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Counting down to working on-the-go

Yaj Malik | July 9, 2012
Virtualising desktops to optimise working on-the-go is as easy as 1-2-3.

Innovative technology has produced gizmos and gadgets that many cannot live without. Employees are increasingly bringing their smartphones, tablets and other personal devices into the workplace, blurring the line between work and play. Working in a fast-paced, globalised environment and the need for 24x7 response are driving organisations to seek solutions that can help their employees better embrace workplace mobility.

With mobile workstyles poised to be at the centerfold of future workplace productivity, businesses need to start preparing their organisations for workstyle transformations. Being able to work on your own customisable Windows desktop regardless of the device used is essential to enabling flexibility and mobility of the workforce.

Centralising the management of desktops, applications and data, desktop virtualisation provides employees with much-needed seamless and secured access to corporate data on any device. Convenience and control, flexibility and security, as well as cost-efficiencies are key benefits that virtualised desktops have over traditional desktop computing.

Here is a step-by-step guide on adopting desktop virtualisation.

Three Phases: Assess, Design, Deploy

1.    Assess
The first step is for enterprises to take a hard look at their employees. Depending on their roles and responsibilities, employees require different applications. IT departments need to categorise corporate applications to ensure that all employees are sufficiently provided for. In order to get a good assessment, organisations need to draw up a project roadmap to factor in the different components. Important considerations would be the allocation and prioritisation of applications and virtualisation.

At the same time, organisations need to ascertain the level of employee receptivity to desktop virtualisation. Some employees may not be aware of its benefits due to inadequate experience with the technology and might not share the same enthusiasm towards change. Most desktop virtualisation projects are enterprise-wide initiatives; therefore it is important for companies to educate employees on the benefits. This includes the convenience of accessing corporate resources via their personal consumer devices.

2. Design
IT departments need to map out detailed requirements and plan decisions before commencing the implementation. This involves prioritising all aspects of desktop usage from networking to storage and applications, as well as presenting them in a detailed architectural plan. IT departments need to evaluate compute resources and ascertain when and where the right amount of resources should be allocated to ensure productive efficiency. A well thought-out plan eliminates unnecessary time spent on troubleshooting issues post-implementation.

3. Deploy
Through a well thought-out implementation and rollout, IT departments would be a step closer towards building a strong foundation for a consistent virtual desktop experience for all their employees.
Before deployment, IT departments need to test solutions in a production-like environment to ensure that any potential error is mitigated. As part of the deployment, IT departments should employ monitoring and management solutions that allow them to proactively observe and diagnose how best to optimise their desktop virtualisation adoption.    

One way for organisations to kickstart the adoption process is by engaging consultants who will be able to minimise risk owing to their knowledge and experience. Specialised consultants can help speed up the implementation process. Alternatively, organisations with personnel well-versed in application (or desktop) virtualisation can choose to manage the implementation of desktops internally with assistance from Web-based platforms providing ample guidance.

Desktop virtualisation is the cornerstone of workplace mobility. With ready access to corporate files and applications on any device, businesses will be equipped to fully embrace mobile workstyles, keeping up with the fast-moving workplace environment. Virtualising desktops to optimise working on-the-go is not a complicated process. With the right plans in place, having your customised desktop wherever you go is as easy as 1-2-3.

Yaj Malik is area vice president, ASEAN. Citrix.


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