What we do is simple except when it isn’t

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks reflecting on what we saw from Synergy and TechEd.  What I’ve decided is that as whiz-bang as all these announcements are, the industry as a whole really doesn’t have a firm idea where it is headed.  I made the comment to my management that Synergy felt Evolutionary as opposed to Revolutionary and the same can be said for TechEd.  Everything that we saw was a a natural progression of technologies we already had.  Sure the GUI might be nicer, the integration tighter, etc;  But that’s to be expected in companies as old as the major virtualization players are.

At the end of the day our job is to let users access the apps and data required to do their jobs.  My colleagues and I designed a multi-level pie chart to represent that (which we consequently named “The 8 layers of user hell”) and by the end of it my eyes were crossed and I’m the guy that designed it all.  How can we expect our users to understand when we ask them to clarify their requirements when we can’t represent an access method without a compass, a protractor, and a PhD in PowerPoint.

Too often we fall in love with technology for the sake of technology.  We add layer upon layer because we CAN.  We want to “integrate” 10 different infrastructure layers to make them all play nice.  And the user does not care because their logons take 2 minutes, their profiles get corrupt and don’t load well, and it’s a pain to launch Word on their phone.  It really is about the user and the app.  What we need as an industry is an easier way to do this.  Maybe that’s XenApp.  Maybe it’s something else.  But at the end of the day the goal needs to be a seamless experience… In my head I just said “Any app, anywhere, any time.”  Hah.

I’m not complaining.  I love what I do.  But the world is changing around us and I worry that we aren’t changing with it.  None of us want to be the fat guy with the beard in the corner keeping the legacy Citrix environment up because no one else understands it (See: Unix admin!).  Users expect speed, mobility, and portability.  Citrix, Microsoft, VMWare… they all need to adjust to that world and shed some of the legacy thinking that leads to bloated environments and poor user experience.  If internal IT organizations aren’t agile enough your customers (the users) will go elsewhere because they have choices in the wide world that they never possessed before.  Change or die.  It’s simple to say, really hard to do.

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