of 2-in-1 tablet/PC hybrids started the converged device trend, and it continues with devices such as the HP Elite x3, which can function as a phone, tablet or desktop PC.

Devices as a service

With device as a service, organizations pay a monthly fee to use hardware provided by a third party. The third party also offers deployment and management tools and provides additional support. The appeal of device as a service is threefold, Huang said:

  • It gives IT a single-source model.
  • It ties devices, software and support in with a single vendor, which can deliver discounts.
  • It lends itself to faster refresh cycles.

Virtualization and cloud computing

As more devices and operating systems enter the enterprise fray, IT must figure out how to deliver functioning apps to users on all these different platforms.

"Virtualization is going to play a huge part in the app story, because it essentially flattens the app scale," Huang said. "It helps us manage our apps across all devices, and it helps us get our apps across all devices, as well."

Virtualization is not just a niche option to deliver legacy apps or save money; it is going to play an integral part in delivering apps to users, Huang said. Most of these apps will live in the public cloud, where a third-party manages them, he added.

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