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What to expect from Windows 11

There are a lot of rumours coming out of Redmond right now. What we’re seeing is the convergence of lots of different strands of Microsoft’s future Windows strategy: Windows 11, 10X, Deschuttes (Cloud PC).

In the absence of facts, and my general impatience for all the announcements coming on the 24th, here are my thoughts about where Windows is headed in the immediate future:

The end of Windows 10

Unless there’s some pretty comprehensive disinformation campaign going in from MS, it seems pretty evident now that Microsoft is closing the book on Windows 10. That’s taken everyone by surprise, as back in 2015 Microsoft stated that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows. We heard terms like ‘evergreen’ used to describe that fact that Windows 10 would become ‘Windows as a Service’, receiving content updates over its now infinite lifecycle.

From what we’ve seen, it looks like Microsoft will go back on that commitment with the release of Windows 11. But why damage some of that goodwill by releasing a new OS?

The Azure Equation

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Microsoft’s big strategy over the past 5 years has been to move as many workloads as possible to Azure. And the have been tremendously successful. Azure is catching up with AWS and now has around 20% market share compared to Amazon’s 32%. Nadella’s strategy of focusing on Office365 customers and gradually incentivising customers to make the move to Azure has paid hug dividends. In late 2019, MS took this one step further by introducing Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). This was released at just the right moment to offer an easy onramp to VDI for businesses hit by the pandemic in March 2020.

Growth of WVD has been spectacular, and MS has invested a lot of resources, building in new features and capabilities on an almost weekly basis. The success of WVD has lead to whole ecosystem of vendors such as Citrix, VMware and Nerdio building their offerings and their future strategies on integration with this stack.

A curious development over the past week or so has been that Microsoft has changed the name of WVD to Azure Virtual Desktops, or AVD. To me, this links up with the next key development that I’m expecting to see on the 24th:

Deschutes

Microsoft have been dropping hints about another one of their key developments for over a year. This project, codenamed Deschuttes, or better known as Cloud PC, has been kept under wraps longer than most other Windows developments. From what I can tell, Cloud PC is a true Desktop-as-a-Service offering from Microsoft, allowing users to use their own device as a thin client to get access to their AVD session. There are also rumours that this will integrate with Microsoft Endpoint Manager to enable full endpoint management along with the cloud desktop. The renaming of WVD seems to support this. To me, this looks like Microsoft is starting to bring its EUC capabilities together into a genuine Digital Workspace, similar to VMware’s Workspace ONE. This also looks like it will be a flat per user price for existing Microsoft365 customers.

Windows 10X

Windows 10X was s strange beast. It was originally designed for Microsoft’s dual screen Surface Due, but the two screen approach was dropped early on. It was then redirected towards the single screen Surface Neo, before this idea was then dropped. Early this year, we began to see preview versions that suggested that 10X was going to become a thin operating system, replacing Windows 10 S and possibly taking the place that was once occupied by Windows RT (remember that?). This would make sense in a world heading towards SaaS and AVD. There were even suggestions that 10X could have been the thin endpoint OS designed for Cloud PC.

However, last month we got confirmation that 10x had been cancelled and that the UI capabilities were being ported to the next Windows release named ‘Sun Valley’, which many of us assumed would be Windows 10 21H2. Early screenshots of Windows 11 suggest that those UI changes are now in Windows 11. 

My thoughts

Here are my predictions, and these could be massively wrong and very far wide of the mark:

Windows 11 will no longer support Active Directory.

Windows 10 built on top of Windows 8.1’s CSPs and modern management framework. Many organisations are now enrolling their devices into Intune rather than AD. AD is an old technology, first seeing the light of day with Windows 2000. There is very little reason in 2021 to add a Windows device to AD. Indeed, the only reason we did it before now was because Group Policy was the only way to centrally manage Windows. We no longer need to do this.

Windows 11 will be a streamlined, modular OS

Windows 10 didn’t know what it wanted to be so it did everything. Expect Windows 11 to be more modular with the ability to install with a minimal number of services enabled.

Windows 11 will have deep integrations with Azure by default

Windows 10 was released before Microsoft had fully realised its Azure strategy.  We’ve already seen that there will be a lot of deep integration with Azure in Windows 11. Early screenshots have shown prompts for OneDrive during install among other intentions.

MSIX will become the default way to install native apps

Following on from Apple’s move with macOS in 2018, support for older app architectures, such as 32 bit apps, may be dropped. 

Windows 11 will require a level of hardware certification

Older versions of Windows have tried to be as hardware agnostic as possible. macOS and ChromeOS have much tighter integrations with their hardware.

The home version of Windows 11 will be a rebranded version of Windows10 X.

It will have more in common in with ChromeOS than Windows 10 and be built for SaaS, VDI and the Web.

Despite all of the above, Microsoft may surprise us on June 24th. Don’t worry though, I’ll be ready to provide my opinions on the 25th!

Just enough OS to perform

Yep, this seems like a strange title. I’ve actually taken it from the title of the band Stereophonic’s 3rd studio album ‘Just enough education to perform’. Give it a listen.

Back to the operating system. Did you know that there’s a concept in Operating System thinking called ‘Just Enough OS’, or JeOS? You can check this out in more detail here.

The key concept of JeOS is that in some applications or scenarios, you don’t need a full-blown traditional OS. You can get away with a very slim OS layer that just carries out the tasks required of the application.

Just enough for…?

The key question here is ‘Just enough OS for what?’. Well that depends on what the OS’s user is trying to do. Traditionally, with native, local applications, you need a lot of OS to ensure compatibility, including backwards compatibility with older application architectures.

The firm direction for applications though is for less native and more SaaS. Even more interestingly, these SaaS applications are increasingly being brokered by Digital Workspace solutions such as VMware Workspace ONE. It’s conceivable that in 5 years time, SaaS apps and Digital Workspaces will be the primary method of application delivery and consumption in most organisations.

In that case, how much OS is Just Enough? What do we actually need from the OS to enable access to the Digital Workspace?

Basics of an Operating System

Well, there are some basic capabilities. First, the OS needs to be able to interface with the available hardware. There needs to be IO Management, Drivers, Storage and Networking Management etc. Then, there needs to be integrations with various services, the User Interface (UI) and of course the ability to enable some local applications.

Once that stuff is in place, we should be good to go. Remember, that when we’re connecting to a true Digital Workspace, most of the compute and app requirements are being taken care of somewhere else. We’re just consuming the end result.

Let’s have a look at a traditional OS connecting to a Digital Workspace:

You can see here that in this case, the traditional OS (Windows) contains all of the key services we need in an OS. However, it also has a lot of ‘stuff’ that we probably wouldn’t need when connecting to a Digital Workspace. That’s because Windows has a lot of additional capabilities that were built for the era of local computing. These components aren’t useless, they just won’t matter for most users in a modern SaaS environment.

How many enterprise users will be using Xbox services? Does anyone actually use Cortana, like, ever?

What about an OS designed for SaaS?

Let’s have a look at an OS that’s been designed for the SaaS era:

See the difference? The same core capabilities are there, including interfacing with the underlying hardware and the ability to broker access to local apps should they be required. However, everything superfluous has been removed. Only what is necessary to connect to a Digital Workspace is in the OS.

There are obviously some key benefits to this, from reducing the attack surface from a security perspective to requiring fewer resources from the hardware layer to offer the same experience.

Windows is a great operating system, and the foundation for most modern organisations. As we get deeper into the SaaS era though, it’s time to reconsider how much OS you actually need at the edge.

A new way of understanding EUC for the 2020s

Remember back when End User Computing was just about which version of Windows you had installed on your PCs? That seems so long ago now. But even then we (the EUC industry, not the ‘Royal We’) complained that it was pretty tough.

Back then, if we were going to draw a diagram of EUC, we’d probably just draw a couple of PCs on a single slide and then stick our collection of PCLM tools around them. I still have a few slides like that somewhere…

How different it is now!

These days we talk about DEX, UEM, VDI, RDS, ICA, HDX, IAM and others. It’s a jungle of terms and topics. I’ve got a pretty good handle on the state of the EUC industry, the different players and trends, and what’s hot and what’s not. But then that’s my job. For a customer trying to work out the industry, it must be an absolute nightmare. The big analysts are out there offering some help. I, however, am a very visual person. I just want to see what the hot topics are, where the different vendors fit in, and which vendors complement each other.

Above is my system for doing this.

People in the industry I’ve shown this to have variously called it ‘The EUC Honeycomb’, or The Matrix.

One of the big benefits of this system is that I can demonstrate where different players across the EUC space can work together to provide a more comprehensive solution for customers and partners.

Here’s an example of a big Digital Workspace Vendor integrated with IGEL:

There is a key for the above, but very basically, the brighter the hue of the hexagon, the stronger the vendor plays in that space.

Now, a lot of this is based on my own opinion of a vendor’s capabilities reached through my own research and also speaking to employees of the vendors themselves.

I’m working on codifying my scoring system, and also providing my definitions for each of these areas. I’ve found so far though that it’s been very well received and simplifies conversations when it comes to the overall EUC ecosystem.

Give me a shout with any questions!

Surely IGEL OS is only useful on the LAN?

That’s what I thought too. When I had my initial chat with the team at IGEL, my though process was very much that IGEL wasn’t relevant due to the pandemic. That’s a Thin Client OS, right? Turns out I was wrong (very rarely happens).

In fact, IGEL had one of its best years ever when everyone was locked up at home.

Why?

IGEL started moving away from hardware several years ago, and is now firmly in the edge OS camp. And an edge OS is pretty rubbish if it can’t be deployed at, well, the edge.

One of the core components of the IGEL platform is the Universal Management Suite, or UMS. It provides all of the device registration, configuration and management tasks for the edge devices. In a LAN environment, devices running IGEL OS will just connect directly to the DNS name of the UMS server(s) or the load balancer. When a device is external however, that’s gets a lot more difficult, and you definitely don’t want to expose a management tool like UMS directly to the internet.

The IGEL platform includes a capability known as the IGEL Cloud Gateway, or ICG. It’s this little box of magic that allows devices outside of the corporate LAN to still be managed by UMS.

This is a great way of extending the secure OS or bubble of an enterprise anywhere the user is, rather than tying them to a location, or forcing them to use a VPN.

Here’s a quick video I put together to show what this looks like:

Arm you say? Running IGEL OS? With Workspace ONE??

Yep!

My view (stated probably too much in this blog) is that our job in EUC is to make tech as invisible as possible for the end user. For too long, humans have had to put up with fat, bloated operating systems sitting on awesomely powerful devices, simply to get access to what actually amounts to low resource-intensive apps.

A lot of the time these days, these apps aren’t even doing a great deal locally, as most of the processing is done in the ‘cloud’.

The Digital Workspace is one such cloud-enabled solution to getting access to apps and services. What if we could almost dispense with the requirements at the user-side (User-End Computing? I think I’ll trademark that)? Well, we can, by shrinking the OS and the device to its bare minimum.

Introducing VMware Workspace ONE running on IGEL OS on a Raspberry Pi 4-based NComputing RX420(IGEL) device:

Employee Experience & Human Bandwidth

Information is my drug of choice. I absorb it from multiple different sources: Wikipedia, BBC News, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and others. To be honest, I don’t remember a great deal of it, but I hope that it helps to shape my world view and along with critical thinking, enables me to make the right choices in my personal and professional life.

I hate anything that gets in the way of absorbing information. A flaky internet connection, Windows updates, a faulty or poorly formatted website. Even worse, a badly written piece that makes the easy absorption of information more difficult than it needs to be (oh the irony).

This is why I’ve been looking into technology that will help me to ‘mainline’ all that lovely information straight into my brain. Surely, there’s a more efficient way to consume info?

Me eldest son has inattentive-type ADHD, which means that he is very easily distracted. I have many of the same traits. So, if my information source isn’t engaging and frictionless, I’ll abandon it quickly.

Information Theory applied to humans

Turns out that technology is not really the issue here. In a world of multiple petabytes of data, with internet connections in excess of multiple Gbps, we’ve simply started to run up against a much more fundamental limit, out own human bandwidth.

Our brains have evolved to provide us just enough information to survive. This includes evading predators and finding foods and viable mates. A lot of the decisions we make are based on small amounts of key information from our senses, with the rest supplied by a ‘model’ of the world generated completely within our own heads. In fact, evidence suggests that our brain has already created this model of the world, and just updates this model based on limited information from the senses.

So, how much information are our senses sending to our brain at any given moment? We actually know the answer to this. All in, it’s roughly 11Mbps. That’s not a lot, when we consider the rich, detailed world most of us appear to live in.

Even more surprisingly, our brain also seems to be further compressing and reducing the already limited amount of data from our senses. In fact, tests based on average reading speed suggest that the actual amount of information we register consciously could be as low as 50bps. That’s right, 50bps!

If the above really is the case, then we need to be protecting this most precious resource – our attention – by any means possible.

Digital Employee Experience / DEX / EUEM

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Our main job in IT is to get information into the hands of humans, wherever they are, in the quickest, most reliable and most secure way possible. To do this, we need to remove as much technological distraction from a user’s line of sight as possible.

In fact, when we’re distracted from a task, it can take an average of 23 minutes to recover our attention and get back to our previous level of focus.

What are our options here for keeping our busy bees… busy with work, and not distractions?

In IT, we should probably start with eliminating any annoying tech problems. At the moment, probably chief among them is how frustrating it can be to have a slow or laggy Zoom or Teams call. Imagine IT could pull back realtime performance data from every device, even home workers, and understand network latency, CPU utilisation and application patch status.

Then imagine that IT could proactively update a network driver, or roll out a patch to Teams, or change a Zoom setting to make better use of the available network.

Finally, imagine all of this happening in the background, without the user having to report a problem to IT.

THIS is Digital Employee Experience Management, and it is the future of EUC. This is also something key vendors have available now, from VMware to ControlUP and specialists such as Nexthink, Lakeside and Qualtrics. Even Microsoft have recently got in on the act.

I used to be an IT Manager, and I was pretty bad at it. My usual excuse is that I’m a visionary, not a manager. These sorts of statements are why I’ve turned off comments on my blog…

Anyway, one of the things I noticed as an IT Manager was that I very rarely got a call from users saying: “Hey Ben, you’re doing a great job!”. This may have been because I was doing a crappy job. Or it may have been that human nature is not to notice when things work, only when they don’t. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Our users may not notice a lack of distractions and an improvement in performance and reliability, but businesses will love the productivity gains and general improvement in user sentiment.

Wrap Up

So, from a technology perspective, how can we ensure that users are maximising their productivity, minimising distractions and being their best version of themselves? Here are some suggestions:

  • Use a password-less toolset that makes sign on as invisible as possible
  • Use a Digital Workspace. Abstract the user’s productivity space from device, location and ecosystem
  • Consider an Enterprise App Store. Provide users with the bare minimum of apps they need, and then let them self select the rest
  • Make the endpoint invisible. Remove as many distractions, bells and whistles as possible. It shouldn’t matter what device the user is using, as long as they have access to the apps they need, when they need them. Yes, this is a shameless IGEL OS plug.
  • Pre-emptively fix experience problems before they become a productivity problem. Is your EUEM platform telling you that Teams isn’t performing as well as it could? Fix it before it impacts productivity.

While network bandwidth is increasing all the time, human bandwidth is something we can’t realistically change right now. Over the coming years, this is going to become one of the biggest issues in computing. Check out Brian Roemmele’s fascinating take on this.

In the meantime though, let’s do what we can to keep our users awesome! And productive. And not shouting in vain at their devices…

What does the OS of the future look like?

I’ve worked in End User Computing for what feels like a very long time. I’ve come to realise that EUC is different. It’s different because it’s the only branch of IT that should be more concerned with removing technology than introducing it.

Whoa, what? Yup. You have to remember that the humans who use enterprise tech on a daily basis aren’t actually interested in IT. They don’t care about the late nights spent keeping the lights on, the cloud, or our backup and recovery regimens. They only care about getting access to their business information, and the apps and devices that make that happen. Our job in IT is to remove technology from their line of sight, so that they can get their jobs done with as little distraction as possible.

In line with this, and I probably shouldn’t say this, seeing as I work for an OS vendor, but I believe that an operating system should be invisible. At its core, an OS should broker access to applications in the most reliable, performant and secure way possible.

An OS of the future should be like an F1 car. To get the best performance out of an F1 car, every piece of excess weight is ditched. Everything is lightweight. The reason? F1 constructors have a simple mission: Ensure speed, handling, reliability and safety. Anything that doesn’t fit this mission is jettisoned. You won’t find a media system or air conditioning in an F1 car.

Traditional operating systems have been closer to trucks. They have everything a user could ever need onboard. It’s only with the latest release of Windows 10 that the frankly pointless ‘3D objects’ folder will be removed. Did you ever use that folder? Me neither.

One of the first things most enterprises do when provisioning Windows 10 is to either create a custom image with as many features disabled as possible or create a provisioning package that does the same.

Where are we on this journey to a future OS?

We’re starting to see a pivot towards this future OS, and it’s happening quickly.

Lat year, for the first time, a lightweight OS outsold one of the big two operating systems. In 2020, ChromeOS outsold macOS in almost every quarter.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that a big reason for this was the fact that a LOT of people needed access to cheap laptop-type devices as quickly as possible. ChromeBooks fit that bill to a certain extent, especially for consumers.

There’s a deeper reason here though. Over the past few years, the global app ecosystem has started to shift from ‘thick’ applications towards thin, lightweight and agile SaaS apps. In this new world, a thin, lightweight, agile OS makes sense.

Windows was never designed to be lightweight. Think about where it came from though. The first iteration of Windows in 1985 was all about providing a GUI to make use of a mouse that had been rolled out 2 years before. Understandably, this wasn’t an OS built to make the most of the internet age. It wasn’t until Windows 3.11 in 1991 that networking was even introduced. Windows 95 was the first ‘connected’ Windows OS with limited internet connectivity, but it was a product of its time. All iterations of Windows since that first one way back in the 80s have carried the baggage of the ‘do everything locally’ model.

The last time Microsoft released a lightweight OS, is failed and was discontinued soon after release. That OS was Windows RT. It was the right OS at the wrong time. It was small, with a modern build methodology. It failed because it relied on modern and SaaS applications, at a time when SaaS apps themselves hadn’t quite reached maturity. The fact that it didn’t support Win32 meant that it didn’t have a place in the enterprise either.

Since Windows RT, internet bandwidth has increased massively, and more and more apps have moved to SaaS and subscription. Whereas previously SaaS apps were the poor relation to traditional ‘thick’ apps, now in many ways they are their equal, and most future development effort is going into making them even more advanced.

We’ve seen another trend emerge too along with SaaS apps, and that’s the SaaS workspace. This is embodied by the Digital Workspace. A true Digital Workspace is built around providing access to any app, anywhere on any device.

But what about thick Windows apps?

An interesting concept I came across at VMware was that there is actually an easy way to ‘SaaSify’ Windows apps. First, let me apologise for one of the greatest examples of butchery of the English language ever. Second, let’s think about that concept a bit. We’ve been virtualising Windows apps for a long time, via Citrix & VMware and now Microsoft. However, what we’re doing when we virtualise them is simply making them SaaS applications.

To consume the new reality of cloud-based and SaaSified (sorry, sorry, sorry) Windows applications, you need an OS that is optimised for these types of apps.

This is where the leading lightweight OSs, like IGEL OS and ChromeOS come in. They are built for the internet age, for presenting access to the apps that really matter to the end user. They have been built with the understanding that users are really not interested in the operating system, that they want to use their applications on any device, from anywhere.

The Future is Hedgehog shaped

IGEL OS takes this concept a step further. Unlike ChromeOS, IGEL OS started life in the enterprise, and it shows. Security and enterprise-level manageability are built into its foundations. It has unparalleled integrations with the big VDI vendors, including Citrix, VMware and Microsoft, to ensure that Windows applications are always available, without the overhead of running those apps locally. When it comes to extensibility, there are over 100 local integrations with leading enterprise software vendors, from ControlUP & Veridium to Zoom & Teams.

Another key benefit of IGEL OS is that it isn’t tied to specific hardware. As long as the device matches certain minimum spec, such as CPU and RAM, it will work on most x86-based platforms. Extending this is the announcement made earlier this year of IGEL’s first Arm-based implementation, in partnership with Ncomputing.

The new world of SaaS applications is here. It is only going to grow over the coming months and years. To make the most of these lightweight, agile apps, you need a lightweight and agile OS. You need IGEL OS in your enterprise.

My honest opinion on Citrix vs VMware

Since joining IGEL, I’ve been asked several times, (by people who should know better!), about my thoughts on these two EUC giants. I also realise that I have to be VERY careful when answering questions of this type, as, in the words of Family Guy, IT’S A TRAP!

However, seeing as there aren’t many of us who have worked for both vendors, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and decided to write a short brief on the strengths of both, while avoiding anything that looks like I’m favouring one over the other. And don’t worry, I’ve run this through friends and ex-colleagues at both tech titans and they’re cool with it…

What they have in common

First off, they’re both AWESOME companies. Between them they have created whole EUC markets and forged a path that others have followed. I have a strong belief that EUC doesn’t get the focus it deserves in the tech industry, and both Citrix and VMware have been instrumental in raising its profile.

Ok, let’s have a look at Citrix

Citrix’s core strength is that they get the idea of WORK, which is what EUC is all about. The first time I heard the greatest EUC tagline of all time was at a Citrix Kick Off in Orlando: “Work is not a place, it’s something you do.”

This abstraction from a technology conversation into one that makes sense for actual human beings is quite a difficult thing to do for most tech companies, but Citrix have this nailed.

Citrix have led the EUC field since the late 80s and have become synonymous with the whole field of remote working. In fact, Microsoft’s offerings in this space have their roots in a licensing deal with Citrix struck in 1997.

It’s this heritage that means so many of the world’s largest businesses use Citrix as a foundational piece of their EUC estate, whether that’s via Virtual Apps & Desktops or through their much-loved NetScaler solutions.

Another key strength that Citrix has is their broad embrace of the wider EUC ecosystem. In my experience, Citrix has always understood that a comprehensive EUC solution requires many best-of-breed partners, from analytics to endpoints. When I was at Citrix, it was common to work with a stack of EUC leaders such as AppSense, Atlantis and IGEL to ensure the customer always had the best overall solution for their needs. Citrix is the glue that holds many of these ecosystems together, and the customer is better off for it.

How about VMware?

VMware is a shining light in terms of technology and innovation. VMware has built an EUC offering that covers all of the bases and leads in many of them. VMware has pioneered the Digital Workspace, almost single handedly creating the concept and the market, while others have followed their lead.

VMware’s hybrid multi-cloud strategy is a huge boost for its EUC division, meaning that VMware’s cloud offerings are truly built for the cloud and available in all major public cloud providers. VMware’s VMC platform allows native VMware virtualisation technologies to run on Amazon AWS tin in AWS datacentres; there are similar offerings from Microsoft (Azure VMware Solutions) and Google. This makes VMware’s EUC solutions easily transportable between the major public cloud providers.

VMware has also recruited many of the biggest names in EUC, including Brian Madden, Shawn Bass and Ben Ward (see what I did there?), which is a massive vote of confidence in the overall EUC message. That message has also evolved to take in the latest trends in EUC, including Digital Employee Experience Management, Zero Trust and Intelligence. It’s a constantly evolving platform.

Who wins?

You can probably tell from the above that I’m not about to make a recommendation about whether Citrix or VMware are ‘better’. In my experience, Citrix has a core of very dedicated customers and partners. Many workplace strategists have built their careers on Citrix, and many technology partners have done the same. For some of the world’s biggest enterprises, Citrix’s solutions are core to the way they do business.

VMware has a much broader portfolio of solutions. I’ve found that for many businesses that already use VMware technology, either at the virtualisation layer or further up the stack in networking or storage, using VMware’s EUC offerings just makes sense. Build on top of this the many customers that AirWatch had before VMware acquired it, and many businesses see no need to stray outside of VMware.

Summary

Over the past year, and for all the wrong reasons, End User Computing has finally been thrust into the public consciousness. It is the interface between an enterprise and its employees. It is the driver of success for many, many enterprises, and it has shown itself to be an indispensable toolset for every business in the world.

Every vendor in the EUC space brings something different to the table and has its place in the enterprise. Choosing which ones make sense can be tough, but the fact that there is so much choice is testament to how important the field of EUC is and how a thriving ecosystem is good for everyone. Go Citrix! Go VMware! Go Microsoft! Go IGEL!

GO EUC!

So, what’s the hottest EUC trend in 2021?

I decided to put this question to the public vote, and I’ll be honest, the result didn’t surprise me.

We’ve just been through the most disruptive year since the 1940s, and that’s bound to shake up IT priorities. One of the biggest outcomes of the pandemic has been the massive shift to remote working.

I’ve personally seen customers rapidly roll out Virtual Apps & Desktops projects in super-quick time, along with adopting cloud strategies they’d previously put off. I’ve also seen a renewed focus on security, with Zero-Trust being seen as critical for workers now operating from their kitchens.

Why didn’t the results surprise me? Well, Employee Experience has been booming over the past 12 months. Just look at the exec moves in EUC recently. Jeff Mitchell, previously Global VP of Sales for EUC at VMware, made a move to Nexthink, the DEX leader last year. Earlier this year, long time veteran of Microsoft, Brad Anderson, moved to Qualtrics, another leader in this space.

What I didn’t expect was for DEX to be so far out in front of IAM. DEX leads by a country mile. Also, it’s easy to feel sorry for UEM and Virtual Apps & Desktops. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this is simply a survey of the hottest EUC topics. UEM and Virtual Apps & Desktops still make up the majority of EUC strategies and the EUC installed base.

This has been a fascinating insight. I think I’m going to have to run some more LinkedIn polls! In the meantime, keep a look out for the video I’m creating that explores the above in more detail.