A recent Gartner study found that 40 percent of enteprise employees use a personal device to perform work-related tasks on a daily basis. Employees are firmly plugged into the digital world and accordingly, employers are on the prowl for solutions that will allow them to be productive from any device, in any location, at any given time. A growing number of vendors believe that the answer lies in establishing a unified workspace.
United We Stand
The unified workspace concept warrants the attention of any company considering or planning a BYOD initiative. This strategy aims to create a single platform that serves up single sign-on access and a seamless user experience across all devices. In theory, it’s the best case BYOD scenario – a solution that empowers employees to work efficiently at any time, from anywhere, on any device. And that’s only the beginning.
In welcoming unified workspaces, companies are essenitally waving “bye bye” to the old school office space. It can literally change the way employees work while offering attractive business perks such as:
Secure access: Security is the single biggest concern companies have about BYOD. The unified workspace promises to deliver immediate access to all applications and resources without compromising the security of existing data.
Convenient collaboration: In unifying the workspace, companies also provide a convenient way for employees to connect and collaborate on team projects.
Increased productivity: Around the clock access to instant messaging, video chat, CMS software, and other critical applications opens the door for huge boosts in productivity and efficiency.
Talent magnetism: Touting the luxury to work on the personal device of your choice could be used as a recruitment tool that helps land skilled free agents from the available talent pool.
On-demand scalability: The unified approach also means scalability in that new devices and applications can easily be added to, or subtracted from the infrastructure based on company needs. This is where having a vendor who has your back comes into play.
Who’s Doing the Unified Dance?
Network hardware giant Cisco is leading the charge as an early pioneer in this thing. Cisco’s dream version of the unified workspace is an integrated one that combines BYOD with its Virtual Experience Infrastructure (VXI) and Remote Expert products. VXI streamlines provisioning and service delivery in virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs) from end-to-end, while Remote Expert supports virtual one-to-one video conferencing sessions in crystal clear HD. It all comes together in a unified environment that optimizes network access, mobile device management, and day-to-day business processes.
Global IT solutions provider Fujitsu is in on the action as well. For this vendor, a unified workspace is made from a balanced blend of its own productivity suite and Microsoft Office 365 layered on top of communication and virtualization tools by Cisco. But the goal is the same – creating a more flexible, secure, and reliable alternative to the traditional PC-powered infrastructure companies have been limited by for years. Fujitsu claims its unified platform can fully support workspaces of 5,000 or more people.
Cisco and Fujitsu both have viable competition in the form of desktop virtualization specialist Ncomputing. This company unifies workspaces with the aptly titled OneSpace, a platform that securely delivers applications and files as a service to smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The IT team from the Alder School of Professional Psychology used it to provide access to more than 1300 students across the Chicago and Vancouver campuses. OneSpace’s $1 per day, per user starting price could be where the true competitive edge lies as it’s reportedly substantially cheaper than Cisco’s offering.
A Unified Vision of Success
The idea of a unified workspace is appealing to CIOs and key decision makers eyeing BYOD deployments. It all sounds promising, but there will be challenges in the way of drawing up new policies, training employees, and a host of other potential barriers. Any company with this tightly connected work environment in its crosshairs should round up all departmental leaders and carefully devise a unified blueprint that ensures a successful implementation.
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