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What is an Autonomous Workspace?

An autonomous workspace is an advanced end-user computing concept that combines rich, contextual insights with data science to streamline IT operations and deliver optimal experiences and security. Moving away from rules-based automation flows defined by IT, it progresses toward context-based actions driven by data science.

This modern vision represents the workspace management evolution from automation to autonomy, which are not interchangeable.

  • Automated workspace: A configuration and rules-based approach using manual playbooks and isolated, discrete automations that cover limited tasks
  • Autonomous workspace: A system that is constantly pulling and learning from data for sophisticated, outcomes-driven actions that keep systems running in their desired state with little to no  human interaction

Although an automated workspace improves efficiency, it still depends on IT to program the system. Meanwhile, an autonomous workspace uses AI/ML algorithms to lessen the burden on IT to provide proactive, advanced security and seamless end-user experiences.

A central tenet of an autonomous workspace is constant context awareness, which provides continuous access to data and insights. This information is then used to train data science models to maintain current systems without significant involvement from IT.

What are the benefits of an Autonomous Workspace?

Taking a fully modernized, data science-based approach to workspace management generates improvements that span multiple teams and interests. When following guidelines based on the autonomous workspace vision, companies can benefit from the following:

  • Decreased IT burden: With minimal human intervention, IT organizations operate more efficiently. Features like unified endpoint management and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) simplify IT operations so that organizations can concentrate on innovation instead of tasks.
  • Better business outcomes: Context-based actions deliver stronger outcomes across management, security, and end-user experience.
  • Empowered hybrid workforce: More effective outcomes reduce friction and improve the digital employee experience. Applying the autonomous workspace concept allows employees in any location to enjoy seamless experiences without compromising security.

The benefits of an autonomous workspace surpass those of an automated workspace. While an automated workspace also decreases IT burden, it still demands IT intervention.

In a considerable upgrade, the autonomous workspace concept requires little to no human involvement. Instead, it uses data science to significantly lighten the IT workload and continuously produce effective outcomes and experiences.

Why is an Autonomous Workspace important?

The autonomous workspace concept is important because it allows businesses to keep up with the movement toward flexible working environments. Teams no longer work in the same location or use the same devices, applications and networks. In these changing environments, autonomous workspaces reduce the chance of human error, while also enabling real-time responses to events that an overburdened IT staff member might miss.

As more companies shift to a hybrid work model, they introduce complexities for IT organizations, such as:

  • Need for remote onboarding technologies
  • Disconnected point solutions for distributed use cases
  • Lack of tools and infrastructure to support productivity
  • Lengthy security response for networks, devices and applications
  • Unreliable remote access to enterprise applications
  • More opportunities for malicious actors to attack

Since a distributed workforce complicates employee security and experiences, it requires more support than legacy tools, manual IT tasks and even IT automation can provide. To embrace these changes and make the transition easier on IT, organizations can turn to the autonomous workspace concept.

The autonomous workspace concept goes beyond traditional automated policy management to deliver the operational agility needed for hybrid work models, while decreasing the operational strain on IT. Instead of relying on IT, it uses proactive insights to drive self-configuring, self-healing, and self-securing outcomes:

  • Self-configuring: An autonomous workspace eliminates the need for reactive checks on policy and configurations drifts. It simply brings the device back to a desired state of compliance when changes occur.
  • Self-healing: An autonomous workspace detects and isolates end-user experience incidents, speeding up change management and facilitating auto-remediation to improve employee experiences.
  • Self-securing: An autonomous workspace intelligently detects security and compliance vulnerabilities and takes automatic quarantine and remediation actions to secure the workspace.

What are the use cases of an Autonomous Workspace?

The autonomous workspace concept solves a variety of obstacles that result from hybrid work, while introducing opportunities. It outperforms other workspace concepts in the following use cases:

  • Employee Experience: With an autonomous workspace, IT offers enhanced end-user experiences and services for remote, hybrid and frontline workers. When combined with offerings like DaaS, an autonomous workspace allows employees to log into virtual desktops from any location or device and enjoy consistent performance, uptime and flexibility.
  • Proactive Security: An autonomous workspace offers broader security and access, taking advantage of continuous ML for proactive measurement, remediation and security across all apps and devices. Situational intelligence and self-securing actions allow companies to simplify their shift to Zero Trust.
  • IT Modernization: By automating operations and focusing on outcomes instead of tasks, an autonomous workspace accelerates IT modernization efforts. Analytics and cloud native management speed up IT responses and break down silos, reducing IT complexity and total cost of ownership.

Across use cases, following the autonomous workspace concept comes with more advantages than using simple automation on its own. When an organization applies the concept correctly, employees should no longer need to wait on IT to fix technical issues, since data science does the analysis and remediation previously delegated to IT operations. An autonomous workspace continuously monitors data and efficiently fixes errors without the need for management, reducing the chance of human error.

When compared to an automated workspace, an autonomous workspace supports experiences, security, and modernization even more effortlessly.

Autonomous Workspace vs. Digital Workspace

A digital workspace refers to the modern technology framework that uses one centralized location to manage a company’s IT needs, including data, applications and devices. Its purpose is to simplify operations and support employees wherever and whenever they work.

Both digital workspaces and autonomous workspaces are examples of modern workspace management concepts. Like a digital workspace, the goal of an autonomous workspace is to reduce IT burden and empower hybrid employees. However, the difference is that the autonomous workspace is a more evolved concept that can inspire and inform the qualities of a digital workspace.

  • Autonomous workspace: Consists of advanced workspace management guidelines that can be applied to a digital workspace
  • Digital workspace: Can evolve to incorporate the advanced workspace management guidelines in the autonomous workspace concept

While a regular digital workspace leans on IT management to find and solve problems, the autonomous workspace concept uses AI/ML algorithms to proactively identify issues and secure the environment. An autonomous workspace self-configures, self-heals, and self-secures without the need for intervention.

By relying on data science instead of humans, the vision of an autonomous workspace delivers high-value outcomes and cutting-edge experiences. When included in a digital workspace, ideas from the autonomous workspace concept take digital workspaces to the next level.

Learn more about the journey to Autonomous Workspaces

The autonomous workspace concept is a guiding principle for the VMware Anywhere Workspace platform.

Building on existing principles of unification and automation, the platform incorporates autonomous digital super-admins that use proactive insights to drive self-configuring, self-healing, and self-securing outcomes. These features simplify IT operations, drive modernization and power hybrid work. By taking inspiration from the autonomous workspace concept, the platform provides a fully autonomous digital workspace.

VMware Journey to Autonomous Workspaces

What Automation and Autonomy Really Mean for IT Admins

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