Unisys Offers Cloud-Based Services to Manage Mobile Devices

The Unisys End-User Productivity Services suite addresses the growing trend of employees bringing a wide variety of mobile consumer devices into the workplace, causing security and management headaches for IT departments. The new Unisys services take advantage of virtualization technology and cloud computing.

Unisys is looking to make it easier for businesses to support the growing number of mobile consumer devices being used by today's tech-savvy workers.

Increasingly, employees are bringing to work a host of mobile wireless devices, such as smartphones, that are not issued by the company, raising concerns over security, support and costs.

Unisys Sept. 30 introduced its End-User Productivity Services, a family of outsourcing services designed to support a variety of devices, PCs and applications using cloud capabilities the company already offers.

"You've got the younger generation that want to bring their own devices to work," Tony Doye, president of Unisys Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services, said in an interview, noting the growing security concern for CIOs. "You've also got a blurring around what's work and what's play, who is using what devices, etc."

The challenge comes in the various generations of employees in the workplace-from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers to Millennials-and the need to support them all, said Sam Gross, vice president of Global IT Outsourcing Solutions at Unisys.

"The Millennials are going to bring in their devices to the workplace," Gross said.

Analyst company Forrester Research said earlier in September that smartphones make workers more productive, putting the onus on IT departments to find out how to port more applications to these devices and to support these devices.

In an interview in May, Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray noted that this new generation of employees is creating new challenges for IT departments, fueling the drive to employ such technologies as desktop virtualization.

"In a couple of years from now, it's going to be a lot less about the old computer box that IT hands out [to employees] and more about the image that IT is handing out to you," Gray said at the time.

Gross agreed, saying the days of businesses locking into a long-term agreement with an OEM to supply all the company's computing needs are coming to an end.

"That thinking is no longer relevant because the demographics of the work force are changing," Gross said.

Technologies such as Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager and Intel's vPro-both key components of Unisys' End-User Productivity Services-are making it easier for businesses to manage a variety of mobile devices.

The new Unisys services offer not only traditional desktop support, including service desk support, desktop management and applications, but also hosting and virtualization services that use the Internet and Unisys Secure Cloud Solution, which was introduced in June.

Services include Virtual Office as a Service, which gives users access to standard office suites through a subscription to the Unisys secure cloud, and Unified Communications as a Service, which again makes use of the vendor's secure cloud to deliver Microsoft Exchange, Office SharePoint Server and Office Communicator applications in a multitenant environment.

There also are Application Virtualization Services-for preparing and deploying desktop applications in a virtualized environment-and Virtual Desktop Services for monitoring and managing virtual desktops.

Unisys plans to offer a portal for managing stipends given to employees to buy the devices they want to use for work, as well as client-side virtualization to enable vendors to manage individual virtual desktops that are on user devices.

The stipend-managing service could grow in importance as more businesses are giving their employees money to buy computing devices.