Perfect storm for desktop virtualisation

A way of simply cutting IT management costs, or a way to potentially change the way the organisation does business? Aaron White outlines the possibilities that desktop virtualisation offers today’s organisations.

Tags: Citrix Systems Incorporation
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Perfect storm for desktop virtualisation Aaron White is the regional director for Citrix Middle East & Africa.
By  Aaron White Published  June 14, 2012

A way of simply cutting IT management costs, or a way to potentially change the way the organisation does business? Aaron White outlines the possibilities that desktop virtualisation offers today’s organisations.

Four years on from the economic slowdown, organisations that retrenched their operations to conserve budgets are now prepared to invest to improve efficiencies and support future growth. Unsurprisingly, technology is a catalyst for change. Within large organisations, the most transformative change is desktop virtualisation. The power and attraction of desktop virtualisation is that it is driven by both the organisation’s need to control and manage centrally, and the end user’s desire to choose their own IT equipment in order to be as productive as possible.

At face value, desktop virtualisation may appear to generate little more than savings in the IT department. However – and more importantly – it enables entirely new ways of working.

The uniformity of end-user computing devices across an organisation is a result of trying to minimise the complexity of managing a large estate of PCs. Consequently, most end users are left with a ‘one size fits most’ device, becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of functionality and convenience they would consider a given in a computing device of their own choosing.

End users become far more productive and engaged when able to choose the most appropriate device for them (generally for use from home). If that sounds fanciful, consider that 92% of companies with more than 500 employees know that their employees are already using non-company issued computing devices for work-related tasks.

Indeed, desktop virtualisation allows organisations to effectively manage the use of employee-owned devices for work-related tasks. According to research conducted for Citrix Global BYO Index, around 28% of the workforce is already using non company-issued computing devices. This is expected to rise to 35% by mid-2013.

Supporting employees to help them succeed, be more productive and better balance work and home commitments attracts and retains top talent, as well as new graduates who expect far more from technology than most organisations currently provide.

Desktop virtualisation is also the most secure and cost effective way to support new types of workers, such as staff based at home. Third parties can be quickly integrated into the central computing network through the provision of virtual desktops. Lost and stolen devices can be easily and instantly cut off, securing confidential data, and the same virtual desktop provisioned to a replacement device. These capabilities provide full and fast disaster recovery.

Entire business models are being enabled through desktop virtualisation. Applications can be opened to third parties, securely, because neither the application nor the data leaves the data centre; it is simply displayed on a remote screen. Likewise, a third party contracted to produce intellectual property (for example, a software developer) will be saving its work straight into the commissioning organisation’s data centre as opposed to its own local servers.

Individually purchased mobile telephones can be easily and quickly added into a unified communications package, ensuring that people are easily contactable. The pressure to improve performance and efficiencies is relentless, and IT is usually at the forefront of both. The degree of centralised management offered by desktop virtualisation brings significant savings to the IT budget, mainly through reduced administration, but also by extending the life of older PCs that can be used as thin clients.

Alongside pure cost savings, desktop virtualisation reduce carbon emissions. A typical call centre, for example, may have two or three thousand PCs operating 24/7, consuming around 140W. Thin clients could take that down to just 12W per workstation, potentially reducing energy consumption at the desktop by around 90%.

Moments of economic difficulty are well noted for spurring innovation, and this crisis is no different. Now is the moment to embrace the momentum of transformation in the knowledge that companies will be faster and stronger when better times arrive. Virtual desktops significantly reduce IT administration costs; more than that, they emancipate workers to better fulfill their job roles and introduce new ways of operating.

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