‘Cus­tomer de­mands for in­fra­struc­ture man­age­ment are more com­pli­cated’

InformationWeek - - Contents - MANIN­DER SINGH NARANG,

Vice Pres­i­dent & Global Head - End User Com­put­ing, Ap­pli­ca­tion Op­er­a­tions & Shared Ser­vices,

HCL Tech­nolo­gies

What are the var­i­ous end-user com­put­ing ser­vices pro­vided by HCL In­fra­struc­ture Ser­vices Di­vi­sion, and how are th­ese dif­fer­ent from desk­top man­age­ment ser­vices?

Our gamut of ser­vices, un­der end-user com­put­ing goes be­yond desk­top man­age­ment ser­vices. Desk­top, lap­top, tablet, PDA or Black­Berry is ba­si­cally the in­ter­face — there is at pro­vi­sion­ing, pol­icy, se­cu­rity, ubiq­ui­tous ac­cess, control, and com­pli­ance. We have put to­gether a holis­ti­cally in­te­grated ser­vice be­cause we want to create the user ex­pe­ri­ence and not just man­age the de­vice. So there is a set of peo­ple who first ad­dress the clients, which is ser­vicedesk-as an of­fer­ing. Then you have a Desk­top Man­age­ment team, which man­ages your ap­pli­ca­tions. Af­ter that, you had those dumb ter­mi­nals. But now the world has moved from the main­frame to client–server; the great ben­e­fit of client-server is that desk­top work­sta­tion takes the pro­cess­ing power away, makes it cheaper, and en­ables you to com­mu­ni­cate on a net­work. You can keep the graphic in­ter­face here, part of the ap­pli­ca­tion can re­side on the front- end and the pro­cess­ing can hap­pen there. So, we

Manin­der Singh Narang, Vice Pres­i­dent & Global Head - End User Com­put­ing, Ap­pli­ca­tion Op­er­a­tions & Shared Ser­vices, HCL Tech­nolo­gies ISD tells Am­rita Prem­ra­jan about the ma­jor trends he is wit­ness­ing in the space of end-user com­put­ing and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy as a whole, and talks about the fresh chal­lenges CIOs are deal­ing with to­day due to the fast evolv­ing IT land­scape

a lot of tech­nol­ogy be­hind it that in­cludes not just the hard­ware (the de­vices) but also the ap­pli­ca­tion that sits on the de­vice, mes­sag­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion (e-mail, Lync or chat plat­form), and Citrix-based VDI or a VM-based VDI. So, there is a lot of data cen­ter tech­nol­ogy and net­work that sits be­hind end-user com­put­ing.

Our ser­vice in end-user com­put­ing is not just the man­age­ment of the de­vice but all of the en­com­pass­ing end-user com­put­ing tech­nolo­gies. It also in­cludes user pro­vi­sion­ing — you have the Ac­tive Di­rec­tory so you de­fine poli­cies around users. It is a fairly com­plex piece but one in­te­grated of­fer­ing.

To­day, the user is look­ing at a great ex­pe­ri­ence with any de­vice, and the en­ter­prise is look­ing more there are sub­ject mat­ter ex­perts who en­able the en­tire tech­nol­ogy, which in­volves vir­tu­al­iz­ing your ap­pli­ca­tion de­liv­ery to desk­top. Fi­nally, there is mes­sag­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion be­cause 80 - 90 per­cent of our work to­day hap­pens on e-mail — we are us­ing less of phone and more of chat, so­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion, so­cial net­work­ing and mes­sag­ing. We call this en­tire gamut of ser­vices as Man­aged End User Com­put­ing.

We started with the main­frame way of func­tion­ing, then we moved to the client-server model. How has this model evolved over the years?

If you go back 30 years, the propo­si­tion was main­frame, where ev­ery­thing was cen­tral­ized, and changed the main­frame — we said it is junk, the tech­nol­ogy is out­dated, and ev­ery­thing will now be clientserver.

What has happened now is that we have again moved away from the client-server model to­wards the main­frame model, say­ing that app vir­tu­al­iza­tion and de­vice vir­tu­al­iza­tion is nothing but ev­ery­thing done cen­trally, ir­re­spec­tive of the type of de­vice which is used for ac­cess­ing apps. The mo­ment you say vir­tu­al­iza­tion of app, it means the en­tire app is ac­tu­ally sit­ting in the data cen­ter now. The tech­nol­ogy has be­come a lit­tle more open ended. The browser has be­come the ubiq­ui­tous kind of in­ter­face, and there is a lot more evo­lu­tion that has happened in that tech­nol­ogy. Ob­vi­ously, the user

ex­pe­ri­ence is a lot bet­ter. So, if you re­ally look back at our main­frames to the cur­rent days, it is ba­si­cally can­ni­bal­iza­tion of one af­ter the other. The IT in­dus­try has re­mained where it is be­cause of its abil­ity to can­ni­bal­ize it­self, and then again re-in­vent it­self.

What are the ma­jor trends you are wit­ness­ing that have the po­ten­tial to dras­ti­cally change the way IT has been func­tion­ing tra­di­tion­ally?

A key trend that we clearly see is the con­sumer­iza­tion of IT, which means that the de­vice is no more en­ter­prise de­ter­mined. More en­ter­prises are also let­ting the em­ploy­ees buy their choice of de­vice as it takes away the bur­den of sup­port­ing that hard­ware. While the user man­ages the de­vice, the en­ter­prise de­liv­ers the ap­pli­ca­tions seam­lessly. This is driv­ing BYOD and blur­ring the lines be­tween con­sumer and en­ter­prise tech­nol­ogy.

Lot of ac­tiv­ity is hap­pen­ing on the se­cu­rity and ac­cess control front. The se­cu­rity pol­icy that gov­erns my per­sonal work is dif­fer­ent — I use a dif­fer­ent im­age there. And when I con­nect to my en­ter­prise, I use a dif­fer­ent im­age. All the se­cu­rity con­trols and the com­pli­ance are con­trolled at the net­work, fire­wall and data cen­ter lev­els. To control ac­cess, one may im­ple­ment many pol­i­cy­driven re­stric­tions.

The sec­ond key trend is that so­cial net­work is get­ting adopted in peerto-peer and group com­mu­ni­ca­tion. About five-six years ago a ma­jor­ity of our cus­tomers would have 90 - 95 per­cent voice and 10 - 5 per­cent e-mail sup­port for end-user com­put­ing. To­day, it is about 30 - 40 per­cent chat/e-mail sup­port. This dra­matic in­crease is be­cause of greater ac­cept­abil­ity of so­cial net­work­ing.

The third sig­nif­i­cant trend is in­stru­men­ta­tion and au­toma­tion. For ex­am­ple, you have a desk­top run­ning XP — ev­ery time you have an up­grade, Mi­crosoft asks you to up­grade that patch. Fol­low­ing this, the IT teams at the back­end ask you for down­time to up­grade the patch, which is quite in­tru­sive from an end-user point of view.

Now let’s look at an iPad or an An­droid, when a patch is re­leased for th­ese de­vices, they au­to­mat­i­cally tell you about the patch avail­abil­ity and auto-up­date the sys­tem when you con­nect next time. A lot of in­stru­men­ta­tion and au­toma­tion has gone into en­abling this tech­nol­ogy.

The fourth trend that we clearly per­ceive is emer­gence of global de­liv­ery model. We were ear­lier per­ceived as an off­shore com­pany, but to­day we have de­liv­ery cen­ters all over the world that are ser­vic­ing clients across the ge­ogra­phies. So the global de­liv­ery model has emerged and many of us are see­ing that our larger wins are com­ing from the ar­eas where we are demon­strat­ing our abil­ity to glob­ally de­liver to our cus­tomers.

The fifth key trend is the impact of open source on tech­nol­ogy. For ex­am­ple, An­droid has had a big impact on the op­er­at­ing sys­tem mar­ket and the cost of de­liv­ery of tech­nol­ogy. The pen­e­tra­tion of open source tech­nol­ogy may be low to­day, but it will in­crease dra­mat­i­cally over the years, as the open source mar­ket be­comes a lit­tle more con­sol­i­dated. So, if some­one can give me the same level of avail­abil­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity and main­tain­abil­ity run­ning on a Linux plat­form on a desk­top, why not use, say a Ubuntu, rather than pay about USD 600 for Mi­crosoft.

The impact of cloud — a re-in­vented term in my view, is the sixth trend. If you go back to main­frames, it was al­ways cloud and it was all vir­tual. Cloud will cause a dis­rup­tive pat­tern in the con­sump­tion of IT — which to­day is in a very de­fin­i­tive way. I think it will be­come un­defini­tive and very dis­crete. So, cloud will be­come a util­ity. I think we are still far away from a very ubiq­ui­tous model but tech­nol­ogy avail­abil­ity to ser­vice will get there in the next few years.

How have cus­tomer de­mands changed over the years? What are the fresh chal­lenges CIOs are fac­ing to­day?

The de­mands from our cus­tomers are now more con­fus­ing and com­pli­cated. The tra­di­tional en­ter­prise con­trol­based model said: ‘I will give you the de­vice and I will tell you which ap­pli­ca­tion to use.’ The model has now changed to: ‘ You bring your own de­vice, you will man­age two im­ages, you will ac­cess it any­where on the planet, and you will use any net­work.’ The data cen­ter will be hosted some­where else, part of the ap­pli­ca­tions will be cloud-based and some will be in­ter­nal (on-premise). This new model is pos­ing fresh chal­lenges to CIOs.

Apart from this, the busi­ness head comes and asks the CIO why he is spend­ing so much money on some­thing, which he can buy on a shared ba­sis from out­side. And he is asked to cut the bud­get by 20 per­cent. Then the se­cu­rity guys tell him that they won’t al­low cer­tain things be­cause it might com­pro­mise IP pro­tec­tion, in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity, etc. So, there are so many con­flict­ing de­mands, and at the same time churn is hap­pen­ing.

So cus­tomers are look­ing for some­one who can first help them in the trans­for­ma­tion from a clas­si­cal en­ter­prise IT sup­port to this new model, where there is per­va­sive­ness of the de­vices and con­sumer­iza­tion of IT. They have to man­age a het­ero­ge­neous IT en­vi­ron­ment, which is now self­pro­vi­sioned with cloud, trans­for­ma­tion of net­work, se­cu­rity, and con­trols.

This is a difficult task, but most of our propo­si­tions to­day are fo­cused around meet­ing th­ese three cus­tomer re­quire­ments: help him man­age the con­sumer­iza­tion; in­stru­ment and au­to­mate as much as you can so that pro­vi­sion­ing be­comes faster and man­age­ment be­comes more re­li­able and se­cure; and com­bine pub­lic and pri­vate. For ex­am­ple, there are many cus­tomers where mes­sag­ing is partly in-house — with their most priv­i­leged users. But for deal­ers and the ex­tended or­ga­ni­za­tion, it is all on the cloud — so you marry both of them.

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