I attended the Citrix Synergy GeekSpeak future of the desktop discussion. For those of you who watched it live, I bet you thought it was interesting to hear the panel’s comments about where they think the desktop is going. They talked of grand ideas of no local desktop, apps in the cloud, consumerization, what Microsoft needs to do, etc. However, I think they completely missed the point. The future of the desktop is a pointless discussion. I think the work desktop is just a way for users to get to all of their applications and data. Do users really interact with the desktop operating system very much?
At work, my Windows 7 desktop is pretty standard. I have some folders, I have a nice background, and I have links to my applications. I, as a user, do not care that my apps are running on Windows 7, on a server in the data center, on a cloud fabric or anywhere else. Honestly, I just want to get my work done. But, I want to do this with my own device, which sometimes is a Windows 7 home PC and at other times it is an iPad. The growth of user-owned devices is growing, and growing fast. What devices will I own in 5 years? No idea. You are out of your mind if you think that one application will work natively on every platform that your users bring into the office. So where does this leave the future desktop? Don’t worry about the desktop, worry about your applications and how you present those applications to the users.
All that matters is that you, as an IT organization, find a way to consolidate all of the apps your users require to do their job. You WILL have some apps in the cloud as they are the best for your organization. You WILL have some apps that are Windows 7 or Windows XP based because your organization needs these apps. You WILL have some apps that are web based because your organization uses these apps extensively. You WILL have a massive number of apps that are hosted on many different platforms. Why? Because your organization or your users have decided that these applications are best for the business. Saying no to SaaS apps might slow down your business. So IT must find a way to provide these applications in a consolidated view.
All that the user wants is for IT to find a way to consolidate these apps, and to allow access to the apps in a consolidated manner and that allows them to use any device to get their job done. That is the future of the desktop.