When VDI Isn’t Really About, Well, “VDI”
- April 26, 2018
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is one of those technologies that's been around for quite a few years now with “next year” always promised to be the year it breaks wide open. Well, maybe after all this time the reality is that it's not about VDI after all. What we really need to focus on is investing in a way to provide workers a range of technology app delivery choices.
Here’s what I've learned over the years wading in the VDI waters. First things first: it's vital that you have a sense of what problem or problems you're trying to solve. As obvious as that may seem, take some time and think it through. Are you trying to increase worker productivity? Are you looking to roll out a BYOD strategy to the entire enterprise? How about securing the corporate data and apps accessed by those devices? For example, VDI can deliver legacy apps and keep the data off a local PC or Mac.
If all that sounds like a bit of tackling everything at once, that's because it can be if you’re not careful. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming. I always recommend slowing down a bit to speed up. What you're most likely dealing with is a hybrid holistic headache (triple-H, cute huh?) when try to look at BYOD, legacy apps, and security for an increasingly diverse workforce (i.e., employees and contract workers, local and remote, onshore and offshore). So if we slow down a bit and consider the business imperatives, we start to identify how we can, in a sane way, walk through these waters and come out on the other side with success and a workforce that's better off.
At NTT DATA, we take a more holistic approach, wherein technology, including VDI, is but a piece of the puzzle, not the entire puzzle. I've found six critical, but easy-to-forget steps in this process.
- Look at the overall objectives. Ask yourself "Why are we doing this? Who are the logical people to start with (and don't say the IT staff)?
- Think about what the business requires. Think through timing, cost, availability, global needs. (Hint: a whiteboard is your friend here.)
- Take a look at the technical options. VDI, RDSH, App streaming, vGPUs, and good old PCs/Macs (not everyone will necessarily benefit from a VDI delivery model). Put them together as your menu of options to choose from.
- Create a roll-out plan that includes a transformation path. I'm not using the term transformation lightly. You’re likely taking on a fundamental change in how workers will use their applications and systems. The quickest path to ruin is to ignore this reality. Three critical elements here are communication, communication, and communication. Get out there and talk to people.
- Design your environment. From the proverbial big picture, you should now have the team that can confidently tighten the design based on reality and know that it will meet your worker’s needs.
- Validate the design by looking deeper at workers’ needs. Develop worker personas based on the analytics of their individual work habits. At NTT DATA, we use some very cool, unobtrusive tools for collecting and analyzing extensive big data sets from workers’ systems. Be sure to capture their habits and needs across major business events, too. Don't forget items such as month-end activities, new sales activities, and related spikes in workloads (for the person, their PC, and their apps).
Put the work up front to know people are getting what they need and the transformation you’ve begun will be one you can undertake with confidence. In my years in software and systems development, I’ve rarely if ever, see technology be a barrier. It’s almost always we silly humans mucking it up. The great news is with a few deep breaths, and some dedicated time to laying the right design and planning groundwork, we can keep the silly human tricks to the post-launch celebrations.
Want to know more? You can read about our Virtual Workspace Services for our solutions and the latest thinking.