Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th May 2008 13:41 UTC
Features, Office eWeek's Debra Donston has penned down five ways the end user desktop in enterprises will look different in five years. While some of her ideas and predictions make a low of sense, there are a few things which are slightly debatable. Mostly, the reliance on virtualisation and web applications.
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not too far a reach
by mabhatter on Fri 30th May 2008 16:58 UTC
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Really, TFA is just pointing out what's already in the process of happening. It's just that few IT managers see the whole picture yet.

Companies like Oracle are going after visualization as a means to streamline support and improve quality. You can download VMware images ready to go for certain products right now. That means you worry about getting VMware on your hardware and they only have to have drivers to support the VMware model..reducing the number of potential failures.

The big trend TFA missed is security. Security means keeping bad people out, information in, and having backups and recovery options. Visualization helps those goals because you have one "box" that does one task and it's easily replaceable... matching hardware and drivers don't matter when you have hardware failure and you need to run now. Separation of systems also means less cross-product bugs. Your Oracle install doesn't have to have any other unnecessary components, but the hardware can still have a browser or whatever else needed for usefulness.

Mobile users are becoming the norm. It's not so much "users" as "bosses" that want to be out golfing at 5pm and not just sitting around waiting on reports. There's also the fact that they can be notified by the plant equipment itself when trouble happens so they can be available to make decisions... very important.

To make that possible data will be sliced in to neat mobile-size pages. As that is built over time, the need for heavy desktop versions to get exactly the same data goes away. System monitors are now web page reports. Reports are now web pages, error messages are sent to mobiles... etc. Applications run next to the hardware/processes they are important to and feed the database.

The future is giving users access to their data and letting them share their "owned" data on pages they make. Sort of how online we have blogs, company managers will have their "process" pages and allow others to share them.

In the end, data becomes most important. We've severed ties to desktop apps by making it available to web and mobile users. Not all at once but in stages. We've severed ties to heavy computing hardware and software by using replaceable virtual machines and SQL links to web servers. The new backup tape becomes a "company in a box" with the right technologies in places the data can be reconfigured however the business owners need it to be.

Much how flexible windows hardware replaced over priced, proprietary mini-computers, OSS-based business processes will replace the complex licensing schemes as the established companies are still trying to tell you how to USE the software and the ways are about to drastically change again. Sure, not all apps will be web based, Some are too complex, but MOST will. Companies like Google sell "search-in-a-box" as well as some of their other products so a business can rent a system from Google and put it in their server room.. and still access it from the web... expect that to continue, selling software how the CUSTOMER wants. I don't like the meme of "thin clients" because that's not really going to happen in a centralized manner like they promised. The trend I see is small "disposable" machines. Powerful enough to run disconnected, but data synced well enough that techs replace one with software trouble to the user and re-flash them.. and most/all of the users data will already be captured to the network. An eeePC with a 19" monitor and standard keyboard would fill 80% of office users needs, and be mobile for work on the go. Companies are starting to understand that they buy software to fit THEIR business process, they don't change business process to fit the software vendor. Computing will be fun when that starts to catch on.

Reply Score: 4

RE: not too far a reach
by jabbotts on Fri 30th May 2008 18:24 in reply to "not too far a reach"
jabbotts Member since:

Security means keeping bad people out, information in, and having backups and recovery options.

Not a really important point but your level of security (it is a verb rather than a nown) includes keeping bad people out, keeping information in (or with authorized users). It also includes keeping good people from causing damages by accident (or being able too cause them purposfully of course) plus all aspects related too disaster recovery. Protecting data from bad guys is the most public and exciting concern of info security though so it get's the glory.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: not too far a reach
by Kroc on Fri 30th May 2008 21:02 in reply to "RE: not too far a reach"
Kroc Member since:

The problem is that the definition of "bad person" is defined in all the wrong ways. All "security" I've seen so far just brings fear, not peace. When thoughtcrime becomes reality, it'll be introduced all in the name of "security", just like all the CCTV cams in the UK that haven't actually done anything beneficial but instil useless fear in everybody.

Reply Parent Score: 3