The adoption of portable computers in the form of personal digital assistants, smartphones, and tablets has transformed many industries. Instead of being tied to a desktop, professionals can take their computing needs anywhere. This has become especially important in the medical field, where health care providers can access software at the point of care. If mobile devices are effectively being used as handheld computers, what is happening to the Windows desktop environment? Will organizations still have to follow Microsoft’s software license management requirements? Will they still be faced with a potential Microsoft software audit?
Where Did The Desktop Go?
Introduced in 2002, the Blackberry blended communication with computer processing functions. Soon after, other mobile devices flooded the market. The iPhone was launched by Apple in 2007. Android-based smartphones were introduced in 2008. The iPad tablet came into play in 2010. The current computing environment favors tablets and smartphones at the expense of laptops and desktops.
In the business world, Windows has dominated the operating system (or OS) space since what seems like the beginning of time. The Windows OS existed for decades before mobile operating systems were even a sparkle in consumers’ eyes. However, as technology is moving away from PCs, mobile devices are coming with their own operating systems. Even Microsoft is coming out with more app-based approaches. Windows 10 will be the final launch of the Windows OS, and Microsoft’s hybrid notebooks use apps.
Apps can even be delivered individually via Windows virtual desktops. That way, users won’t have to sign into a full desktop through a VPN. All they need is access via an app. Microsoft offers App-V, a tool that offers a central control console that administrators can utilize to stream apps to users. IT administrators can also limit user access to certain apps with this tool.
Windows 10 Across Platforms
Microsoft is hailing Windows 10 as a universal operating system that makes it possible to work on a desktop, tablet or mobile device. This will also include Surface Hub conference systems. Many large companies, with many users, such as hospitals and government entities, will have the opportunity to upgrade their systems that are already running recent versions of windows. Windows 10 also attempts to make it easier to sync apps across different devices.
A 2012 study found that 87 percent of doctors are using smartphones and tablets in the workplace. The medical environment is rapidly moving toward 100% digital tech. Health records, laboratory information systems and communication are all moving away from paper.
Microsoft is certainly not about to miss the boat on this trend. Its cloud platforms are attempting to make the digital transformation easier for large organizations such as government entities and hospitals. A 2014 article reported that 64 percent of apps used in organizations are based on Windows.
Challenges of Relying on Apps
Apps must be compliant with the organization’s guidelines. Hospitals, of course, must also ensure that their apps are HIPAA compliant. That can be a challenge for IT departments. It doesn’t matter where you’re using the app or what device you’re using it on: that app must be secure. Thus, IT departments have to work hard to provide the apps that organizations want, while balancing that with the need for utmost security. One part of the solution may be cloud services that allow access from anywhere, while maintaining security and protecting sensitive information.
Build it or Buy it?
One question to consider is whether organizations should create their own apps or wait until appropriate versions of commercial apps become available. Windows app hosting makes it possible to use Windows-based apps on workspaces that aren’t stuck on a laptop or desktop.
IT professionals know the computing environment is no longer based on traditional, fixed scenarios. The new wave of technology is focused on mobility, and IT departments that accept and rise to that challenge will be ahead of the curve.
Even if an enterprise relies on app-based mobile devices, it will still need to follow software license management requirements. Proper software licensing management is vital for organizations. At Earth & Sky, we can make sure that your software licensing costs match your needs and budget. We can also prepare you for a Microsoft software audit so that you don’t get hit with expensive fines. Call us at 858-799-0245 or request a free assessment to learn more about how we can help determine the best licensing approach for your business.