We’ve been talking to a lot of CIOs over the last year about OpenCloud Access, our solution to providing unified access to both SaaS and Enterprise web applications. What we’ve found interesting is that the SSO itself is of mild interest – something they believe should exist and work already.

A key problem they face is really driven around the underlying shifts to infrastructure delivery. Specifically, they want to break down the silos that have formed around infrastructure. These silos have been created by infrastructure shifts that allow the vehicle of deployment to impact the way that end users are accessing applications (be it desktop, SaaS, or private cloud). These changes create their own land of confusion amongst end users.

For those of us that eat, breathe, and drink IT on a day by day basis, we sometimes forget how completely intimidating technology can be to others. My father, an architect who prior to his retirement would manage multi-billion dollar construction projects, still doesn’t entirely understand what is meant by the term “browser”. All he knows is that he needs to click on the Internet Explorer icon in order to read CNN. The idea that a SaaS application is completely disconnected from his enterprise datacenter would quickly lead to him holding his hands up in the “stop talking” motion and saying “just write down what to do.”

CIOs, especially those of organizations that aren’t in the technology business, get this.

Now to be clear, this isn’t a knock against SaaS. The business value to outsourcing non-strategic applications to someone that can do it more efficiently is obvious. The problem is not SaaS itself, the problem is that we (IT professionals) create new application silos in the process. This is problematic for end users trying to reconcile the multitude of ways that they need to access their tools and for IT managers that are held responsible for managing them.

New Rule: No More Silos.

What CIOs want, what their users want, and what my Dad wants, is one place. One icon. One click that takes them to one login. That login should do all the voodoo necessary for bringing the applications needed to work be they SaaS, Private Cloud, Web, or even Windows Desktop. Once there, the applications should all be listed: Salesforce (SaaS) intertwined with Outlook (Windows) so they simply need to double-click and go.

New Rule: The Consumer Experience is the Enterprise Experience

What CIOs want, what their users want, and what my Dad wants, is the same kind of simplified experience he now gets with his DVR and phone. Now users and my Dad wanting this is obvious, but a CIO? Absolutely – the consumer experience is one that has to translate into no helpdesk calls. Consumer electronics companies can’t afford to have customers call and ask for help – on the low end such behavior is devastating to margins. CIOs looking at how to reduce their helpdesk spend want the exact same thing.

 Delivering on These Rules

When we announced OpenCloud Access to deliver on SaaS and Enterprise Web SSO, we were pretty excited by the potential. We integrated the entire experience into our Directory Services product that serves as the front end to our XenApp and XenDesktop product lines so end users could easily see all of their applications come together in one place.

Early steps in this direction confirmed what we thought – this was a key piece of the puzzle. SSO to SaaS is ante to play. Pulling the story together so we could deliver a consumer experience to enterprise users was the real first meaningful bid.

At Synergy this week, you’re going to hear a lot about how we deliver on this vision across a multitude of devices from PCs to Macs, iPads to Xooms, and Wyse clients to Chromium laptops. For end users, it’s everything they need from one place. For CIOs, it means getting control from one place.

Pay attention – we’ve created some new rules and I think you’re going to like them.