Expert Interview Series: Eric Musgrave on Virtualized Infrastructures

by Andrew Mullen on January 28, 2016

"In most organizations these days, there are two groups of employees. There are those who have embraced social media and mobility, and those who have not. A good mobile app must service both groups by being easy enough to use for the latter but also have enough features to satisfy the former. If an app can accomplish that, it can bridge the gap between the two disconnected groups of people. Without that, you will end up with a major disconnect in your communication and likely have multiple workflows for every task."

So says Eric Musgrave, the vice president of research and development at Tricerat. With a background in software engineering and experience in the game industry, Eric has been working at Tricerat for the past 14 years, developing solutions to common IT and virtualization issues. He recently spoke with us about many aspects of the development and reliability of a virtualized infrastructure that's important to all businesses.

What do you wish more people know about the role that mobile apps play in the success of a business?

I wish more people knew that mobile apps are not just about porting existing functionality from a desktop or web app to a mobile device. Rather, it is about taking the opportunity to rethink your workflow and your user experience.

I think most businesses have a checklist of features. Once 80 percent of the features are ported to a mobile app, they call it a day. Those are the apps and businesses that fail. If you rethink your user experience, you will find ways to empower your users. That is what mobility is all about - giving your users more power than what they had when strapped to their desk. There is a reason that your users want to get up and move around; if you figure out why, you are headed in the right direction.

In order to have a reliable virtualized infrastructure, how can a business develop employee-focused mobile apps that improve communication and workflow?

The best way to develop an app like that is to get representatives of both groups together and open the conversation so that you can properly design the user experience. It's not an easy task, but it is critical if you want your mobile strategy to be successful. You cannot win by only targeting one group of your employees.

What are some best practices for companies that want to use mobile apps to grow their business?

There are many ways that mobile apps can help grow a business, but you have to stay focused on your core mission. One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is forcing apps on their users without a clear relation to the core mission of the company. Also, avoid wow-factor apps that provide little to no long term value. By that, I mean an app that looks cool and has a couple of cool features but doesn't do much for your business. Be sure to avoid time-wasting apps that distract your employees. And lastly, embrace one app for a given function. For example, you don't want your employees having to use three different apps for document sharing. There is nothing more frustrating for an employee than having to spend time thinking, "Which app was I supposed to use for this task?".

Please tell us more about Tricerat.

Tricerat's mission is to provide IT Admins with tools that can help make their life simple. The company began shortly after Microsoft released Terminal Server, and we've worked alongside Microsoft, Citrix and VMware for over 15 years. We work closely with our partners and customers to identify everyday pains that system administrators and users experience in remote and virtual computing environments, and do our best to ease those pains.

Tricerat has a very tight-knit team that is committed to making the lives of IT admins easier. We currently are bridging the gap to mobility and are finding that a lot of IT admins are in need to tools to help them do their job from anywhere, at any time.

What do you ultimately aim to provide business owners?

It sounds cliché, but we want to provide peace of mind. It's not just peace of mind that their business will run smoothly. It is also the knowledge that their IT staff has the right tools to do their job, and that they have a high quality of life. No business owner wants their IT department to be constantly stressed and putting out fires 24/7. They would prefer that their IT staff be relaxed and able to continue their education and strategize for the future. Our tools aim to assist in that goal.

Follow Eric on Twitter.

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