Steria introduces Workplace on Command for mobile employees

Mobile workers are to be offered a range of enterprise services via a hosted service from Steria

British company Steria has launched a new service that will allow employees in organisations to call up a range of enterprise applications while working away from their desks.

The company has responded to the increase in a mobile workforce by introducing the service, Workplace On Command, allowing customers access to a full range of enterprise services regardless of the mobile device being used.

Steria chief operating officer, Gavin Chapman said that the new offering provided customers with a “true business desktop on demand, with proper-pay-per use from anywhere on any device.”

He said that the system was aimed at a variety of industry sectors: “it's for anyone who wants information from anywhere,” he said, citing the example of a police force. “They are heavily paper based – very centralised. They make an arrest, have to go to office to fill in forms, which then have to be tied up. There are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong … not least the variety of different systems and devices being used,” he said. “People prefer their own devices and Workplace on Command lets them do this.”

The system is based on Microsoft software with Citrix Receiver to give device virtualisation. The infrastructure uses Cisco UCS with NetApp to improve performance.

On top of that, the company offers its own apps store: Steria Workstore, built on Cisco’s Cloud Portal platform. This allows users to access their profile, subscribe to new services and review monthly consumption to control costs. Microsoft Office products included are: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Project, Visio, Publisher and Office 365.“The aim is to give a Windows 7-like desktop from anywhere,” said Chapman.

A key element of the service is security. “If a device is lost or stolen, we can isolate it instantly,” said Chapman. “We see the workplace like a bubble, so the bubble is protected, regardless of what the (users) have got on the device.”

However, while the company talks about offering a cloud service, it's not as straightforward as that. It's not a question of signing up and buying services. “Every organisation is different,” said Chapman, and there has to be a process of a mini due diligence to assess the set-up of each customer.” Because of this, the company is not producing a price guide for the service. “There isn’t a standard user,” said Chapman, “We have to sit down with the user and work out what applications he wants.”

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