Monday, December 16, 2013

What 2014 will mean for the ASEAN Enterprise

December 16, 2013, Kuala Lumpur - 2013 was a period of significant change in the IT industry across ASEAN as a host of new, innovative technologies – including cloud, big data, and mobility platforms – took hold in each country, albeit as different rates of adoption.

For example, 2013 saw private clouds gain traction this year, replacing PCs as the choice location to store data and access services.

What these technologies offer enterprises operating in these emerging markets are a combination of internal operational efficiencies and savings, and more importantly, the opportunity to create new revenue streams.

2014 will see the continuation of these trends and the emergence of others. For example, enterprise mobility management and Bring Your Own (BYO) initiatives will take firm hold in ASEAN enterprises in 2014. Indeed, the number of personal devices – ranging from smartphones and tablets to desktops and laptops – that will be used for work will grow. This will make it imperative for enterprises to develop strategies for managing data that take this into account.

Mark Micallef, Area Vice President, ASEAN, Citrix, shares his insights on four key trends and provides some examples of how enterprises have leveraged and benefited from them in the ASEAN region.

1. Embracing mobility at the workplace 
According to Gartner’s predictions of 2014 strategic trends, through to 2018, the growing variety of devices, computing styles, user contexts and interaction paradigms will increase access and mobility for employees. Enterprise policies on employee-owned hardware usage need to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, updated and extended. Specific technologies will be needed to ensure employees and contractors have secure access to “everything, everywhere” regardless of device type (desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone) or of ownership (corporate or employee owned). This also provides end users with choices on the best way to complete their work tasks.

This is in line with the Citrix ‘Mobility in Business’ survey report released in 2013 where 47 percent of companies globally now have a formal mobility strategy in place with an additional 35 percent to follow suit within the coming year. This is becoming increasingly necessary, especially with the rapidly expanding use of mobile devices, mobile apps at the workplace, and file sharing and storage among employees.

One great example of how a global organization embraced this is Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT). As an international leader in business travel management, its Singapore team was looking for a way to provide clients with the most updated travel schedules. It worked with Citrix to create a ‘One CWT’ initiative, which involved an upgrade of the company’s existing IT environment to create a common platform to enable better control and delivery of desktops, applications and data, enhancing employee user experience, regardless of their location or device.

Through the ‘One CWT’ singular model, CWT employees were ensured business continuity and smooth operations with zero interruptions, supported by the integrated Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) feature, which automatically switches employee access to the nearest datacenter to increase access speeds, boosting efficiency for the mobile CWT employee, regardless of which region they are working from.

The redundancy brought about by the implementation also meant lower bandwidth consumption and increased cost efficiency and elimination of single points of failure. This is also useful for a number of call centers which may suffer from poor network access.

2. Building new processes for mobile apps and applications
Gartner also believes that through 2014, improved JavaScript performance will begin to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment. Gartner recommends that developers focus on creating expanded user interface models including richer voice and video that can connect people in new and different ways.

Apps will continue to grow while applications will begin to shrink and building application user interfaces that span a variety of devices require an understanding of fragmented building blocks and an adaptable programming structure that assembles them into optimized content for each device.

For businesses, new processes must be put into place to provision, manage and secure these new applications and with tailored solutions for mobile, web and SaaS apps, enterprises can benefit from necessary security and control to allow users on both corporate and BYO mobile devices to use these apps while keeping corporate data secure.

Bank OCBC NISP, the fourth-oldest bank in Indonesia, faced a challenge in managing and controlling the applications and databases at its branches. Citrix helped to eliminate the complex updating and versioning of applications at each of the branches, translating into substantial savings in communication costs between the branches and the head office.

Overall, the productivity, control and availability were significantly improved while operating costs were reduced. Now, it takes only two days to get a new branch ready for operations – compared to seven days before – as the IT team simply has to upgrade its systems or applications just once on the servers at the head office.

3. Putting the house in order for the Internet of Everything
The Internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items. Most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready.

At Citrix, over the past few years, we have seen the number of Internet-connected devices rise exponentially, and for organizations, this means extending management technologies to these devices to ensure control and security. However, the real challenge is the number of devices that now are accessing the Internet.

Organizations need to scale network performance on-demand for cloud-like elasticity, expand capacity seamlessly to meet application traffic growth, consolidate core network capabilities like load balancing, security and acceleration for all datacenter applications and ensure smooth, reliable connectivity for all devices. Therefore, a cloud orchestration platform is required to scale up and out as all of these new devices – and their associated applications – come online.

4. Entering the era of personal cloud
The personal cloud era will mark a power shift away from devices toward services. In this new world, according to industry analysts, most people use three or more devices on a daily basis. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Therefore, collaboration and file sharing technologies are required to allow users to attend meetings, socially collaborate, and access and share data at any time. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.

In 2013, Mydin Mohamed Holdings, Malaysia’s largest retail chain, showed the industry why it is the leader in the country with the implementation of a personal shopping system called Sam’s Self Scan, which incorporates cloud based asset and software monitoring to connect with customers, providing real-time deals and also help check-out their purchases with greater ease.

2014 will see the workplace of the future – one increasingly defined by a mobile workforce used to operating on multiple devices at multiple locations – take root in ASEAN. To build a workplace that will satisfy this generation of workers, enterprises will need a mobility strategy that covers the entire gamut from mobile device management (MDM) to mobile app management (MAM), and the infrastructure through which mobility is delivered, such as network performance and access. Other priorities will also include the increased use of SaaS and web apps and tools to support remote employees, such as tools for secure file sharing, collaboration and remote help desk services.

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