The new association launches with its first ten members, which does not yet include any of the largest players in the space, and a goal of removing confusion among customers and channel partners about the multiple definitions used around remote and hybrid work.
Today, a new tech industry consortium, the Digital Workspace Ecosystem Alliance, is launching. Its objective is to provide vendor-neutral education and resources, to clarify for customers and channel partners the multiple divergent terms and concepts being applied around digital workspaces, so they can have a common framework that will clarify what makes the best sense for their particular needs. The alliance is launching with ten vendor members out of the gate: AppCURE, Cameyo, DeviceTRUST, directprint.io, Fortinium, IGEL, Login VSI, PolicyPak, Tehama, and Tricerat.
“The problem is that every vendor in the space calls themselves a digital workspace, even though what they do can be very different,” said Robb Henshaw, Co-Founder and CMO of Cameyo, which played a key role in bringing the alliance together. Channel partners bear the brunt of having to do deal with that.”
Henshaw acknowledged that the tech industry is full of vague buzzphrases, but said there is a major difference between very broad terms like digital transformation and something more specific like digital workspace.
“Digital transformation is one of those terms people throw around broadly, but its meaning was always broad, more of an aspirational goal,” he said. “Digital workspace is a specific set of technologies to solve a very specific problem around issues of dealing with remote workers, where people are being tasked with putting solutions in space for a specific problem. We are looking to increase understanding of the very specific problems to solve in WFX [Work from Anywhere].”
A key to doing this is mapping out common definitions around the digital workspace ecosystem.
“We use a standard set of definitions for what these segments do, so IT buyers can decide what they need and what they don’t,” Henshaw said.
Concurrent with the alliance launch today, they are also releasing their first industry white paper, Evaluating the Digital Workspace Ecosystem, prepared by independent technology writer Brandon Lee.
“All members had to agree to forego all rights to editing the document,” Henshaw indicated. “It presents a vendor neutral set of definitions around the digital workspace so people can identify what segment or layer they need. It lists key payers in each segment including people who are not part of the alliance like Citrix, Microsoft, Nutanix, and VMware. If we only promoted alliance members, that would be ridiculous. Citrix and Nutanix are two of Cameyo’s biggest competitors. We see them in most deals. But if I am committed to this initiative, I have to be okay with putting them in here.”
The alliance has no formal membership tiers.
“Tiers of membership create levels of say and control,” Henshaw said. “Removing that layer removes that conversation. With the initial materials, everyone chipped in to take care of that. Everyone to their own ability has plans to promote it, and the larger organizations will do a paid promotion of the white paper. But there are no fixed costs.”
The major question is whether the larger players in the space will ultimately come into the alliance.
“The intention is for us to bring as many big players on as possible,” Henshaw stated. “Whether they choose to do so, I can’t comment on that. They may agree with the intention, but want to forge their own path. But we are doing his in a way that’s truly respective of the end user. If this was just corporate marketing from us, the big companies wouldn’t have anything to do with it. If we are honest about where a competitor solution is the best technology, there’s not much to object to. It just helps to reduce confusion in terms of the sales cycle. Ultimately, whether the big players are involved or not, this still has value for the channel because they need good quality materials that can help to reduce the confusion.”
Other reports and surveys are on the roadmap.
“In May, we will be releasing our next round of members, and in June, the results of our first annual WFX survey,” Henshaw said.