Between all the noise about cloud computing and social networking there is a third trend that does not get the attention it deserves. What is happening? Remote access is becoming the new normal! Or, in other words, enterprise IT resources are increasingly accessed remotely. Even at enterprise headquarters. Why is this happening? Three key reasons. First, enterprise employees are increasingly mobile. Second, enterprises are building a layer of flex employees that are only a temporary part of the enterprise (for more information on this trend read our analysis on the future of work). Third, key IT resources are moving to the cloud, either private, hosted, or public (for more information on cloud types read our analysis of hybrid IT). The figure below displays how social, cloud, and remote are impacting all of the important places of work: the office, the home, on location, and on the move.
Now, the notion of remote access is not new, nor is mobility or flexible working. What is new is that the cloud and social networking are making enterprise headquarters just another flexible workplace. As a result, even at headquarters remote access is becoming the normal method of accessing resources. This is good news for the IT manager: with only one way of accessing resources, wherever you are, it should become much easier to manage access. The bad news is that resource availability is increasingly being governed by network and bandwidth availability. Managing this cloud access layer – which also includes security, wan optimization, application delivery, and device management, to name a few – is therefore rapidly becoming a new area of interest for the IT manager and for the savvy IT vendor. In fact, we believe that managed cloud access services will be a key area for (mobile) operators to make money. It also will provide them with a foot in the door to the on-premise area in the enterprise, for instance through managing/installing on-premise femto, pico or Wi-Fi access points.
An example of a mobile service provider that sees this opportunity for the SMB market is O2, with the recent launch of O2 Unify, a joint venture with 2e2.
Is your enterprise HQ also just another flexible workplace? Do you see the opportunity of providing managed cloud access services? Let us know!