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It's up to IT to make end-user computing easy

It’s part of IT’s job to deal with end users who aren’t tech-savvy. The latest research says it may be a bigger part of the job than most people realize.

About two-thirds of people aged 16 to 65 have poor or worse computing skills, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As reported by the Nielsen Norman Group, this data means that most people can’t analyze or evaluate information from disparate sources, or even do things like search for a specific email or document.

Usability has always been crucial in development, but as IT begins to focus more on the overall concept of end-user computing, admins must also start paying attention.

By its very nature, end-user computing — the practice of providing users the applications and data they need to do their jobs from anywhere on any device — is complex. Modern workers typically rely on some combination of Windows desktops and applications, virtual desktops and applications, software as a service, web apps and mobile apps, plus data stored on their devices and in various cloud services. If a person can’t even find out when colleagues are available and successfully schedule a meeting — and nearly 95% can’t, OECD says — how can they be expected to work productively across so many distributed systems?

It’s up to IT to make it easy. New workspace products, such as Citrix Cloud and VMware Workspace One, aim to help. They provide portals where users can log in with one username and one password and have secure access to all their apps and data. They don’t eliminate complexity, however. They merely shift it from end users to IT. Admins will need to approach traditional tasks such as endpoint security, application delivery, networking and identity management in a new, holistic way to make the promise of workspaces a reality.

End users may not have the most advanced computing skills, but admins will need to develop more than ever as end-user computing evolves.