Virtualized desktop environments: The future of work in the enterprise

By: Daniel Newman

Photo Credit: webiloji Flickr via Compfight cc

Virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) was developed over 10 years ago, but it never really took off—until now. With mobility becoming a true force in the global workspace, VDI is quickly becoming a necessary part of the evolving office environment. The IDC predicts nearly 75 percent of the workforce will be mobile by 2020, and businesses worldwide will need to find ways to support and engage them. That’s where the new virtualized desktop environment (VDE) comes in.

Whereas former VDI programs allowed for operating systems, typically Microsoft Windows, to be hosted at a data center and then delivered over the network to a PC, VDE works a bit differently. It offers businesses large and small more flexibility in determining how and where they’d like their apps and data to be stored, and how they can be securely accessed. For instance, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) programs operate via cloud to ensure relatively cheap and easy deployment. They also offer pay-as-you-go—i.e. pay-as-you-grow—plans which are ideal for smaller organizations, start-ups and companies with seasonal employees. On the other hand, traditional VDI is still available to companies—especially large ones—that choose to build their own information and security infrastructure, and maintain control over how their information can be accessed.

Whatever form it takes, there is a VDE solution for every company in the digital workplace, and businesses would be smart to get a jump on the mobility trend. The following are just a few ways VDE is improving agility in the modern business landscape.

Increased productivity—throughout the enterprise

There are numerous reasons VDE can improve your productivity, the most obvious being that VDE connects employees to their workload 24/7. No longer is there any excuse for downtime due to doctor’s appointments, home-based appointments, or even work-related meeting times. Employees can access the files, apps, and messages they need to be productive from anywhere—an option Millennials especially are demanding from their employers. In addition, especially in the case of DaaS, the service can help improve efficiency on the part of your IT team, as it frees them of the burden of managing the security and infrastructure of the shared desktop environment. That means a much more efficient business overall.

Improved security of legacy systems

In the past, employees who needed to work from home may have opted to email work-related documents to their home computers, where they could work on them at their leisure. In that case, the company would lose all control over the security of the document as soon as it was opened on the employee’s home device. With VDE, work documents remain secure because they are never stored on end-user devices. All activity takes place via a data center or cloud, where it can be safely protected and monitored. That amounts to not just more efficient workplaces, but more secure data, as well.

Improved efficiency and reduced cost

One of the biggest cost benefits of VDE is that it allows companies to institute bring your own device (BYOD) and work from home programs that can save thousands in overhead, even for the smallest company. By relieving businesses of the need to provide computers and traditional office space, VDEs also further improve agility, allowing companies to grow as needed—virtually—to fit a constantly changing market.

The mobility trend has already been unleashed, and it is only expected to grow. For those looking to institute a VDE program at their companies, numerous service partners are available and ready to help you find which type of VDE is best for your specific business. For instance, IBM Mobility Services offers everything from infrastructure development to managed mobility for both PC and Mac. They even offer virtual collaboration tools to make mobility even easier to welcome to your business.

Mobility in the workplace is not going anywhere. Virtualization is truly the future of work, and companies worldwide should begin planning for it now. Your employees—and Board members—will thank you.

Topics: , ,

About The Author

Daniel Newman

Founder and President, Broadsuite, Inc.

After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change the way business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 4x author of best-selling business... Read more