Apply datacentre innovations to enable consumerisation, Forrester urges

Infrastructure and operations should use technologies that exist in the data centre to encourage and control the deployment of consumer technologies in the enterprise, according to a Forrester analyst.

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Infrastructure and operations should use technologies that exist in the data centre to encourage and control the deployment of consumer technologies in the enterprise, according to a Forrester analyst.

Automation and self-service portals are well-established technologies that deliver significant improvements in the efficiency of data centre management.

These technologies and techniques should be used to support the growth in the number of mobile consumer devices, such as the iPhone, iPad or Galaxy Tab, being brought into the workplace said Robert Whiteley, VP and research director of infrastructure and operations at Forrester.

IT departments cannot and should not resist the introduction of consumer technology, according to the analyst house. Instead they should be leading the way in enabling the deployment of these products in a controlled way.

Employees are already empowering themselves, for example configuring their iPhone to access business systems, often without any help needed from IT, Whiteley said.

He suggested that infrastructure specialists develop self-service portals through which IT users could enable their own devices in a controlled manner, perhaps to choose the applications they want, or select the certificate they need to secure their email.

“Imagine you have a self-service portal where any user can directly access the [IT] resources. With automation, you wouldn’t need IT staff to run it,” he said.

Whiteley warned though that ease of use is vital if self-service portals are to be adopted.

“The real innovation here is to expose the portal in an intuitive interface for the user, otherwise it will just generate another helpdesk request,” Whiteley said.

He admitted that building these integration points for the user would need “time and energy”, but that it was better than refusing to support the consumer mobile devices because employees will bring in their own devices regardless.

Consumerisation and infrastructure strategies can also be linked through budgets.

“Historically, you’d have to give any data centre savings back to the business. But because consumerisation is so close to the business, you can make a strong case [for reinvesting it].

“The more savings you can generate in the data centre by being more efficient, the more you can spend on integration points,” said Whiteley.

Forrester’s Infrastructure & Operations Forum EMEA will be taking place in London on 17-18 March, 2011.

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