IT teams in many organisations were forced to improvise during the first lockdown last year. All of a sudden, everyone had to work from home and financial reserves were needed to implement quick fixes. Now that a (partial) return to the office is once again possible, the next challenge is: how do you switch from an emergency situation to a structured solution?
The coronavirus has turned the work situation completely upside down in many companies. In the past, most people were expected to work in the office every day, whereas nowadays you must be able to work from anywhere. Panic buying, such as additional VDI capacity via VMware Horizon, is still successfully used today on a daily basis. Those who only work with cloud tools, such as SalesForce or Microsoft 365, were able to take their laptop with them and continue working at home.
Working from home is one thing, but now that we are gradually being welcomed back into the office, the next challenge is lurking around the corner. Staff no longer work in just one place at home, but also in the office, on the road, or just about anywhere. In this case, a VDI solution is still a good solution, but then certain issues become equally important, such as device management and security.
It is important to look at a structured solution today to make hybrid working as smooth as possible. According to Thierry Vandenberghe, Technical Consultant at Tech Data, decentralised working is more than just VDI and cloud applications. ‘You must always be able to guarantee within the IT team that every employee can work securely, no matter where they are and what device they are using.’
He expects the office landscape to change completely and for flexibility to become important. A lot is going to change within many organisations in Belgium like working from home and multiple small offices spread throughout the country. ‘More small offices, less travel, many possible locations. Everything must be as secure as in the office. VMware Workspace ONE offers that and solves a lot of security problems that IT teams often have to mitigate.’
In theory, any enterprise can get rid of such complexity by completely disabling security. But this cuts both ways. With Workspace ONE, you bring your staff into the conversation and, instead of imposing rigid rules, you allow more flexibility without compromising security.
‘It’s also important to allow everyone to work on a device of their choice,’ emphasised Thierry. ‘Clearly, a professional laptop can be configured just fine. Yet with Workspace ONE, you can also use your own tablet or smartphone to continue working efficiently on the go.’ He emphasises that this type of one-stop shop makes life easier for any IT team.
One of the greatest strengths of Workspace ONE compared to a traditional VDI solution like VMware Horizon is its ease of use. A VDI environment is always the same: an image is streamed and you work with that. This is not always the case with Workspace ONE. ‘Each application within the environment can be opened natively on a smartphone, tablet, or PC. For example, is Office installed on your iPad? Then you can use it in native mode instead of using VDI. So, you no longer have to fumble with a user interface that is much too small. You can use the much smoother native-touch interface.’
This native support also offers other advantages. Suppose you are on a train working on a PowerPoint presentation. If the connection drops, you can no longer use the VDI solution. Whereas, a file opened via Workspace ONE using a native application allows you to continue working without any problems.
Even if disaster strikes and a device is stolen, there is a way out. The organisation’s IT team can remotely delete all of the content generated by the app. As soon as the thieves go online for one second, all confidential material is wiped. This form of security, together with a secure patch policy and other things that are easily configurable, make it a lot easier for any IT department.
SMB or enterprise: everyone is welcome
Basically, any type of customer can work with VMware Workspace ONE, said Thierry. ‘Whether it is a small SMB with five employees or a large organisation with more than a thousand people, anything is possible. To lower the threshold for smaller SMBs, ICT partners can also offer hosted services. They have the expertise needed to do the configuration work, which makes it cost-effective.’ For larger companies with an IT team, you can conveniently add extra servers on-site when needed.
However, he emphasises that VMware is now placing increasing emphasis on its SaaS solution. VMware then takes care of keeping everything up and running, which removes a lot of the headache. On the other hand, partners need to adapt to this because perpetual licences are no longer usable. These will be replaced with a subscription or consumption model.
‘I do expect Workspace ONE to evolve primarily into a SaaS solution over time. All management tools in the cloud and everything always running optimally. What more could organisations want today?’
TestDrive as a play area
VMware Horizon is a pure VDI solution that speaks for itself. Workspace ONE is just that, but it offers many possibilities that can only be fully grasped through testing. That is why Thierry emphasises the importance of certification for partners. Those partners who pass the certification are given access to TestDrive.’
TestDrive is a terrific SaaS environment from Workspace ONE that is not limited in time and is always available to the certified person. ‘It’s useful for getting hands-on experience with the solution. Unlike all other trial solutions, the fact that VMware TestDrive is not time-limited makes it more interesting to test Workspace ONE as a partner.’