By Chris Dworetzky
The “roaring” 1920s were a period of significant economic advancement in the west. It was a decade of social, technological and artistic upheaval. Business was booming across Europe and North America as the shadow of World War I continued to fade.
Many factors made the 20s so successful for independent enterprise. Of course, back in those days, professionals didn’t have to deal with managing web applications in a corporate IT environment. Unfortunately, as an IT administrator in today’s world, YOU do. So, let’s examine what you need to do to make sure the new 20s are as roaring for you, as it was for your grandparents and great-grandparents 100 years ago.
1. There is a paradigm shift (still) underway.
The 80s and 90s saw a massive shift from the distributed terminal-connected-to-mainframe model that had been in use previously. That shift was into an area that at the same time saw a massive management investment: desktop applications. Then, in the early 21st century, we started to see a new paradigm shift: the shift from desktop applications into web-based applications.
Nowadays, web applications are ubiquitous. According to Gartner, five out of six applications used in corporate environments today are on the web. Web apps are only going to get more pronounced before desktop applications become largely obsolete on the corporate level.
2. Desktop application management doesn’t cover you in today’s world.
SCCM and its competitors are great for nearly all aspects of desktop application management. You can easily verify that the right users have access to the right applications on the right platforms. However, let’s throw a web application into the mix. How do you know your users can use the web application? How do you know if there are problems using the application? The answer: without a browser management strategy paired with appropriate browser management software, you don’t.
3. Your users need you to keep up.
Anyone who has worked in desktop application support knows that users have a way to get things on a system that don’t belong. Of course, there are tons of tools in place to keep things locked down on the desktop. Do you have those same tools in place for web applications? How do you know which web applications your users are using?
Picture a scenario: You are tasked with researching to find a new cloud service for file management. Suddenly, you realize you don’t know if there even is one currently in use. Even if you know there shouldn’t be, it can be hard to tell for sure. If you had a browser management solution in place, you could easily see which applications are in use. You could answer these questions yourself without having to flag down department heads.
4. Browsers are constantly changing.
Microsoft recently announced that Edge is moving away from its EdgeHTML-based renderer and onto Chromium. Microsoft’s announcement is just one recent example of how the world of web browsers is rife with transformation. When a browser changes, how will you know that your users can use their existing web applications?
Picture the scenario: your users are using a myriad of different browsers to access an application that your organization bought five years ago. This application seems to be having no problems and is accessible from Edge, Chrome, Firefox and even Internet Explorer. Maybe because of this you allow your users the ability to use any browser to access the application.
Well, suddenly, a change happens in Chrome where a “deprecated” API gets removed. It turns out, this application depends on this API… and now all your users using Chrome can’t access it. Because you can’t switch the browser used for the application on the fly, you have to send out an email to users instructing them which browser to use. Then hope the support volume dies down because you weren’t able to monitor which web applications are having problems running in your enterprise. The problems you didn’t even know about until your users started reporting it.
Now, picture an alternate world where you had a browser management strategy in place. Using your browser management software, you were able to see ahead of time that a user was having a problem with the web application. You were able to see that only Chrome was affected. You then used your software to force Firefox to be used organization-wide until an update from the vendor can be secured. Much more manageable.
5. Like browsers, web applications are also continually changing.
We’ve all dealt with the frustration: suddenly, an application that you used successfully in the past doesn’t work anymore. Years ago, the solution used to be to “try the website in Internet Explorer.” Many modern applications reversed this trend. If a website doesn’t work in Edge or Firefox, you may have to try Chrome. If you’re making these guesses, your users will too. These guesses directly translate to lost revenue as additional work is placed on your support teams to support the wild-west ecosystem.
With a browser management strategy in place, you can kick out the riff-raff, say good-bye to the wild west and hello to the new roaring 2020s.