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The technologies shaping the future of the workplace

Maxine-Laurie Marshall — January 2017
Kirill Tatarinov, CEO at Citrix, shares insight into how cloud, mobile, IoT and AI are transforming the world of work.

For a growing number of people the workplace is now more of a concept than a permanent, physical space. Through services such as Citrix’s Workspace Suite and Fujitsu Workplace Anywhere, all the tools, applications, data and networking needed for people to do their work securely can be served up seamlessly from a private or public cloud to any location.

It’s a technology-powered transformation that is rapidly reshaping traditional workplaces and work practices, says Kirill Tatarinov, CEO of Citrix. “We’re seeing massive transformation of the workspace. Essentially, from any device, anywhere around the world and at any time you can connect to your virtual workspace in the cloud and get instant access to all of the apps, data and business processes you need, whether you are within the virtual perimeter of your enterprise or outside of it. It’s a tectonic shift in how people work and how they interact with each other.”

Cloud and mobility are the foundations of such fast-evolving workplaces, says Tatarinov, but the rapid application of the Internet of Things (IoT) will dramatically transform work even further. “IoT plays a huge role,” says Tatarinov. “When everything — desks, screens, projectors and, of course, computers — are fully enabled by the power of the internet and computing, with cloud [orchestrating] this broadly connected set of things it completely transforms everything.”
The IoT connected workplace

Tatarinov envisages a future in which the world of work is fully IoT-enabled. “Imagine a person coming to work and swiping their card in the lobby of the building. They get a message on their device saying: ‘Today you’re working in this team and your desk is in this particular location.’ And by the time they get there their full desktop and the set of tools that they need to get their work done on that particular day is fully provisioned to the device and desk.”

He predicts that movement between environments will be seamless. “The next day [the employee] may be in a different city, working with a different team and their environment can be completely transformed by the power of those connected things and the cloud, helping their organization run business processes around these new workplaces.”

While IoT will change the way people work, the associated security implications will make the previous challenges of mobile device management seem like child’s play.

By 2020 analysts at Gartner estimate that more than 20 billion objects will be connected to the internet, and Tatarinov argues that development needs to be embraced and judiciously managed. “For the most part it involves many of the same techniques used for managing mobile devices, but with enormous scale and growth in complexity. Those things may bring vulnerabilities, may expose enterprises and create holes in the security perimeter, all of which will need to be taken care of.”

He continues: “On one hand IoT in the workplace is a huge opportunity, on the other it’s a huge additional responsibility and one that CIOs need to take on. It’s the ongoing race of more and more technology at work when many businesses aren’t necessarily ready for that.”

“AI will help enterprises make faster, smarter decisions on how to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) may help. As the number of devices proliferates and the data they gather soars, enterprises will be able to analyze patterns of cyber-attacks and use AI to stay ahead of potential intrusions. “By applying algorithms over those vast amounts of data, enterprises will be able to configure their environments to make faster, smarter decisions on how to protect themselves,” Tatarinov argues. Such big data analytics can unlock all kinds of insight into business and societal risk, he argues.

“One might even argue there were sufficient amounts of data available to have predicted — and prevented — the previous economic down-cycle ahead of time. I believe that the application of reasoning to vast amounts of data is what’s going to help the economy and the world to grow in a much steadier way in the future. It’s a phenomenal transformation that will be tremendously beneficial to every organization, every economy and every government that embraces it.”

  • Photography: Jason Nuttle
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About: Kirill Tatarinov
The president and CEO of Citrix since January 2016, Tatarinov is a veteran of enterprise software, having spent 13 years at Microsoft, latterly as head of its Dynamics ERP group, and 11 years at BMC Software, where he rose to become CTO. Outside of tech, Moscow-born Tatarinov is an avid skier and supporter of children’s charities.
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