20 Jun 2024

How EUC 2.0 enables the Cloud-Powered Distributed Enterprise (Guest blog from Littlefish)

Author: Richard Hutchings is Chief Technology Officer at Littlefish, a UK-based managed IT and cyber security service provider.

In Spring 2020, when the world changed due to the outbreak of the COVID global pandemic, thousands of enterprises shifted to a more distributed model enabled by cloud computing and a new conception of end user computing (EUC).

In its initial form, EUC was a combination of technologies, policies, and processes that gave workforces access to desktops, applications, and data within the workplace to perform their jobs. Security controls here were based predominantly around physical locations or secure connections known as Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

EUC 2.0 is the next generation of end-user computing that is emerging with the advent of new technologies and trends to deliver the modern workplace as a distributed enterprise. This involves the evolution of traditional work environments due to changes in technology, demographics, and work styles.

This modern workplace is characterised by a more flexible and collaborative environment, where work is no longer defined by a physical office or a set schedule. Instead, work is seen as an activity that can be done from anywhere, at any time, using a range of devices and tools that put the end user first. This last point is a key principle of EUC 2.0, as providing frictionless and adaptable engagement models could be the key factor in attracting and retaining talent within the organisation

This new “distributed enterprise” model facilitates businesses as they future-proof and architect infrastructure that directly responds to the goals of the company and invests heavily in improving end-user experience and employee engagement whilst still being underpinned by operational requirements, including security.

EUC 2.0 has five main focus areas:

  1. Devices
  2. User support
  3. Use cases
  4. Policy and governance
  5. Fitness for use

Nowadays, most infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders are accelerating their investments in cloud-powered workplace technologies which require limited or no on-premises infrastructures to deliver services to workers in any location.

These include:

  • Unified endpoint management – UEM provides the ability to manage a broad range of devices, the policies applied to those devices, the distribution of applications, patching and updates from a cloud solution that enables self-service.
  • Desktop as a Service – DaaS provides a virtual desktop or application in the cloud enabling I&O leaders to increase security by removing the need to store applications or data on endpoints. It also allows rapid increases in the number of users, without the need to provision high-specification, enterprise-owned endpoints.
  • Digital Employee Experience – DEX management tools provide insights into the endpoint experience, user sentiment, and the configuration/security posture of endpoints. In addition to measuring experiences, these technologies provide automation of IT functions, as well as support for behavioural change by nudging workers to adopt new technologies and ways of working. 

The rise of cloud-powered distributed enterprises

In essence, what we’re describing above by saying ‘limited or no on-premises infrastructures’ are actually ‘distributed enterprises’ powered by cloud technologies. These types of organisations typically have a central physical location, i.e., an office building, but also other branch sites and separate hybrid or remote locations.

Additionally, and depending on the size and type of organisation, these associated sites could be located across different regions, counties, or even countries, and they might operate inside commercial office spaces, residential settings (where users might use either company-supplied or personal equipment/home internet), or both.

It’s worth noting that due to the disparate nature of distributed enterprises, the organisations’ various sites are often at increased risk of cyber security attacks, as well as reduced productivity, engagement, and efficiency. Indeed, this is precisely why implementing a transformative EUC 2.0 strategy is so important for these types of organisations and should include discussions around the following:

Device provisioning and deployment

It’s important to re-think this inside distributed enterprises since in-person deployment is not always possible. IT should evaluate tools such as zero-touch provisioning.

Service desks

Distributed enterprises require better monitoring and management tools. End-user experience management (EUEM) can allow organisations to better identify where network issues are occurring, e.g., in your data centre, at the user’s house, in the cloud, or somewhere in-between.

Apps and devices

Perhaps it goes without saying that these need to be usable from anywhere. Environments that rely on desktops and on-premises apps will need to be rearchitected for a remote-first workforce.

Video conferencing tools

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams has almost doubled over the past year, increasing from 145 million users in 2021 to 270 million in 2022. Organisations need to ensure that their users know how to get the best from these toolsets.

The importance of distributed enterprises

It's not too strong to suggest that the ability to change and adapt to these new requirements will soon come to define organisations, as well as determine their longevity and success in today’s post-COVID world. To achieve the required level of desktop flexibility, agility, and mobility expected by workforces today requires cloud-optimised infrastructures that can be scaled on-demand with simple, automated, processes and tools.

It’s also true that building distributed enterprises enables organisations to operate on much broader scales than traditional business models. After all, setting up associated sites across different regions and, in some cases, even countries, means distributed enterprises can reach more customers, earn more revenue, increase brand recognition, and be more productive and efficient.

To round off this sentiment, the below statistics underline just how important a strong EUC 2.0 strategy is:

  • By 2025, 50% of IT organisations will have established a digital employee experience strategy, team and management tool, which is a major increase from 5% in 2021.
  • By 2025, more than 75% of organisations will use cloud-powered patching capabilities for Windows and third-party applications in place of on-premises-based solutions.
  • By 2025, desktop-as-a-service spending will double the 2021 levels; however, it will be the primary solution for only 20% of workers.
  • By 2025, 80% of organizations that rolled out bring-your-own-PC initiatives will have relegated them to niche use cases, due to poorly defined goals and support issues

Final word

EUC 2.0 will go a long way in determining the longevity and success of organisations in today’s post-COVID world, facilitating the distributed enterprise and fuelling the evolution of modern workspaces.

If you’re interested in implementing an EUC 2.0 strategy or discussing your cloud powered workplace with the experts here at Littlefish, feel free to contact us.