Angela Salmeron
Angela Salmeron (Research Director, EMEA Sustainable Strategies and Technologies)

The digital workspace has become a buzzword that has been widely used (and sometimes misused) by the media and the industry. But does it deserve so much coverage? The short answer is yes.

Many enterprises are deploying ambitious digital transformation strategies to deliver sustained innovation and remain competitive. For them, a digital workspace is instrumental in their digital agenda, and probably the most impactful and empowering set of technologies for their workforce.

The digital workspace essentially enables employees to securely access the right apps and resources to get the job done with speed and ease. Easier said than done. IDC surveys show that securing (and managing) the new workstyles is very much a work in progress and the top Future of Work initiative for advanced digital companies.

These enterprises are becoming borderless — conducting business outside the traditional corporate firewall as they interact with customers and partners and embrace the gig economy. In this respect, implementing a digital workspace, and bringing together their fragmented end-user computing (EUC) environment into a single centralized management model, is vital.

But how to make it work for both IT administrators and employees? How to make it “control freedom”? How to make it intelligent?

The Intelligent Digital Workspace

An intelligent digital workspace, with the right ingredients, can be truly transformational:

  • Real-time analytics can provide vital insights about the health of an EUC environment. For example, IT admins can identify assets with patch vulnerabilities.
  • Advanced analytics can proactively identify anomalies before they cause work disruption, improving end-user experience. For example, IT admins can stop a new app deployment if an unusual crash error is noticed. Even better, automated remediation can reprovision the app to the last known version that did work.
  • Visualizing tools can help with user profiling, optimizing IT assets to the individual needs of employees and generating cost savings.
  • Intelligent insights can drive significant operational efficiencies to both IT and employees: the latter (and crucially contractual workers) can be productive from day one; IT administrators can better plan and optimize EUC deployments.

Finally, and most importantly, an intelligent digital workspace can improve the security risk posture of an organization.

While a “zero trust” security approach has been widely adopted today — meaning that devices, apps, and users are not trusted and therefore require verification before privileged access is granted — many companies are implementing intelligent policy automation. Using real-time intelligence, this automatically adjusts access controls depending on the risk score of the logging event.

For example, it can prompt users for further authentication or deny access altogether for a high security risk score event.

A risk-based security policy model can be personalized to employees and evolve throughout their stay with a company. The main objective, after all, is to minimize security risk and reduce insider threats, without getting in the way of business.

In conclusion, an intelligent digital workspace delivers important benefits to different stakeholders across the organization: IT (for operational efficiencies), security (for improved risk posture), finance (for cost savings), HR (for greater end-user experience), and business managers (for higher productivity). Involving all these stakeholders for a holistic approach is crucial for its long-term success.

The industry has plenty of digital workspace solutions, but only a few are truly intelligent and deliver the benefits highlighted above. Do you know their vendors and IT services providers?

Stay tuned and learn more about the digital workspace in the following IDC research program: European Future of Work.

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