Mobility to drive higher value in IT role: VMware

IT people who were previously used to managing desktops are being forced to change their skill sets to remain relevant for the increasingly mobile world to handle new applications — a trend that is working out in their favour.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

VMware's end-user computing executive vice president and general manager Sanjay Poonen has warned that for those IT people who do not transform and adapt to the increasingly mobile-influenced world, there's a risk that they will become extinct.

"If you build your architecture for a mainframe world, you will be displaced by the client server era; if you build for the client server era, then you'll be displaced by the cloud era; and if you build your world for desktop end-user computing, you will be displaced by the mobile. So if IT doesn't transform themselves, they will become extinct, and if they do, then they won't," he said to the media at this week's VMworld event in San Francisco.

He went on to say that driving this mobile shift is mainly the Asia-Pacific market, where there are more end users accessing the internet from their mobile devices rather than from a desktop.

However, because of this shift, it will not necessarily mean that the number of IT roles will decrease, either. Instead, it would mean that new roles will overtake the old roles, and, due to the technological changes taking place, the demand for IT within businesses is expected to "grow exponentially".

"Ten years ago, you'd probably have one laptop or desktop per employee; now everybody has laptop, desktops, and about half a dozen of VMs are running within their environment, and all of that has to be managed by IT," explained Ben Fathi, VMware chief technology officer.

"So the demand of IT will go up; they'll just be doing different things that are more high valued, and managing more apps, VMs, and servers."

In fact, the plus side of the increasing mobile end users will mean that IT will move to a "higher-level" part of the business and be responsible for value-added activities, rather than previously, where they were responsible for a set of activities that they had to do manually.

"At one point before virtualisation came along, people had to physically stack servers. Now IT no longer has to do that frequently, because everybody is getting virtual machines," said Raghu Raghuram, VMware software-define datacentre executive vice president and general manger.

"But IT still has to use command apps to manage the network, but we're also progressively automating all of that. What that allows IT to do is to be a true partner of the business, talk about what is that you want to deliver, and to design what's important to your business."

Poonen echoed this point further, saying that the IT workforce has become "more and more sophisticated over time", and that it's important for organisations to help people in the IT department to grow their skill set because "doing things cheaper" can no longer be the single advantage they have over competitors.

To help companies and IT ease the transition between traditional desktops to becoming a mobile landscape, VMware announced its Workspace Suite, a unified platform that will allow users a single sign-on to access and determine policy controls for apps, regardless of their location or operating system, ranging from mobile to software as a service (SaaS) to virtualised to Windows.

The solution is comprised of AirWatch mobile management, AirWatch Secure Content Locker, VMware Horizon 6, and VMware Workspace Portal.

The company has also expanded its partnership with SAP to deliver a seamless mobile application experience for end users through the integration of SAP Mobile Place and AirWatch solutions. As the first SAP partner to integrate with Mobile Place, VMware will enable joint customers an easier way to leverage the AirWatch platform with SAP applications and applications built using SAP mobile technology.

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