CIOs are focused on digital business. This was the theme of Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando earlier this monthan event I attended with 20,000 of my closest friends. Symposium 2015 presented a vision of business three to five years from now to get CIOs ready to rise to the challenge ahead of them. As my interest lies in how digital business is enabling the digital workplace, here are my three key takeaways from the event:

  1. Technology ownership and control is changing. According to Gartner, by 2017, 50% of spending on IT will be out of IT’s control – down from 70% in 2005. Why? Because technology ownership and influence is changing. People like you and I now have the ability to go to the store and buy the device we want…and to make matters worse, according to Gartner, 50-80% of us pick out our own apps from the app store and use them for business.The same is happening within business units. Business unit heads with a specific requirement can now go find a SaaS solution to meet their needs without ever speaking to IT. In both of these scenarios, organizations now have unmanaged devices, apps, and services in their environment and have zero control of them.But there is a bright side to this: more people outside your organization can now support the business technology within your organization (e.g. SaaS and cloud providers are supporting your services and infrastructure and employees are supporting their devices and apps). This means you have new resources to tap into to take on new projects.
  1. Security needs to focus on enablement, not prevention. A few years ago, IT security teams spent 60% of their time (and money) preventing things from happening and 40% of their time detecting and responding to incidents. Moving forward, this time balance will reverse.While this can be applied to many areas of business, the aspect that resonated with me was around end-user computing. How often have we seen draconian IT measures put in place, such as preventing data access from non-corporate PCs, and people just work around them? I won’t lie … I have done this before.The realities of consumerization and the fact the people now expect the types of technology they have in their personal lives to also be in the workplace means that preventing use, access, etc. of apps, data and services is no longer feasible. IT must focus on people-centric security and instead, enable people to work how they work best and know their solutions will be able to detect and respond to any issues that come up – and automatically deal with it.
  1. Mobility is forcing people to rethink how work is done. My favorite keynote was from Ginni Rometty, Chairwoman, President and CEO of IBM. In her Mastermind keynote, she said, “Mobility is not about devices. It is about reimagining how work is done.” She nailed it! With all of the emphasis that we have seen on mobility in the past few years, so much of it has focused on the latest iPhone or other device deserving the “executive bling” stature.Instead, she highlights that mobility needs to be thought of as much more – as enabling new and better ways to work. Other sessions focused on this concept with further details: Work needs to adapt to people – where we are, how we work best; it has to engage us; and it requires new technologies to ensure we have the tools and data at our fingertips to be successful. In short, the digital workplace is the answer to work reimagined as it “enables new, more effective ways of working; raises employee engagement and agility; and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies.”

Making the Digital Workplace a Reality

What do you do next? How do you take advantage of these three realities to embrace the digital workplace? The answer lies in these two questions asked to the audience:

  1. How would you run IT if the most important performance metric was employee engagement?
  2. How would you run IT if it was a profit-making entity that had plenty of competition?

Think about this. As the end-user experience is still IT’s responsibility, you need to focus on delivering technologies and services that ensure people stay connected and engaged with their work; that they can work where they are inspired; that they can access to all of the apps and data wherever they are so they can work on their terms; and that the experience they are delivered is one that rivals what they get with their consumer technologies.

It’s no easy task, but it’s time to rise to the challenge. Citrix has helped organizations of all sizes and across all vertical industries create their digital workplace – let us help you.

Watch this short video to see how Rhaetian Railways created a digital workplace with Citrix mobile workspace solutions.