Yesterday at TechEd, I introduced Microsoft’s latest concept of the flexible workspace to help you make the most of technologies available today (using technologies that many of you already own) in scenarios you experience every day. I discussed how the flexible workspace concept will evolve as we introduce new technologies and products over time. Thanks to those of you who joined me in this session.

After the presentation, I had a chance to talk to some of you and get your thoughts on how your world of work is changing. You provided interesting feedback and asked some great questions about how to implement the flexible workspace in your organization, so I wanted to provide our guidance and recommendations to get started:

1. First, consider the needs of your business environment and assess the risk profile of your organization. Many times this means you will want to start a dialogue with your HR, finance and legal teams to understand how the policies in your organization should evolve to keep pace with today’s workforce requirements as well as the business opportunities that emerging technologies can provide.

2. With that knowledge in mind, evaluate various people in your organization based on their roles and technology needs. Some questions you may ask yourself:

  • How much technology autonomy is required meet the needs of the various communities?
  • How mobile are your people? Do they have the same needs when they are in the office or when they are working remotely?

What you will likely find is that the needs vary by job function. There is typically not a one size fits all approach to meet everyone’s needs. Forrester recently published a whitepaper about user segmentation that might be helpful to evaluate in this context.

3. Considering the essential needs of your business with an overlay of how people work in your organization, now you may want to consider the capabilities that you want to provide to meet those needs and which technologies might work best to create a flexible workspace platform for your organization. Depending on your organization’s needs, the types of experiences and devices in your organization, you might choose to use enabling technologies like Desktop Virtualization or cloud services. Throughout your decision making you should keep in mind how to provide the essentials of security and management using a streamlined and intelligent management infrastructure.

4. We would encourage you to start a pilot program with a subset of people to see how the technologies play out in your organization’s scenarios.

5. As you find the balance with empowering people and providing IT security and manageability, remember that the notion of flexibility means the environment can change as new devices and software are introduced. Continue to evaluate the needs of your organization and adjust the flexible workspace as needed.

Microsoft provides many products to enable the flexible workspace and we collaborate with many partners who extend our platform capabilities. The flexible workspace concept is rapidly evolving, so we encourage you to check back on this blog in coming months for updates. For more tips on how to implement in your organization, please talk to your Microsoft account manager.