If what physical device you are using determines what applications and services you have access to, it's time to reevaluate your technology setup! It still surprises me at the number of organizations still dependent on VPN, local file shares, and legacy applications. The "cloud" has become a common solution to many technology issues, but the real solution is moving to an App based world.
Why has the iPhone been so successful? The App Store. You can get thousands of Apps that will just work, install in a minute or so, and then use that same app across multiple devices with no issue. Tech innovation usually starts on the consumer side and it certainly was so in this case. What does this mean for corporate technology?
There are three steps to moving your company towards an App-based future. Once these are completed you will be free of "device lock-in", and physical constraints on where you can work. The majority of popular programs now offer "Apps" that provide the same functionality as their legacy counter-parts.
Take an inventory of all applications in use today in your environment
Sounds simple enough right? Well, often there are applications brought in by team members that no one knows about, or that piece of software that handles the quoting function used by shipping, or any other number of one-offs like that.
Use a tool to produce a complete software inventory of the environment. Run this on ALL devices, as you never know what workstation has an application on it that may be used in your business operations. Once you have this inventory get your teams together to understand what business function each supports. The results of this process may surprise you!
Determine which applications already have an App-based solution available
Using the software inventory go through each application and determine:
- Do we still need this application? Can we change workflow or process to eliminate it?
- Does this application have a web-based version we can utilize?
- Can we utilize an App-based replacement?
You will find many applications will in fact have an App-based solution available. This typically means going on some type of subscription plan to buy it, but this pays for itself in the flexibility and convenience of no longer having to maintain an in-house application. The biggest win here is finding applications in use that can be eliminated entirely. Again, the results of this process may surprise you.
Plan to migrate legacy applications to a cloud-based delivery mechanism to deliver them in an App-like format.
Any application that cannot be changed is likely a candidate for migration to a cloud-based remote desktop environment. Centralizing legacy applications in this way will reduce overall management costs and increase the ease-of-use for the users.
Remote Desktop (or Terminal Services as many know it) has come a long way in the past several years. It now supports multi-monitor configurations, can be deployed without the need for VPN connections, and can provide application publishing to specific users. Microsoft is also working on a new dedicated desktop solution for end users that would provide for this environment at the user level.
Once all of these steps have been completed your organization will also have reduced capital spending on technology, decreased your security risk profile, and increased the productivity of your workforce. Welcome to an App-based world!