Image by Sergey Shmidt
Spring.png

FREEFORMFOCUS

Spring Edition 2022

Welcome back

The trees are green again, many of us are moving forward from the pandemic, and Freeform Dynamics is celebrating one full year of Freeform Focus magazine!

This is something of a 'spring cleaning' issue. In our first article we assess the opportunities presented by the shift to hybrid working and the need to rebuild IT infrastructures for an uncertain future. Can you use them to drive - at last - the modernisation of desktop delivery?

And we reflect on diversity and commonality - two topics which are of course quite complementary.  ​

We hope you enjoy this edition! Look after yourselves and stay well.

- The Freeform Dynamics Team

In this issue

Has the workspace revolution finally arrived?

Look for market similarities not their differences

Random thoughts - our take on some topical issues

CIO’s are not super-beings

Who is Laura Rose?

“Sovereignty” as the new buzz word

Highlights from our recent work

Has the workspace revolution finally arrived?

 

We have been managing PCs at scale for the best part of three decades, but despite the hardware and software being updated considerably, how we deliver applications to our end users has changed comparatively little. Part of this is down to evolution of the management capabilities available to administer physical PCs, which have evolved considerably in the last fifteen years. But the adoption of more sophisticated solutions, such as VDI, user virtualisation and application streaming, has lagged somewhat behind, despite these now becoming more mature with robust solutions readily available. However, recent research conducted by Freeform Dynamics indicates things may well be about to change.

Feature1_Graphic.png

The results show there is a clear market opportunity to modernise desktop delivery, with drivers for change centred on a combination of continued uncertainty around where staff will want to work in the future and a recognition of the need to ensure flexibility in desktop service delivery. 

 

But, crucially, this is also coupled with a desire among IT managers to leave the past behind. The fact that we still manage desktop delivery as we have done for decades is now seen as unviable going forwards. IT professionals now look much more open to new ideas, and may well be ready to shake things up and modernise desktop delivery. 

 

Clearly this should open up the opportunity for vendors to engage with clients in new ways. It’s time to change from the ‘same old same old’ and get ready for tomorrow. The long-forecast workspace revolution may finally be under way.

Look for market similarities not their differences

When we speak with IT vendors we are often asked if European markets differ from each other, and how they compare to North America. The reason is vendors, especially those expanding into new markets, want to know how much, if any, they should localise their offerings. We usually respond that, over the decades we have been carrying out research and working on both the vendor and client sides of the equation, we find that the majority of customers have the same core issues wherever they are located. Sure, there may be occasional differences, often dictated by local legislation or regulations, but generally it is far better to simply tailor the solution for local markets as little as possible. Don’t make bespoke solutions unless you absolutely have to, as the similarities nearly always far outweigh the differences. Usually it is only the market messaging that needs modification for it to resonate with potential clients. And, of course, it is far easier to manage if you have consistent products and services, and only the messaging is localised.

Random thoughts

The myths of hybrid work

We often talk as if it’s a singular thing, but it’s not. From execs with a home office through work-anywhere field staff to hot-desking Millennials and Gen-Xers, from five office days a week to zero, there’s no single “hybrid worker”. Reaching that opportunity means hunting down the common factors and needs - including secure remote access, help with health and safety, and a collaboration strategy that supports diversity and equal access.

Support is still at least as valuable as sales

It is true that salespeople get paid for making sales. That said, when it comes to contract renewal time the impact that customer support has delivered is often at least as important as buying the customer dinner and offering them a good price, if not more so. And as the proportion of solutions that are acquired using subscription or pay-as-you-use models increases, the critical importance of support will accelerate.      

‘Traditional’ is not a dirty word

In an industry obsessed with the new and transformative, it’s easy to forget that established methods and mature solutions often represent the better way forward. If a senior architect says “we’ve considered all the options and we’re sticking with our traditional approach”, that’s not a cop-out. When messaging to experienced practitioners, you need to make your case convincingly. Relying on something being new or trendy just isn’t good enough.

 

CIO’s are not super-beings

 

Someone recently approached us to contribute content to their publication. We get this a lot, and our first question is always “Can you tell us a bit about your readership”. The response was “They are almost all CIOs”. There then followed an interesting discussion of what qualifies someone to be regarded as a CIO. The head of IT at group level for a big insurance company - most definitely. What about the person running IT for one of that company’s subsidiaries or divisions? Yes, probably. And someone running a 10 person IT department for a mid-sized insurance broker? Maybe… And the most senior of two IT guys supporting a family-owned broker with a handful of branches? Dunno!

 

The point is that we’re all guilty of using the CIO handle indiscriminately, and the image that often pops into our minds is an all-powerful superbeing running a sizable empire with lots of spending power. The truth is that IT leaders, whether they have CIO in their job title or not (most don’t), come in a lot of different forms and work in a whole range of different environments. 

 

And while some love to get out there and promote themselves, the vast majority quietly just get on with the job - looking after day-to-day operations, overseeing projects and initiatives, managing relationships, internal-selling, managing the occasional crisis, and so on. Sure, they strategise, plan and make ‘big decisions’, but at the risk of generalising, that’s usually a relatively small part of the day-job. 

 

If you’re involved in messaging or reaching out to the CIO audience yourself, it’s worth properly tuning into what the role is really about. And to do this, you could do a lot worse than download our recent research paper entitled “The Post-Pandemic CIO”, linked to in the update section below.

Analyst profile: Laura Rose

profile-photo.jpg
Earrings.jpg

Role: Creative Lead, responsible for graphic design, video production, and generally looking after the way the company presents itself and its content.

(In)famous for: Remembering everything, and tactfully but firmly reminding others in the team what they have (sometimes conveniently) forgotten.

 

Passions and interests: Creator through and through, with one or more craft-related projects usually going on outside of work. Always looking to learn, e.g. recently got into calligraphy and print-making. Successful side-hustle designing, producing and selling custom jewellery, and helping others to do the same.

 

Biggest challenges at work: Staying sane as a creative surrounded by analysts who think nothing of trying to cram a whole technical diagram into a single icon.

Most rewarding part of the job: Taking raw ideas thrown out by the research team and turning them into something meaningful, engaging and visually appealing that works for the client. Plus it’s always nice to see your stuff out there on the Web.

Best advice for creatives: Aesthetics, feel and emotional engagement are important in creative design. But in our business, it’s the message that matters, so make sure you understand what authors, researchers, etc are trying to communicate and why.

“Sovereignty” as the new buzz word

IT marketing loves buzzwords. Some exist briefly before evaporating, while others slowly become accepted as part of standard IT vocabulary. Today’s entrant is Sovereignty, along with its many sub-variants concerned with geographical location, legal or regulatory constraints, software and data openness, and so on. 

 

In many ways sovereignty concerns can simply reflect an innate desire to maintain control, and occasionally regulation can be the formal justification for this even when it does not apply in the way the customer thinks. This makes it important for vendors to distinguish between what’s actually needed or desired, and what’s not, i.e. something being used as an excuse. 

 

In a sales context, peoples’ wants and hangups are often more powerful levers than their actual needs. Too many make sovereignty an excuse not to do something, rather than an excuse to do something. Vendors need to be aware of the actual motivations behind sovereignty conversations, be they real, psychological or simply excuses for inertia.

 

Recent content

 

The Post-Pandemic CIO

LeadershipCommunication.jpg

IT teams have been under a lot of pressure over the past two years, and not just from the need to implement rapid technology change in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many were thrown into remote working themselves at very short notice and asked to do their jobs in less than ideal conditions.
Read more...

Modernizing the digital workplace

Workplace.jpg

For many IT departments, it was tough getting working from home (WFH) going. Their immediate pandemic response was focused on “Just make it work, and now!” Pragmatism, supply shortages and the need to act fast often took precedence over cost savings and planning for the future.
Read more...

CIOs plans for 2022

CIOsPlan.jpeg

The last two years have seen unprecedented operational changes within organisations large and small. One factor that impacted the majority of IT leaders was the speed with which we had to react to the initial, drastic change in working patterns. This forced many to make decisions without the usual amount of planning and consideration.
Read more...

These are just a few examples of recent content, please go to www.freeformdynamics.com to see a wide selection of content on different topics. You can click on the icons below to browse by content type:

IndustryResearch-1.png
ThoughtLeadership.png
DecisionSupportTools.png

Not signed up to receive 
our quarterly magazine?