Implementing a Digital Workspace Increases Revenue and Security Risks

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By: Jeff Bertolucci|

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Early adopters of digital workspace technologies gain business, financial and operational benefits that can provide a competitive edge over other organizations. But these perks come with a catch: Every effective workspace requires strong security and identity management to protect sensitive data, modernize operations and engage customers.

This challenge is reflected in the latest VMWare State of the Digital Workspace survey, which polled 1,200 global CIOs, decision-makers and IT professionals in July 2016. The study confirmed that the advantages of digital transformation are coupled with potential pitfalls — most notably an increase in device management complexity and security risks.

Transformation in Progress

A digital workspace enables employees to use any desktop or device — whether personal or corporate — to work anywhere. Then, it’s up to the IT department to safely automate software updates and distribute apps on the fly. The potential payoff is huge, particularly for organizations that welcome mobile devices to encourage information-sharing and innovation. In fact, VMWare found that linking digital workspaces to mobile systems yielded a 200 percent return on investment compared to just a 100 percent ROI for organizations who didn’t implement this initiative.

Perhaps this explains why digital transformation is an executive priority in 62 percent of organizations, up from 56 percent a year earlier. The study also found mobile initiatives are popular among executives, with 78 percent of organizations reporting they have either successfully completed or are actively executing one.

With that in mind, respondents cited two main goals for their workspace investments: improving team productivity and business process re-engineering.

Security Challenges

It’s no surprise executives are concerned about security. The growing number of mobile devices and access points raises the risk of data breaches — either through employee carelessness or malicious activity. Nearly half of executives and IT leaders polled named security as their top priority as they move to a digital workspace. Their main concerns include device security and control, risk of data loss and management complexity and cost.

On the plus side, the survey also found digital workspaces can aid in the adoption of business mobility initiatives: 45 percent of respondents said a workspace with security and compliance tools, mobile device management and identity management software can effectively handle compliance and security risks.

Geographical Variation

The VMWare study also uncovered some surprising differences in how workspace initiatives are implemented globally. Companies in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, for instance, are actively executing business mobility at a much higher rate than other regions, including North America (NA) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). This lead, however, may be due to APAC’s slower start in mobile adoption. In 2015, companies from EMEA were executing these initiatives faster than their counterparts in NA and APAC.

Industry Differences

As with geography, the survey revealed some unexpected differences in how industries are executing mobility initiatives. For instance, while the technology industry had the highest number of active business mobility initiatives over the past year, financial services took the lead in successfully executed initiatives. And health care topped other industries when it came to seeing gains from these efforts.

So what’s the best way to implement a digital workspace? Survey respondents offered these four key tips:

  • Educate users before implementing new software.
  • Make strategic gains a greater priority than cost savings.
  • Establish a mobility center of excellence for the business.
  • Be realistic about your time estimates to assess and deploy the initiative.

Keeping these strategies in mind can help to build iron-clad mobile initiatives that drive business forward. To reap the full rewards of digital workspace technology, addressing security concerns must remain a top priority.

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About The Author

Jeff Bertolucci

News Writer

Jeff Bertolucci is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in technology, digital media, and education. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, InformationWeek, PCWorld, Macworld, The Saturday Evening Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.