Rethinking End-User Support in a Virtual World

Michael Vizard

A growing disconnect between the way IT organizations deliver IT support and the way end users actually use their machines is quickly emerging.

Back in the good old days, IT organizations could pretty much count on the fact that an end user had only one machine. But today, the odds are good that many end users have multiple machines running a variety of operating systems. In addition, they might have tablet PCs and any number of smartphones, all accessing and sharing data with their PC systems that one day will involve any number of virtual machines on the desktop and the server.

Unfortunately, most IT organizations still think in terms of supporting machines, rather than end users. Instead of having a multi-faceted approach to systems management based on the specific end user, we have IT organizations managing each system in isolation.

Jim Kirby, president of North America operations for RES Software, which makes software that allows IT organizations to manage users based on what the company calls user workspace management, says as end users acquire more devices, the pressure and cost associated with managing those systems starts to spiral out of control. Most recently, RES Software convinced the folks at CA Technologies of its argument, which led to a reseller agreement between the two companies.

Alan Andresen, vice president of product management for CA Technologies, concedes that we're still on the front end of the curve when it comes to changing the way IT organizations approach systems management. But the writing on the wall in terms of identifying the need for fundamental change is already there, he said.

Of course, it may take a while to change the way the help desk operates. But with each passing day, there is more diversity on the desktop. And it's only a matter of time before the weight of managing all those devices drives fundamental changes to the way the IT service desk operates.

Then again, RES Software just shipped its one millionth license, so some people in IT are definitely getting the idea.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 1, 2010 2:10 AM Joey Joey  says:

The problem is IT outsourcing.  Once you divorce IT from the business, it becomes "out of touch" with the end user needs and population.  Eventually this leads to the IT group making the decisions "FOR" the user intead of "FOR THE GOOD" of the user.



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