CorporateBlog

Trends and opinions for improved IT service management and client management

Posted By: Anonymous
28 Mar 2014

Roberto Casetta, FrontRangeEmpowering a mobile workforce is essential in any modern enterprise to meet business goals and remain competitive. Mobility increases end user productivity, agility and job satisfaction, resulting in improved business performance. Although workforce mobility is most often associated with the adoption of portable devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets), the topic is actually more applicable to the portability of IT services. The core goal of mobility is to enable users to access business resources – including applications, data and other services (such as email, messaging and databases) – from any device at any location at any time.

Ironically, most end users have already embraced mobility concepts and incorporated them into their regular work experience. In fact, according to research by industry analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA),roughly 58% of mobile device users and 29% of laptop users actually purchased the devices themselves and brought them into their workplace.

No longer content with being chained to an office environment, workers are demanding unprecedented mobile access to business IT resources.  In many cases, IT managers have been caught unprepared to support the influx of new requirements for supporting mobility. Introducing enterprise mobility is therefore primarily a challenge for IT operations to accept changes to its processes that will foster improved workforce productivity.

However, introducing process changes to support mobility is not a trivial matter. IT administrators are already exceptionally busy meeting existing server and desktop support requirements and service level agreements, while meeting security and compliance objectives. Typically, IT administrators spend the bulk of their time on reactionary “firefighting,” often requiring an inordinate amount of out-of-hours support. This leaves little time to implement new procedures for extending support to an additional set of mobile devices and operating systems.

Further resistance to supporting enterprise mobility comes from the fact that IT administrators are used to having complete control of the endpoints they support and are often reluctant to allow end users the freedom to select and use devices without restrictions.

To be effective in supporting workforce mobility, IT administrators must focus on the secure delivery of services, rather than maintaining control over the endpoints. Devices also still need to be managed, but just to ensure they are optimally configured to perform business tasks, rather than fully governed by IT operations. This can be a difficult concept for IT administrators to accept as they must let end users take some or all responsibility for their own devices.

Enterprise mobility management processes shift the role of IT administrators to focus primarily on the secure and reliable delivery of business IT resources in order to empower end users with the flexibility to perform business tasks on any device with which they will be most effective.

Transitioning IT Operations to Support Workforce Mobility

In order for IT administrators to successfully enable enterprise mobility, management processes must be adopted that effectively reduce administrative efforts and costs while enabling broad but secure end user access to business IT resources.  Methods for achieving this can be logically segmented into three key areas.

Consolidate Management Processes and Resources

All user devices used to perform business tasks – including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop – should be monitored and managed from a single unified console.  Begin by discovering configuration and status details on all devices and recording them in a consolidated asset data repository.  This enables a holistic view across the support stack to facilitate a rapid identification of issues and provides administrators with the strategic information necessary to make informed decisions on optimal configurations and proactive improvements.

Business applications, data, and services should also be consolidated onto enterprise servers (rather than distributed on endpoints) and then delivered to remote devices as a services. This creates a single point of management for business resources, greatly simplifying tasks such as patching, updating, and configuring.  By shifting the primary management focus towards securing and delivering IT resources (rather than physical devices) administrators are able to address business-facing challenges while reducing support efforts.  Additionally, delivering business resources as services allows end users to provision them on any device they wish.

Isolate Business Resources from Users’ Personal Resources

To ensure users have the freedom to employ their devices (whether employee or business-owned) in any capacity they choose, only the business resources that are served to the endpoints should be subject to enterprise restrictions.  To enable this, business resources must be isolated from personal applications and data.  The most common processes for achieving this include ‘containerisation’, virtualisation, and application wrapping.  Regardless of which method is employed, the ability to move between business and personal resources should be simple and intuitive to the end users to ensure they remain productive.  In this way IT administrators can enforce business requirements on the isolated resources without impacting or diminishing the users’ ability to perform personal tasks on the devices.

Enable End User Self-Service

End users should have the ability to provision their own devices with little or no interaction with IT operations.  This can be accomplished with a consolidated application delivery system, such as a mobile AppStore, that provides a “one stop shopping” experience for accessing all business applications, including static applications, virtual applications, and web applications.  Similarly, data can be stored and distributed via a secure share or other centralised and commonly accessed repository.  All provisioning procedures should include approval and authentication processes to ensure resources are only accessed by authorised personnel.

In Summary

At the core of enterprise mobility management is the need to enable a secure, user-focused delivery of IT resources and services.  However, this cannot be effectively implemented unless it also includes processes for minimising administrative efforts.  By not trying to “drink the ocean” in supporting everything installed on every device employed by every user, and instead focusing on the secure delivery of business IT resources as a service, administrator time is used more efficiently – the number of user requests are greatly reduced, management complexities are minimised, and the need for out-of-hours support becomes a rare event.  In reducing requirements, administrators are freed up to implement new and enhanced business-facing IT services and transform the delivery of endpoint management services into being proactive, rather than reactive.

 

Article originally appeared in ITSM Review on March 11, 2014

Posted By: Sabrina Hengehold
12 Mar 2014

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web and to demonstrate its astronomical growth during this time, hybrid software solutions provider, FrontRange, has issued an infographic analysing worldwide internet activity in just a single second.

“One second may not sound like much but that’s testament to the power of the web, an awful lot can happen in this time,” said David Puglia, CMO at FrontRange.

The full infographic can be seen here (link) but here’s a snapshot of its key findings.

Each second:

  •          UK users post 13.5 selfies online
  •          1,363,426 spam emails are sent
  •          1.6 websites are created (18,144 novels worth of blog content is created each day)
  •          10 minutes of music is uploaded to Soundcloud
  •          8 comments are posted to Reddit
  •          1 edit is made to Wikipedia
  •          7.79 terabytes of information is transferred
Posted By: Holger Weeres
27 Jan 2014

Holger Weeres, FrontRangeEarlier this month, on the Microsoft Threat Research & Response Blog, Microsoft revealed that it would be extending its antimalware support for Windows XP beyond the original end of support date of April 8, 2014. So, while Windows XP users will not receive any free or paid assisted support or any online technical content updates after this date, they will still continue to receive updates to the Windows XP antimalware signatures and engine until July 14, 2015.

When Microsoft originally announced that security patch support for Windows XP would end in April 2014, the hope was to force all customers off Windows XP and at the same time increase the adoption rate of Windows 8. After an initial quick decline of XP and a growing market share of Windows 7, this trend slowed down significantly and, according to NetmarketShare, has almost ground to a halt over the last few months.

Windows 8 is struggling, with most larger companies upgrading their XP machines slowly to Windows 7. Smaller businesses often wait for the hardware to be replaced over time with newer hardware, already preloaded with Windows 8.

The announcement for extended XP support shows what was known all along. Customers are neither willing or able to follow the rapid OS release cycles of Microsoft. For many, Windows XP is still a proven and well working corporate platform and the scale of the upgrade is so vast that many large organisations are struggling to replace all of their Windows XP machines in the imposed timeframe.

This is complicated by the fact that Windows 7 has higher processor and other hardware requirements than XP, so it’s by no means a simple upgrade. With so many firms still relying on XP, Microsoft has been left with little choice but to continue to issue security fixes way beyond its original cut-off date.

Most of our customers have upgraded from XP across the board as we make it relatively easy for them to get that done, but there remain applications and departments at some businesses for which migration to a new OS is deemed as being too involved and laborious with some tool sets.

Organisations should not be complacent following the latest news of extended security support for XP. Security is perhaps the leading operational concern for businesses, but this does not mean that XP is now any safer an option, as the support announced is relatively limited.

Of course, OS migration is not as simple as flicking a switch, but it is easier than perhaps some organisations may realise, provided there is scope within deployments for centralised control.

Posted By: FrontRange
10 Jan 2014

(This article first appeared at prdaily.com)

So you left the house in a rush this morning because you were running late to an appointment. Oh no! You left your phone on the table and don't have time to go back and get it.

You would probably be a little nervous (What if your boss emails? What if you miss that important call?), but you would be all right.

Now imagine you were without your phone for the whole day. Or better yet, imagine you didn't have a smartphone for the entire week. Could you make it?

According to an infographic from FrontRange, 66 percent of people said they wouldn't last one day.

Forty-four percent of people said they would give up their phones for a week if they were paid more than $100. Nineteen percent said they would need more than $500.

Nomophobia, the fear of being without your phone, is a real problem. In a U.K. study, 53 percent of people said they experienced anxiety when they couldn't use their phones. They said the experience was as stressful as a trip to the dentist, or even their wedding day.

OK, so there's a good chance most of us are addicted to our phones. But is there a way to reverse that addiction?

FrontRange says yes. The company asked seven people to give up their smartphones for one week, and document how they felt.

The graphic illustrates their experiences. Take a look:

(Click on the image to see the full graphic.)

Nomophobia: fear of going without your mobile phone

Posted By: Carl Wilson
04 Nov 2013

Carl WilsonIt comes as no surprise that market researchers at Gartner have cited "Mobile Device Diversity and Management" as the number one strategic technology trend heading into 2014. This forecast was presented at its recently concluded Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 in Orlando.

Why does enterprise mobility management hold top billing? Because the BYOD revolution is here to stay. And IT managers and administrators know it. So do their CIOs, as evidenced by this 2013 survey - Gartner: Hunting and Harvesting in a Digital World: The 2013 CIO Agenda. Their findings? CIOs responding to the survey ranked mobile technologies as their second highest priority.

While IT initially resisted the mobile workforce from bringing personal computing devices into the enterprise due to concerns about security and data leakage, the train has left the station. Today's employee is not dependent upon IT to provide computing resources to get their jobs done; on the contrary, they have found greater productivity through a variety of mobile devices they prefer to work with, ranging from smartphones to laptops, notebooks or tablets.

And herein lies the rub. The dilemma facing CIOs and IT is how to balance the personal freedoms of the next-generation mobile workforce with the compliance, data security and management control requirements of IT.

Early mobile device management strategies have been in place for some time now in an attempt to address this conundrum. But these standalone "solutions" are proving difficult to implement, costly to deploy, and inefficient since they're silos that are disconnected from critical client management services.

As a former CIO with Marriott International, it strikes me that the logical place to exert enterprise mobility management is from within client management solutions so IT can manage and control physical, virtual and mobile devices throughout their lifecycles from a single, unified vantage point.

And this is exactly what FrontRange is doing with the integration of EMM services in its HEAT Client Management solution. Rather than asking IT to invest in yet another siloed management solution to manage mobile devices, FrontRange is embedding EMM functionality directly within its client management solution, which is where mobility management belongs.

What makes the FrontRange offering especially attractive is the fact that it is a true hybrid — it can be deployed as a tenant in a cloud environment or on premise as a pre-configured, pre-installed virtual appliance.

Taking a lifecycle management best practices approach, HEAT Client Management with EMM delivers asset, configuration, application, security, and data access management — on top of self-service and remote support — to bridge the personal computing preferences of the mobile workforce with the corporate security policy enforcement needs of IT.

Posted By: FrontRange
27 Sep 2013

London played host to the 2013 UK FrontRange Customer Day which took place on Wednesday 25 September. Over 60 customers and partners from 35 organisations participated in the event which was the first customer gathering in the UK for several years.

The Park Plaza hotel provided an excellent venue in central London with fine views across Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses or Parliament.

Hosted by Steve Gardner, Sales Director for FrontRange UK & Ireland; the day opened with a Keynote from Jon Temple, President & CEO of FrontRange who introduced the HEAT platform and then shared his vision and strategy for FrontRange around: Hybrid IT; Automated Service Delivery and extending service delivery beyond IT.

The morning included a live demonstration of several key features of HEAT Service Management in the session"Can HEAT really do all that?" followed by an introduction to HEAT Client Management.

The afternoon kicked off with a lively and thought provoking session entitled "Customer-Centric IT" from industry analyst John Rakowski at Forrester, followed by the latest updates from FrontRange Global Support Services and a closing address from CEO Jon Temple.

With plenty of time for networking, customers were also able to view live demos throughout the day and join one of several hot topic round tables over lunch. The day ended with an informal drinks reception and the chance to enjoy a HEAT cocktail!

Thank you to everyone who joined us – it was a great day.

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
24 Sep 2013

The new generation of mobile technology is game changing for many organizations. It is the first time, consumer devices are dominating a whole technology sector, and IT is struggling to deliver standardized services across old and new devices with a common user experience and within appropriate security and compliance guidelines. The required changes to existing IT infrastructures can be highly complex and very often make existing IT strategies, service delivery, and processes obsolete. The consumerization of IT, the sharp shift from corporate devices controlled by IT to personal devices, is such an example. The rise of the anytime, anywhere workforce means that CIOs must think carefully and strategically about how to modify their systems of record and how to implement new ways to engage with their end users to make information and access available.

In this session, we will focus on the key trend of Enterprise Mobility and the BYOD revolution and challenges that came with it. We will also highlight strategies to address these challenges so you can effectively empower your mobile workforce.

https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/8533/87421

Posted By: FrontRange
27 Aug 2013

It's that simple. Demand options, flexibility and support — it will change your business forever.

Posted By: Udo Waibel
09 Aug 2013

I met with the CIO of a large manufacturer last week that, like many companies, is grappling with the seemingly contradictory goals of improving service quality and compliance while maximizing operational efficiency and reducing IT costs. “Do more with less” becomes an especially challenging directive after so many years of belt-tightening. At FrontRange, we continue to be committed to helping our customers deliver superior business performance through the relentless improvement of service quality. 

FrontRange is the only provider of Hybrid IT software solutions for organizations of all sizes, and we believe that our ability to offer customers a suite of applications that supports flexible deployment options (on-premise and cloud), advanced functionality and complete service and client management capabilities enables our customers to push forward with improving service quality while maximizing efficiency.  

Superior business performance through the relentless improvement of service quality

As Chief Technology Officer, I’ve had the opportunity to work with customers around the world, and I am proud to say that FrontRange is the only provider of Hybrid IT software solutions for organizations of all sizes. With our suite of HEAT Service and Client Management applications, we can offer customers, from a single platform, flexible on-premise or cloud deployment, advanced functionality, and complete capabilities. This differentiation enables our customers to continue to improve service quality while maximizing efficiency and lowering IT costs.

Flexible on-premise, cloud and hybrid deployment

When customers choose HEAT, they gain the freedom to choose between on-premise and cloud deployment—or a combination of both. We know that requirements inevitably change over time, so with HEAT, customers can easily move their service desk from on-premise to the cloud, or anywhere in between. 

Advanced functionality to deliver better service at lower cost

Many customers have harvested the low-hanging fruit of efficiencies, and the next level of service improvements will come from advanced technology and automation. For example, voice, which is an integral element of many call centers, can be integrated into the service desk to drive better service at a lower cost. Our customers tell us that some 40 percent of the calls that come into the service desk are for password reset. What if you could automate that task and instantly increase the efficiency of the service desk and free agents from tedious work? With HEAT, you can.

Integrated Client and Service Management for a complete solution

Our customers tell us that the ability to handle both Client Management and Service Management on the same platform allows them to deliver better service at lower cost. The service desk can manage and control all kinds of clients from a single pane-of-glass—and that ultimately gives them broader insight into service management.

For instance, when a user runs into a problem, the service desk agent can quickly see if the user’s computer is up-to-date, and push new software to the client if necessary. The problem is resolved faster, and the user gets back to work.

Having a complete solution has other benefits, too. As one customer explained, with the integration between Client Management and Service Management, she could see what software users have and where it is installed, which gives her the information she needs to decide whether the company had enough software licenses or if they needed to purchase more. She also had insight into whether the company could consolidate and eliminate software that was no longer being used. And that added up to a big cost savings. 

Posted By: Kevin J Smith
23 Jul 2013
Hybrid ITSM is the ability to offer a cost effective IT service management offering that is both on-premise, in the cloud, or thru a combination of the two. Future-proof. Wizard-based. Ready to install. 
 
According to Gartner, “Hybrid IT” is one of the top IT Trends for 2013. Most top organizations are looking at all options while building their IT strategy to align with their business goals.
 
Three things to consider when building your 3-year IT plan:
  • Flexibility - Standardize on a single service management solution with "fit-for-purpose" cloud and on-premise deployment models that allows for the use of both operating and capital expense budgets (including a hybrid option that leverages both).
  • Advanced – Advanced solution with fully integrated voice-enabled capabilities that enhances efficiency and reduces service resolution costs.
  • Complete – An end-to-end, integrated client management capabilities that enable the standardization of business processes across the enterprise and improve the mean time to repair (MTTR).
 
Learn more about FrontRange Hybrid ITSM today.
 

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