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How to gain VDI support from users and decision-makers

VDI can help IT with mobile workers, contract workers and data control, but to get a project off the ground, it needs to communicate the benefits to users and decision-makers.

IT professionals often get caught up in the nitty-gritty details that make up the technologies they want to deploy, but users, as well as the decision-makers who approve the purchases, don't really care.

Users just want whatever IT deploys to make their lives easier. And the decision-makers are looking to save money and increase efficiencies. As a result, IT pros must know how to communicate the value of desktop virtualization to people throughout the organization to gain VDI support. Once IT pros have VDI ready to roll, they also have to show users how they will benefit from the technology.

To gain VDI support, IT should start with the problems that the customers feel, both for executive approval and user acceptance. Virtual desktops can help solve quite a few problems, but business problems should be described differently than technical problems. IT pros must identify the business language that leads to VDI approval.

Dealing with a mobile workforce

A common complaint among mobile workers is that laptops are too bulky to carry around from place to place. VDI can help mobile workers who need better flexibility than a laptop can provide. The classic example is healthcare. Medical workers move around from ward to ward or even hospital to hospital. They require access to electronic records as they move but do not wish to carry a laptop. With VDI-powered thin clients throughout the hospitals, these workers can use whatever device is at hand to do their jobs.

A secondary benefit that should improve VDI support is compliance and security. Data privacy is critical in many fields, including healthcare. Thin clients do not carry any corporate data, so IT can treat these devices as trusted and know that sensitive information is housed safely in a secure data center.

Data sovereignty and control

Recognizing the problems that management and end users have will help a virtual desktop deployment succeed.

Data sovereignty and control is another problem that VDI can help solve. This is applicable whenever IT must make applications and data available to users without giving users the ability to export the information. A good example of this is an outsourced call center. The call center staff requires access to client information but should not be able to copy that data out for their own use. Other uses include outsourced software development. Developers require access to source code but should not be able to copy it.

This is a case where IT can really present itself as an enabler of positive business change because it can empower the organization to outsource something like a call center, which can save money and prevent users from extracting and exposing sensitive data.

Contract workers

Organizations that use large numbers of contractors seldom want to provide laptops for those contractors. VDI allows the contractors to use their own laptops and remotely access corporate desktops.

An additional benefit is that new virtual desktops are usually much faster to deploy than new laptops with a corporate build, so IT can get contract workers up and running faster. This saves time and money on both sides because IT does not have to spend as much time setting contract workers up with laptops, and the workers don't have to wait for IT. The organization also saves money by not having to license software for the contractors' laptops.

As infrastructure gets easier to manage and the cloud reduces on-premises infrastructure tasks, smart IT pros will align themselves closer to the business and learn what problems they can help solve. Recognizing the problems that management and end users have will help a virtual desktop deployment succeed.

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