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ESG Survey Sheds Light on Demands for Next-Generation End-User Computing Platforms

End-user computing (EUC), meaning technology solutions for employees and workers, is undergoing far-reaching changes. Trends that started before the pandemic accelerated by an order of magnitude when lockdowns began. In this article, TechTarget interviews ESG Senior Analyst Mark Bowker.

ESG recently published an EUC-focused survey of 378 senior IT decision-makers at midmarket (500 to 999 employees) and enterprise (1,000 or more employees) organizations across the U.S. and Canada. IT professionals responsible for evaluating, purchasing and managing EUC environments were asked about their organization’s EUC strategies and how they relate to the business.

Mark, what are organizations’ highest priorities for EUC?
It’s simple: IT must become more operationally efficient in how it supports workers and customers. With the surge in hybrid work, businesses do not want to double the IT staff to support the additional complexity. They want to see investments in platforms that are easy to manage and simple to operate. However, along with efficiency, the organization also needs to deliver on another business priority—improved collaboration and communication—and do it securely.

You mentioned security. That seems to be a headline issue. Just how important is security to the EUC environment?
Although much has been done, from management’s perspective, the two top problems are still support for secure remote and hybrid work and securing endpoints and employees from internal and external threats. In addition, user authentication is more problematic with remote connections. The change from having a known and predictable network that was essentially owned by the business within its walls has flipped. Now, the norm is remote connections from networks everywhere. Unfortunately, this requires changing IT’s legacy practices, as those were typically designed for a known-network environment, not hybrid work. It is imperative to improve security to protect endpoints, wherever they are, from internal and external threats. Security teams must work closely with endpoint management, help desk and support teams to ensure their processes work together.

Will hosted desktops (desktop as a service, or DaaS) help resolve security issues that have arisen from this change?
Even before the pandemic, ESG was seeing strong evidence that IT organizations wanted to centralize workspaces to provide better security and control. This recent survey tells us that 70% of organizations will be using DaaS to deliver digital resources to employees. DaaS solves many of the security and control problems that need to be addressed, and it does so in an operationally efficient manner. This is a huge change, as DaaS used to be deployed only for specific use cases and typically only to a single-digit percentage of the workforce. It was never a broad solution. That has completely changed. It has rapidly become a great platform for hybrid work, delivering the same experience regardless of location. Organizations are looking to DaaS to provide an optimal end-user experience with centralized management and control.

IT teams must be aligned with the goals of the business and its key priorities. How does DaaS support this?
The survey was very clear that productivity and collaboration are important business priorities. And they fit perfectly with what DaaS delivers. Further, DaaS improves the digital employee experience, and that not only boosts productivity, but it also helps attract and retain human capital. This has become essential for many firms. DaaS also helps make both remote and in-office work experiences more consistent and eliminates the frustration of having different functionality depending on where you are working. This consistency extends to collaboration as well. Using the same tools in every work environment not only helps individual productivity, but it also supports the workgroup as well.

How does DaaS enable IT teams to meet their own goals?
The top two IT priorities according to the survey are operational efficiency and security. DaaS meets both. The ability to deploy workspaces at scale anywhere and on any device with the same management tools is much more efficient than trying to manage different classes of devices separately or handling them individually. Even as hybrid work expands and demands more attention, IT can meet the challenge without increasing staff. And using cloud to deploy the service provides even more efficiency. From a security perspective, a single platform makes it far simpler to deploy consistent and effective security and update it as needed.

ESG’s Bowker and the latest research make it clear that modern DaaS platforms designed to meet the demands of workers, IT teams and management are an outstanding strategy for end-user computing. We are amid a sea change in how organizations deliver and support the employee’s digital experience, and DaaS is positioned to meet those challenges.