Joining the Digital Dots: Working without Digital Limits

Users are tech-savvy and will not tolerate digital limits. They expect the digital dots to be joined up, to get what they want, and to be given choices about ways to do things better on the device that suits them best. For me, delivering Business Intelligence systems is fundamentally affected by the quality of the IT infrastructure. Ever tried to run a data extract over a network that uses dial-up? You’re with me now, aren’t you?  Users hate to wait, and they want everything mobilised.

So how do we go about this? One of the concepts in delivering IT infrastructure is people-centric IT, or PCIT. What is people-centric IT, or PCIT? It sounds like another acronym, but being people-centred is fundamental to delivering IT. 
People-centric IT (PCIT) enables each person you support to work from virtually anywhere on the device of their choice and gives you a consistent way to manage and protect it all. In his book, ‘The New Normal’, Peter Hinssen talks about the way in which people’s expectations of technology through consumerism, and particularly IT departments, are changing. In today’s world, users are King or Queen, but they need to be protected from themselves. It’s estimated that, by 2015, the number of connected devices will be twice the global population. 
Users are tech-savvy and will not tolerate digital limits
in terms of pricing, timing or functionality.
They expect the digital dots to be joined

Society, governments, and specifically, IT departments, are increasingly expected to deliver data, technology and process without digital limits. 
IT departments are now having to deal with business expectations where the end users are tech-savvy and demanding, and expect to have IT delivered with no limits, and data wherever they choose. 

Despite these requirements, consumers also expect privacy and security.

 How can you deliver a corporate IT function without digital limits? Look at the balances that needs to be achieved:
  • How is it possible to find an equilibrium between the IT consumers’ needs for privacy and security?
  • How can we balance user enablement plus meeting the consumer requirements? 
  • How can we keep the end users productive?
  • How can we keep corporate data protected?
  • How can we stay compliant with regulatory compliance standards across all devices, whilst maintaining a consistent user experience? 
  • How can we achieve these objectives in a dynamic, fluctuating 24/7/365 world?
  • How can we encourage people to self-service data wherever possible?
I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit sorry for IT departments. They have a tough job in a demanding environment. They’re expected to be able to support any device, and let’s face it, we all use personal devices to connect to corporate networks, even though they are not officially part of the corporate network and have not been ‘vetted’. People want access to corporate applications from anywhere, on whatever device they choose—laptop, smartphone, tablet, or PC. IT departments are challenged to provide consistent, rich experiences across all these device types, with access to native, web, and remote applications or desktops. It is a tough ‘ask’ of IT, but it is something that business users have taken for granted. IT is trying to enable people to choose their devices, but must also reduce costs and complexity as well as maintain security and compliance by protecting data and having comprehensive settings management across platforms.

To summarise, we have to work out a way to give users what they want without digital limits, whilst also ‘showing the love’ to our data.
Given these constraints, what’s the future for PCIT? Protecting company information is critical, and the growth of BYOD will simply make it more challenging for organisations to deliver IT. 
There will come a tipping point in each organisation where the organisation will start to have to work smarter rather than harder. We will have to move away from the ‘add new hardware’ solution to every problem, and see that the problems can’t be solved by buying more RAM or even hiring more consultants to help.
How can Microsoft help? Microsoft are moving towards a unified, people-centric suite of solutions moving towards IT delivery, which focus on the user whilst reducing risk in delivery. 

A smart infrastructure makes for better Business Intelligence solutions, and I’m all for that. If the infrastructure isn’t right, then it is hard to deliver SQL Server and data projects properly.  

There is a real marriage between the infrastructure and the delivery. With this in mind, technical people who are also interested in futurology should take a look at System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2.  These support SQL Server, and for me personally, I believe in getting the basics right as well as focusing on SQL Server.  Since organisations will move to Windows Server 2012 R2, it’s probably wise to get the information. I’ve put some links below.
If you like an in-person event, please take a look at the Cloud OS Community Relay, which is holding Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2. These are the ‘latest and greatest’ from Microsoft, and you can find more information here. You might be interested to know about the SQLRelay events, which are more SQL Server focused and run alongside the Cloud OS Community Relay. You can find out more here, or if you’d like to come to the Hertfordshire event on 15th November, please take a look here
In the meantime, here are some download links if you’d like to try it out.

System Center 2012 R2

System Center 2012 R2 delivers unified management across on-premises, service provider, and Windows Azure environments, thereby enabling the Microsoft Cloud OS. System Center 2012 R2 offers exciting new features and enhancements across infrastructure provisioning, infrastructure monitoring, application performance monitoring, automation and self-service, and IT service management.

·         System Center Team Blog

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager and Windows Intune
With System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, you can keep software up-to-date, set security policies, and monitor status while giving your users access to preferred applications from the devices they choose.

Extend your on-premises Configuration Manager solution to the cloud by integrating Windows Intune to enable remote, mobile, and branch office employees to use the devices that best fit their needs.

System Center Configuration Manager with Windows Intune

You can use System Center Configuration Manager together with Windows Intune to manage a broad array of PCs and devices covering Windows, Windows RT, Macs, Windows Phone, Apple iOS and Android. This release of Configuration Manager and Windows Intune supports large deployments on a single management infrastructure.

Windows Intune “stand-alone” (cloud-only) configuration
The web-based administration console in Windows Intune provides simplified management of client computers in your organization, including Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Apple iOS, and Android devices. You can upload and publish software packages, manage policy, and track computer inventory without on-premises infrastructure.

·         Windows Intune Forums

Windows Server 2012 R2
At the heart of the Microsoft Cloud OS vision, Windows Server 2012 R2 brings Microsoft’s experience delivering global-scale cloud services into your infrastructure with new features and enhancements in virtualization, management, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, the web and application platform, and more.
·         Start your evaluation

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