Can Cloud manage your distributed people?

I’m on a complimentary webcast from Symantec hosted by IDC: A cloud based approach to managing today’s distributed workforce. Partly I want to take the chance to hear one of the IDC analysts I don’t know; and partly of course I’m interested in the Cloud theme. Though I expect product push as well as architecture and strategy from the Symantec speaker.

Starting with Stephen Drake of IDC: identifying key trends. No surprises: increasingly mobile workforce; acceptability of SaaS; consumeristation of IT; and – I like this – the IT-istion of consumers.

Mobility – includes taking account of staff moving around within the office or campus (IT support analysts are typical). Not just those away from base. A good mind-map taxonomy, overall. In the following discussion, I’d be interested to see Far East (China specifically) broken out of the mobile penetration figures; I’m hoping there will be focus on other than Western Europe which is being discussed right now. I’m also surprised the speaker seems to think SMBs trail large enterprises in the move to mobile, non-office working; my perception is that SMBs have been using this far longer, and corporates are still suspicious of it (“How can I manage my staff if they’re not under my nose?”).

Moving to SaaS: a survey of >300 organisations showed around 70% moving towards SaaS at least at exploration stage. And certainly the online accessibility of SaaS applications plays well to an increasingly distributed and mobile workforce. I wonder, myself, how this stacks against the increasing corporate tendency to see Cloud as just another form of outsourcing, and adopt “private clouds” (i.e. large scale shared internal infrastructure).

Key challenges include remote endpoint management as well as corporate preference to keep some critical apps on premise.

Now moving on to the Symantec speaker … offering experience from their own mobile and distributed workforce. Just a few prepared questions and answers. And now we are moving to the sales pitch for Symantec hosted services, just on the half hour. So I’m dropping off, not being a corporate with an outsourcing budget.

Conclusions at the end: it’s led me into noting a stream of Cloud webcasts from IDC and I appear to be able to register for them. I like the “IT-isation of consumers”; a bit of lateral thinking there. The Symantec speaker suffered from poor sound and no slides, so I don’t really know what she was saying but I don’t think there was great strategic insight for the enterprise; and I did expect more than 25 minutes of useful content before the sales person took over. But then, I didn’t pay for it.

Links:
Speakers’ bios: Stephen Drake (IDC) and Colleen Smith (Symantec)

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