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Is Desktop Virtualization Enough?

August 2013

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desktop virtualization

Too often we get caught up in the idea of technology for technology’s sake, and forget to look at the business benefits instead of the bells and whistles.

Desktop virtualization is one of those areas where companies have jumped on the bandwagon, fully adopting the buzzword but neglecting to think through the effect on the overall business.

Once you are past the hurdle of cost, desktop virtualization makes a lot of sense on paper.  In real life, desktop virtualization can be a productivity sucking vortex when it is suddenly more difficult for the end user to to their job.  All of the ROI numbers go out the window when everyone on a virtual desktop is suddenly working 20% slower.

The real issue to consider is will desktop virtualization improve or hinder your end users ability to do their job.  How would you know?  Do you have the tools to show you the eventual outcome before the dollars for the project are spent?

Before you go down the road of desktop virtualization spend some time evaluating how your applications perform before you implement desktop virtualization and do a side-by-side comparison.  Again, if performance is worse for your end user, is there really any savings?

Desktop virtualization alone doesn’t solve a single business issue or provide a single business benefit. Evaluating and proactively managing application performance, however, can speed up the organization’s business processes, increases adoption of information systems, provides quick access to information for fact-based decisions and provides stable, predictable IT costs (with or without desktop virtualization.)

We need to be looking at and measuring the end-user experience when we consider big IT initiatives like desktop virtualization.  We need to collectively subscribe to a IT version of the Hypocratic Oath in that first we should do no harm (to the end user experience.)

In today’s complex business landscape, companies can succeed or fail based on their IT investments. Application performance management can mean the difference between systems that serve the needs of the business, and those that merely seem to serve but that actually suck up more than their share of company resources offering little benefit.

IT systems affect every area of the business, and poorly performing IT systems have adverse effects across the board. Here are a few examples.

Supply chain: Without good visibility into supply, a company can’t react to changes in demand quickly enough to satisfy customers.  Just in Time inventory management can miss the mark because of Just (Can't Get My Job Done) in Time IT systems.

Invoicing: When invoice processing is slow or delayed, cash flow is adversely affected.

Order management: If it takes too long to process orders, customers get impatient and go elsewhere for goods and services.

Shipping: Lack of visibility into upcoming shipments increases freight costs because of inability to combine shipments or manage carriers.

Engineering: Product costs are too high because of lack of visibility into common parts that could be reused in new designs.

Inventory management: Inventory costs are too high due to excess and obsolete materials or inability to find items as required.

The root cause of all these issues, and hundreds of other day-to-day business problems, is poorly performing IT systems that don’t meet the needs of users or ultimately, the business.

Users make decisions every day based on guesswork or rules of thumb, because it’s too hard to get actionable information from the company’s IT systems. It would be far better for the organization if IT could spend time solving user issues by delivering applications that meet the user’s needs for information, not data. IT rarely has time to look at ways to improve the user experience because they spend so much of their time and budget on managing infrastructure.

It’s no wonder that IT has jumped on the virtualization bandwagon when it seems as though it could solve so many problems, but virtualization alone isn’t the answer. Application performance management, including virtualization if and where it’s appropriate, is the real key.

What companies need is the ability to monitor, manage and support applications without requiring extensive in-house IT involvement, so your IT team can focus on supporting the business with more strategic initiatives. Outsourced application performance management focuses on installing updates and patches, monitoring key system indicators, and putting in fixes before users even notice an issue.

Working with an application performance management team provides a complete IT partnership that manages off-site servers and all your applications, while providing proactive IT support. It’s the ultimate in virtualization, since your partner manages the day-to-day hardware and software issues that are so time consuming.

Your in-house IT team now has the time to focus on providing information to users so that they can make rapid, fact-based decisions instead of relying on guesswork. Application adoption and acceptance will improve as system performance improves. Your users will be happier and more productive than ever before, and your systems will run flawlessly, supporting your business growth and helping you to achieve your company’s strategic objectives.

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