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New digital workspaces are essential for the modern enterprise

Real-Time Collaboration Makes Cloud Services Essential

The enterprise is enjoying a period of rapid technological innovation driven by real-time collaboration on a grand scale. New tools have brought the ability to work from anywhere, on any device, and at any time. Centralized offices and individually assigned desks are giving way to a distributed, mobile workforce. Digital workspaces offer enormous benefits for the enterprise and for workers, but there are also challenges ahead.

Not only do businesses need to choose the right blend of cloud services, they also have to work out how to securely integrate them to realize their full potential value.

Landscape shifting to digital
It's difficult to measure accurately, but around 50% of the U.S. workforce currently holds a job that's compatible with working from home, and around 25% already telecommute with some frequency, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Furthermore, 80% to 90% of the U.S. workforce has expressed interest in working remotely, at least some of the time.

Telecommuting cuts down on unnecessary overheads for companies and employees. Businesses can make savings by rationalizing office space and introducing desk sharing. The average utilization of occupied desks is below 50%, according to a study by Advanced Workplace Associates. Employees are increasingly mobile and able to work from any location.

We also need to stir increasingly distributed workforces into the mix, as companies seeking scalability and agility outsource to find expertise and control costs. Larger enterprises typically run 24-hours a day with a truly global presence that relies on digital coordination.

The need for new services
As telecommuting, the mobility trend, and distributed workforces grow more common, cloud services like Microsoft's Azure and Office 365 are essential for businesses looking to maximize efficiency. By freeing up IT to focus on new innovations, unburdened by a high volume of IT tasks and maintenance, it's possible to kindle new creative fires. The economies of scale and the sharing of resources inherent in vast cloud services are a compelling proposition against an on-premise alternative.

The worldwide public cloud services market will grow 16.5% this year to hit $204 billion, according to Gartner. "This strong growth continues to reflect a shift away from legacy IT services to cloud-based services, due to the increased trend of organizations pursuing a digital business strategy," says Sid Nag, research director at Gartner.

Removing obstacles for employees and equipping them with the right tools to enable secure, real-time collaboration with colleagues, wherever they may be, is an effective way to foster creativity and innovation. But we have to consider security and complexity if we are to minimize risk and maximize efficiency.

Challenges to overcome
Security is a major area of concern as investment in the cloud grows. The 2016 Cloud Security Spotlight Report found that 53% of respondents had general security concerns, 42% had legal and regulatory compliance worries, and 40% were concerned about data loss and leakage risks.

Another problem with the shift to the cloud is integration. How do companies blend new tools with legacy systems? Being able to pick and mix the best new innovative tools is important, but it can lead to a level of complexity that becomes difficult to manage.

Developing a hybrid approach using a workplace anywhere approach can deliver mobility management and content sharing. By combining remote desktop delivery into a single, secure, centrally configurable package using platforms like Citrix Workspace Suite address the challenges directly. Organizations can mitigate risk and cut complexity with a system that integrates the apps they need, embraces a full range of differing devices and offers a single portal for administration.

Digital workspaces are inevitable
The trend is clear. For the vast majority of industries, digital workspaces are the future. Back in 1995, just 9% of US workers had telecommuted. That figure rose to 37% in 2015, according to Gallup's annual Work and Education poll. It's also clear that cloud services are the most efficient way for globally distributed teams to collaborate. They improve employee engagement and empower teams to work around the clock.

Consider also that the mobility trend has given way to the rise of Shadow IT, as enterprises have been slow to mobilize their business systems. We need to find ways to grow without sacrificing security or control. More integration in the digital workspace will deliver compelling advantages and sweep away the remaining barriers to real-time collaboration in the cloud.

About Karyn Jeffery
Karyn Jeffery is VP and Head of End User Services in Fujitsu's Managed Infrastructure Services Global Delivery unit. She leads the globalization of Fujitsu’s offerings in end user computing. Contact her at Karyn.Jeffery@uk.fujitsu.com.

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