Leveraging Cloud and Big Data to Enable Mobile Work Styles and Accelerate Business
Today's mobile work style seems like it's a real productivity booster, compared to the idea of being tied to a desk and a computer every day. But it's just a taste of the kind of stateless, borderless collaboration, communication and control that will be central to the gains in productivity and innovation in the enterprise.
Technology that enables seamless collaboration sounds like the "paperless office" prediction, but it's closer than we think. The idea of connecting everyone to everything is reflected in a string of recent acquisitions Citrix has made, and that will have a significant impact on the way work is done in the enterprise. Consider this example, which happens countless times around the world every day.
Entering the conference room at two o’clock, you greet Carl and Lydia at the table, preparing to join the weekly sales meeting between ten regional offices. Carl is dialing the conference call repeatedly, trying to establish a connection with a bridge that won't take his pass code while Lydia is struggling to get logged onto the virtual meeting. Twenty documents are clogging the pipeline trying to jam their way onto Lydia's laptop, turning the conference video feed into a series of still images. Once the meeting does get underway, the entrance and exit of attendees continually interrupts the meeting flow prompting the inevitable "Who joined?" and "Who left?" again, and again and again.
Sure, those meetings are still more productive than what they replaced, but they're still far from ideal. Smooth collaboration and communication with anyone, anywhere is becoming essential to the enterprise. And not just with employees. As innovation enters the enterprise from the outside in, it's more important now to be able to connect effectively with customers, partners and vendors as well.
“Today's mobile work style seems like it's a real productivity booster”
All of this may illuminate the thinking behind a series of the recent acquisitions by Citrix. It's all about enabling a mobile work style: ShareFile to distribute content; Podio to organize workflow; Framehawk to quickly mobilize legacy applications; Zenprise to manage and secure large-scale deployments of mobile devices, and Octoblu to tie devices together in a seamless mesh. These are just a few of the key components Citrix has added to its platform to make the mobile work style manageable, productive and secure in enterprises of any size--from two-person startups to the Global 3000.
The idea is simple. The Internet of Everything (also referred to as the Internet of Things) needs to provide a point of entry for anyone, anywhere. And that's what the Citrix platform is making possible. It's becoming the interface we'll be able to use to marry our identity to our devices and enable them to assist us, largely behind the scenes and unnoticed, throughout the day.
Let's reimagine that same meeting scenario in the IoE world of the near future.
Entering the conference room at two, you greet Carl and Lydia seated comfortably around the table ready to engage in the weekly sales meeting between ten regional offices. As other participants begin to join the call, the conference bridge loses a trunk line to the Seattle office. No one realizes this because the call is automatically moved to another bridge with the same pass codes. No one "logs in" to the meeting because users are automatically joined to the conference either as they enter the room when they are detected via the device they have in hand, or they are automatically called via their preferred device while remote or in transit. Meeting documents are presented to them based on their attending device profile.
Your entrance to the iBeacon-enabled conference room is detected, and as the moderator, your entrance opens the call. No time is spent taking attendance because similarly-equipped “smart conference rooms” note the arrival and departure of other remote attendees. During the meeting, all notes and updates made to documents are synchronized to all attendees’ cloud drives and a summary of decisions and actions are distributed. The call ends five minutes early.
Making meetings like this possible will require the introduction of other technologies, like big data and analytics. Consider the automatic call routing in the second meeting scenario. Real-time analytics can identify problems like failing calls and take immediate action to re-route calls while preserving other meeting details (like the passcode). Analytics that look at meetings after the fact can help managers spot trends in meeting length, attendance and other factors that can help them make communications more efficient, or even more cost-effective. For example, determining which offices are able to make effective use of VoIP and which are relying on landlines can help shape future infrastructure investments.
These are exactly the types of scenarios Citrix and CSC are developing to help companies adopt a mobile workstyle. Since 2001, we've been working together to create a seamless workplace that's secure and collaborative, and is designed to help companies make better decisions faster. The entire Citrix XenMobile product suite, as well as XenDesktop, ShareFile and others are critical elements of the CSC MyWorkStyle offering.
And having said all that, you're still thinking about that meeting ending five minutes early, aren't you? That may be pure science fiction, but the rest is entirely plausible and coming soon.