One of the drivers for looking at end user computing at the moment, above and beyond just looking at the desktop, is the rise of the tablet. We have more options(and challenges) now than just the traditional Windows desktop PC. Everybody working in enterprise IT (architecture, operations, security and management) is trying to figure out how to deal with the huge demand for tablets. Or are they? My experience is that the issues that enterprise IT is facing from the post-PC era, from the consumerisation of IT is mostly demand driven. And that demand is only for iPads, not tablets in general.
In other posts I’ve described the conceptual components for an end user computing environment and the scenarios (or use cases) for use of end user computing. However, the enterprise end user device or ecosystem doesn’t stand on its own – it sits within a complex environment of corporate (IT) services. When looking at the end user computing space it is important to understand which of the other, more general, IT infrastructural services are involved in delivering or supporting it. Understanding the inter-relationships here can make our design of the end user computing environment more complete.
A while ago I posted a desktop conceptual architecture. Since then I have been doing a lot more thinking about the desktop and its overall place in the IT and business environment. So, firstly I have changed the title to an end user computing conceptual architecture (a bit more of a mouthful, but more accurate I believe). Secondly, I’ve changed my picture slightly to include security and security management in it. These were elements that I had overlooked in my original thinking.
This is the third in a series of posts about end user computing and desktop architectures. In a previous post I discussed a preliminary conceptual architecture for end user computing. What I want to look at in this post is ways of understanding how people work (in relation to end user computing) that could inform our understanding of what our architecture needs to address and therefore ultimately look like. In order to create the right end user computing architecture you need to understand the needs that the people in your enterprise have for end user computing. And, in order to understand the needs of your people for end user computing you need to have some sort of way of looking at different ways they have of interacting with their computing environment and tool-sets. The approach I am taking here is to outline a set of “use cases” that describe scenarios where people interact with the end user computing environment in different ways. Once we have these use cases we can then analyse our user community to see which combinations of use cases we need to support. From there we might take a range of approaches. We might offer a range of services to our users. We might segment our user base and then attempt to create solutions (or sets of solutions) that meet the needs of each segment. We might (if our people’s needs are homogeneous enough) create one solution for everyone. But the starting point for any solution must be to understand the fundamental needs you have to meet.
This is the second in a series of posts about the desktop. In the first post I described a conceptual architecture of the desktop, or end user computing environment. In that first post I used the term desktop, since then I have had a change of heart, or at least of terminology. I’ve been thinking about the wider computing environment that people use and encounter in their daily working lives and I see that it is both much bigger than what we traditionally call the desktop, and that it is all connected – part of a multi-dimensional spectrum of ways of interacting with devices and software and ways of managing those devices and software. We need to understand the commonalities between the way that people use mobile phones, traditional desktop PCs, virtual desktops, ruggedised devices, special purpose devices, and their applications. For this reason I’ve decided that I won’t use the term “desktop”, and will instead use the clumsier term “end user computing”. While not so elegant, it does seem to me to better describe what I am trying to talk about, and is at least better than (or less ambiguous than) any other alternative I’ve come across.