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Drawing on years of experience deploying remote working technologies to some of the world’s leading businesses, Keith Ali (pictured) , MD at Creative ITC, shares five top tips for overcoming VDI investment obstacles and ensuring your organisation maximises ROI from workforce mobility.

 

Adoption of VDI soared in 2020 as IT teams sprinted to enable business continuity during global lockdown. Now, as organisations transition to long-term hybrid working models they’re facing a new challenge – choosing a sustainable solution that improves workforce mobility and productivity without increasing cost and complexity.

 

However, with many organisations across Europe still grappling with balance sheets, securing IT investment for the remote working long haul is tough. The situation’s not helped by issues with VDI adoption in some sectors. Many IT teams discovered off-the-shelf VDI platforms were unable to cope with the real-world demands of power users dealing with graphics heavy applications away from the workplace, resulting in frustration and poor productivity.

IT departments now face the twin challenge of overcoming C-suite caution and user reluctance due to poor experiences. 

The chances of successfully unlocking investment in long-term VDI solutions greatly increase when you know the five common pitfalls to look out for – and how to avoid them. 

Unrealistic resourcing

Implementing and managing a VDI solution long-term is anything but simple. You can spend a lot of time firefighting issues with legacy infrastructure, cloud deployment and user problems. Be honest about your team’s skillset and examine existing infrastructure closely when choosing a deployment model. 

Now intrinsic to hybrid working, personal PCs and devices are susceptible to a wide range of attacks and security issues, making it hard to ensure security and compliance for data accessed on WFH systems. Find a provider who can meet industry needs and who offer consumption in the cloud, on-premise, or hybrid in one seamless solution giving IT the freedom to decide where VDI workloads sit.

The managed service provider (MSP) route offer unexpected value for money with savings on data centre space, infrastructure, upgrades, licensing, application deployment, support and headcount. Scrutinise their technical credentials and abilities to provide ongoing management, optimisation and technical support. Check your business will benefit from access to the latest technologies and how often these will be updated. 

One-size-fits-all assumptions

Providers pitching one-size-fits-all solutions wrongly assume all staff will have the same needs and interact similarly with VDI – they don’t and won’t. 

Not all VDI platforms or providers are the same. Look for a purpose-built platform that assures user experience identical to, or better than, in the workplace. A supplier with a successful track record in your sector – one who fully understands virtualisation in the cloud and how industry-specific applications and network services behave together – will be invaluable here.

Empty money-saving promises

Beware VDI providers promising to save you money – chances are they won’t. IT infrastructure costs can remain flat or rise slightly. Building a case based on a specialist provider’s ability to unlock much greater value for around the same outlay has proven to be a more realistic route.

From an IT perspective, gains include enhanced data security, built-in disaster recovery, smaller storage footprint, faster IT provisioning, centrally managed updates and less helpdesk traffic leaving more time to spend on transformational IT projects.

Inaccurate financial comparisons

Ensure cost comparisons are like-for-like. In moving from on-premise VDI or WVD managed in-house to Desktop-as-a-Service delivered by a managed service provider (MSP), start by calculating the total cost of ownership usually over a five-year period. In-house expenses should include PC hardware refreshes, virtualisation software and additional GPU, together with costs associated with system administrator salaries, power, rack space, out-of-hours staffing and training costs.

To strengthen your business case, look for an MSP offering scalable pricing. Pay per user, per month, per profile by purchasing credits you can stipulate and reallocate, providing instant VDI burst scalability as and when needed.

  • Overlooking powerful productivity gains

Most importantly, build a value-driven case that uncovers often-ignored business gains like improved collaboration and productivity. That might be team members in different time zones working together on complex designs and models, delivering projects faster at less risk and cost; or employees benefiting from faster access, improved version control, and time saved eliminating rework and duplicated effort. You can quantify the value using time/pay calculations or similar activity-based costing models.

 

As European businesses strive to flourish in the new era of hybrid working, IT teams must overcome increased financial scrutiny when seeking investment in new technologies. A business case based purely on financial costs ignores a host of wider benefits. Taking a holistic approach to VDI investment will result in a compelling case demonstrating clear ROI, making it easier for finance and IT directors to reach the right business decision.

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