How can going virtual improve the efficiency of your business and decrease the bottom line?

How can going virtual improve the efficiency of your business and decrease the bottom line?

Virtual servers, desktops, and applications are not new technology. Providers such as Citrix, VMWare and Microsoft all provide options to allow businesses of any size to virtualize some or all of their technology.

But if you are new to the virtualization game you may be asking your self in what ways virtualization can improve your business.

The improvements offered by a virtual solution can impact many levels of your organization from the financial bottom line, to flexibility for end users and improved management efficiency for your technology staff. Below are 10 ways that a virtual solution can improve these areas.

Employee Flexibility

  1. Remote Work
    If the past year and half has shown anything it is that organizations have to be able to offer employees a way to work remotely. Whether that’s because of a global pandemic or because remote work is one of the top “perks” that employees look for in 2021, the ability is no longer an option that employers can over look. Virtual desktops allow employees to work from any device, from anywhere, with the same access, resources, and tools that they would have if they were sitting at their desk in the office.
  2. User Experience
    New technology can be concerning to employees and no one likes change. However, other than a slightly different login process employees are presented with a Windows or Linux desktop that looks and acts exactly like the physical desktop or laptop that they are used to. To the user it feels like they are using a traditional device, and they get the same “personal” feel from “their” desktop regardless of the device they are using. And this user experience is the same regardless of the device or location they user is working from.
  3. Increased Productivity
    Virtual desktops increase productivity for all aspects of your business. We will touch on the IT Management increase later. For end users there are multiple ways that their productivity increases. They don’t have to wait for support to fix a hardware issue since they can work from any device, issues like corruption or viruses suddenly disappear with a simple reboot, and they don’t have to worry about what tools are available or how they are going to connect to the office with working remote or at a customer location.
  4. Consistency
    The virtual desktop experience helps to ensure that every desktop used by every employee is the same in regards to the tools and versions of those tools that are available. No longer do employees have to worry about if a colleague in another location has gotten the latest update to the software package they are both using, or if they have the latest font, widget or tool installed.

IT Efficiencies

  1. Manageability
    The increased productivity and consistency points from above carry over as an IT staff efficiency as well. And by having that single desktop image the time required to install new software, updates, or patches is dramatically decrease because those items only have to be installed a single time and they automatically take effect on every virtual desktop that is using the image. In addition the ability for users to deal with corruption and virus issues simply by restarting their virtual desktop decrease the amount of time needed for response by support staff and less issues they have to deal with overall. Therefore decreasing the number of support / help desk staff required. Desktops for users anywhere in the world can be managed from a single location.
  2. Consistency
    The standard and consistent image means that support staff only have to be familiar with a single image for troubleshooting. Even though users can “personalize” their desktop image, the underlying image that help desk and support staff are required to deal with is the same. Therefore staff doesn’t have to worry about what version of software is installed, what updates have been applied, etc. to the users virtual desktop, they already know because the desktop images are all the same. This consistency allows for easier training of support staff, more relevant knowledge base articles and quicker resolution to employee issues by decrease the “troubleshooting” time required. Also if an issue is identified, the fix can easily be applied for everyone in the organization by updating the standard image.
  3. Security
    Security is a huge talking point for businesses of all sizes and users alike. Security covers all areas of the user experience from the potential for viruses and malware, how they connect back to the office when working remote, and the potential loss of productivity from a security related issue. For businesses, security is everything. A major security incident can send customers running for the hills and your competition. Virtual desktops help address all of these issues. We have already talked about how viruses can be stopped by simply rebooting a desktop. But virtual solutions allow users to connect to their office in a secure, encrypted way that doesn’t require connection to a VPN first. The VPN is automatically built into the virtual connection. In addition since all software and data are contained within the virtual desktop you and your customers don’t have to worry about data being copied off of the desktop on to personal devices or any malware that may be on an employees personal device when they work from home or use that PC in the hotel lobby.

The Bottom Line

  1. Resource Savings
    Resource savings can be seen on multiple levels with the use of virtual desktops. The easy centralized management and support that was mentioned earlier means less staff to manage a virtual environment compared to physical devices. Support staff no longer has to be at the same physical location as the end user therefore requiring less support staff. Both of these factors mean that the support staff you have has more time to focus on other issues and projects and time is one resource we would all like to have more of. In addition it is no longer necessary to provide employees a laptop to work remote when they can access their virtual desktop securely from their own device or any device for that matter.
  2. Energy Savings
    Energy savings in your business’s physical location is becoming a bigger and bigger topic as organizations work to become more green and energy efficient. Laptops and desktops require a lot of power, generate a lot of heat and noise and become large piles of toxic and hazardous material that has to be recycled when they reach the end of their life. Virtual desktops allow employees to work on any type of device whether its provided by the company or they use their own. Options such as tablets or thin clients are smaller, require less power, and generate less heat than physical desktops while offering users the same work experience and peripherals. This means less power, less cooling, and less electronic waste
  3. Extended Hardware Life-Cycle / BYOD
    Traditionally most organizations have needed to refresh laptops and desktop every 3 – 4 years to ensure that the hardware stays covered by warranty and has the power to run current applications. This requires a substantial invest for all but the tiniest of organizations. The use of virtual desktops can extend this hardware life cycle in any of three ways since the virtual images reside and run on server hardware, the end user workstations need very little storage or processing power. Therefore laptops and desktops can be used for more years since they don’t need to be the latest / greatest in regard to performance. The second option are thin client devices. Thin clients provide a connection for keyboards, monitors, mouse and other peripherals but traditional do not have any moving parts to wear out. Thin clients are smaller, use less power, and cost substantially less than a desktop or laptop computer. In addition thin clients can be used for multiple life cycles of traditional hardware before they need to be replaced. The last way that virtual desktops extend your hardware life cycle is by allowing users to bring their own devices. Whether the company provides a stipend for employees to use to offset the cost of their own hardware or they simply ask that the user use whatever they have this means that the company is no longer having to buy hardware for employees at all. No hardware, infinite life cycle.

The 10 benefits of virtual desktops listed above are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons a company should be looking at virtualization. There are many many benefits that can be taken advantage of by organizations both large and small.