Recently, I was part of a discussion panel where the topic was about ‘looking back 1 year ago, what are the biggest game changers we’ve seen in Cloud Computing today?’
It’s a really large landscape to consider, and with the near avalanche of solutions and updates available in the Microsoft Cloud since last year, it’s hard to nail down a single change or update. What’s interesting is that if you assemble many of those changes over the last year, they total up to a single impact, and as it should be, that impact is to the users and their endpoint experience. I say endpoint specifically because it’s really not just the desktop that these advances impact, and the user experience is truly across all their endpoints today.
When my fellow Cloud Strategists and I here at Planet begin to define goals to go forward and objectives for our clients, it is always with an eye toward that end user experience. We consider endpoint readiness, infrastructure delivery readiness, versioning of deployments, and end user training. But most importantly we consider security and identity and access management as both a broadly applied foundation and what’s specific to a given community of users that may not apply to the environment as a whole. Microsoft has recently released their Modern Desktop Deployment guidance in the form of best practice goals and objectives. In it, there is also heavy focus on security and identity as a foundation. What’s critical here is really making sure that the tools you put on the desktop and devices provide the end user with the ability to gain access to the features and data they need, while also protecting those same resources from being accessed or shared inappropriately, in most cases without the end user even knowing they are doing something wrong. I’ve always said, we must protect our users from themselves. Focusing on these security basics does this and so much more.
So Jerry, what’s this got to do with the real ‘Game Changer?’
Well, once you know you have a Cloud Ready Infrastructure and Security environment you have the ability to really impact the way an end user can access their information. As long as I can remember, the ‘front door’ to any desktop has been where I get my email. For us lately, that’s typically been Microsoft Outlook. In addition to Outlook, we utilize our desktop tools to access and edit many types of information using the Office products, and communicate and collaborate with, yet again, another set of tools.
Simply said, that ‘front door’ to your desktop is going to change. With email, content and collaboration all wrapped up in a single interface, Microsoft Teams is the desktop and device future for all of these work streams. A users’ ability to access, interact and track that collaboration in real time in addition to the many other meeting and sharing facilities, Teams is what the end user so desperately needed in order to take advantage of the enormously broad set of great tools and technology available. It really does bring all of the information together, based on that security and access foundation I spoke about earlier in an organized and more importantly self-managed way that allows each user the ability to work in a most efficient manner that suits their style without breaking any security rules.
While working with a new client recently we discussed their own ‘starting line’ to this thing called Cloud Computing. While we spent time during our strategy session reviewing their foundation and security, we also spent a great deal of time discussing not just how their users gain access to the information made available to them but also how they use it, why they use it the way they do and what goals they had for that user experience. During that discussion, it became clear validation to me right away that what they were looking for as an end result was available now. I really believe as we continue to drive modern Cloud Maturity Model based capability objectives for our clients, consuming the most desired capabilities put forth with the most secure and available foundational capabilities is going to be accessed by the end user with Microsoft Teams. I encourage you to take a very specific capabilities based approach to defining your next endpoint user experience and to not forget the foundational efforts needed to ensure operational effectiveness and security go hand in hand. Something else in the new Modern Desktop Deployment guidance, and definitely a game changer, will be the upcoming Windows and Office as a Service. Together with the rest of the Microsoft Cloud, this will be a game nobody else can win. I’ll review this upcoming service in my next post.
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