99 problems, but my desktop ain’t one

It’s a little-known piece of pop trivia, but it was actually Tracy Marrow, better known by his stage name, Ice T, who originally penned the chorus of ‘99 Problems’ – a song which Jay-Z and Rick Rubin of Def Jam Recordings fame later had a hit with in 2004. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 172 in its top 500 greatest songs of all time, with the catchy line even making it into common parlance when former US president, Barack Obama, mentioned it in his amusing final White House Correspondents’ dinner speech.

IT staff might nod sagely at the reference to 99 problems. They face this daily: managing complex IT environments resulting from hybrid on-premises and cloud infrastructure, remote device management, a changing application landscape, ever-increasing cybersecurity threats, and the enormous interest and opportunity that AI adoption presents in the workplace.

What’s also rapidly looming is the considerable impact that the termination of Windows 10 support will have on everyone. Microsoft has announced that this ends on October 14, 2025, with well-respected analysts Canalys reporting that an estimated 240 million PC devices could become e-waste as they lack the hardware – mainly due to CPUs – to run the next-gen Windows OS, Windows 11. If you wanted a visual illustration, Canalys said that if these PCs were all folded laptops, stacked one on top of another, it would make a pile 600km taller than the moon.

A significant OS change – remembering that Windows was introduced nearly 40 years ago in 1985 and has since undergone 10 or so significant updates – allows organizations to really think about their end-user computing strategies and reset them. Windows 11 could be seen as a ‘super cycle reset’ because of the need to not only have hardware that supports AI but, given a lot of devices purchased during Covid were not fit for purpose. Many will focus on this over the next 12-18 months.

Add to the mix the seismic shift taking place in the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) market – driven by acquisitions, change in strategies and new vendors coming into the market – the growth of Desktop as a Service (think Microsoft and AWS) and an increased amount of hybrid offerings, there is no question that how the modern workspace is deployed is in a state of flux, raising questions around any organization’s end-user computing (EUC) strategy.

Such change may give IT managers pause for thought around their workspace strategy, make technology decisions harder, with some even apprehensive about how to move forward. Yet with change comes choice and opportunity for everyone – including channel partners.

Partners, consultancy firms and managed service providers (MSP) can help and guide their customers if organisations want to actually start using VDI, remain on it, move supplier or shift from VDI to DaaS.

Simply put, partners can deliver innovation, managed services and expert guidance which will move their customers forward. A key part of this service is the kind of real-time analytics, visibility, and cost-sizing capabilities that ControlUp delivers which in addition then ensures that the implemented strategy continues to deliver a rich employee experience.

Flipping from rappers at the start of this blog to end with the great Sir Winston Churchill, I’m reminded of his words of wisdom. As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1924 Stanley Baldwin government, he defended his first budget in the House of Commons, saying, “There’s nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction. To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.”

Everyone would do well to remember this as they work out their end-user computing strategies and future direction.

About the author

Jed Ayres

Jed Ayres is widely recognized for the transformational impact he is making on the end user computing industry and joined ControlUp as CEO in August 2023.

Ayres has more than 20 years of technology experience and has a wide range of industry experience across workspace management, virtualization and mobility. Prior to joining ControlUp, he was the CEO at IGEL where he drove the company’s successful pivot from a hardware-centric to a software-first company and was instrumental in its acquisition by TA Associates. Before that, he was the SVP of Worldwide Marketing for AppSense, where he helped the company rebrand and achieve significant growth prior to being acquired by Thoma Bravo to be integrated into Ivanti. Ayres was also CMO at MCPc, a $300m+ Solutions Provider in Cleveland that achieved rapid and sustained growth and was acquired by Logicalis. Before McPc, he spent six years as SVP of Partner Management and Marketing at national solution provider MTM Technologies.

He has also held a number of advisory board positions, including Citrix Platinum Council, VMware Global Partner Advisory Board, and the Cisco Marketing Council. Ayres holds a BS in Business Administration from Sonoma State University and an MBA from San Francisco State University. An avid swimmer biker, and runner, Ayres successfully completed six full Ironman races and several ultramarathons. He resides in Marin, California.