What was once an anomaly is now a global reality as remote and hybrid work models settle in across industries. To adapt to this new “new normal,” organizations will need to reinforce their workforces with technologies that can keep pace.
In 2022, the percentage of remote workdays in the US soared above the pre-pandemic levels of 5 percent to reach 30 percent. Though some high-profile CEOs are now instating strict return-to-office policies, most are finding ways to compromise. Employees say remote work increases their ability to focus and supports a work-life balance while saving them the time and expense of commuting. Companies benefit by keeping or acquiring geographically-dispersed top talent often attracted to a flexible work environment.
While more than half of C-suite executives agree on the need to reimagine workforce models, only a quarter feel their organizations are ready to address the evolving environment, according to Deloitte’s 2023 Global Human Capital Trends report. In this arena, desktop virtualization and cloud technologies will play starring roles.
Notably, businesses are adopting virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as a way to keep data secure, teams collaborative, and staff productive while reducing costs. VDI adoption also comes with challenges—obstacles that can be overcome by following the right road map.
As a virtual desktop solution, VDI enables remote workers to interact with an operating system and software the same way they would if working locally—on a network-delivered endpoint device. Driven by the growth of cloud-based technologies, the global VDI market is projected to reach a value of more than USD78 billion by 2030.
When staff members are spread out across geographic regions, VDI makes it easier for IT teams to deploy, defend and manage an infrastructure that’s designed to be accessible from multiple devices in multiple locations. This means IT can provide productive, collaborative end user experiences, running company applications and full desktops. It also means keeping data protected behind a corporate firewall which helps maintain security without sacrificing performance.
Additionally, VDI can reduce operational costs in two ways. First, IT staff can control and manage workstations from their headquarters rather than manually update each desktop. Second, flexible consumption and payment options enable an organization to respond to varying infrastructure demands.
But there are drawbacks. Many IT leaders looking adopt or expand VDI face significant hurdles: long planning and procurement cycles, management complexity, and higher than anticipated infrastructure costs. There are, however, proven methods to overcome these hurdles and ease into the age of remote and hybrid work.
Laying a Technology Foundation
Consider the use case of Montage Health which delivers care to 500,000 people annually through multiple entities in Monterey County, California. Emerging from the pandemic, Montage Health leaders aimed to continue and optimize telehealth, telemedicine, virtual care, and virtual visits.
The organization relies on an extensive VDI environment, with terminals on each clinical floor to provide the applications and information required for patient care and staff collaboration. However, VDI latency issues were decreasing productivity and threatening to impact care levels.
“We wanted to ensure that we have a top-of-the-line infrastructure to run our VDI solution,” said Tahir Ali, CTO and CISO, Montage Health. They opted to run VDI in a private cloud with a pay-as-you-go consumption model. The solution, based on APEX Private Cloud from Dell Technologies, offers teams the flexibility of working in the cloud while controlling the costs that would incur using a public cloud. It also allows Montage Health to scale to meet new business demands including video and virtual visits for patients.
In the past, it would take physicians, nurses, and other clinicians an average of 100 seconds to log into a VDI terminal. By deploying VDI on a private cloud, Montage Health was able to reduce login times to an average of 30 seconds—saving 70 seconds per session. Ali noted the organization’s enhanced VDI performance and control over its IT environment along with the advantages of a predictable cost model for planning.
Empowering the Anywhere Workforce
As organizations like Montage Health embrace new workforce models, they will need to simplify and accelerate the process of acquiring VDI—in a way that’s cost-effective. Many proactive teams are relying on Dell Technologies.
Dell solutions support on-demand environments with infrastructure and services customized to order, accessible via pay-per-use or an enterprise-scale managed utility. A Forrester Total Economic Impact Study commissioned by Dell Technologies found the following benefits of using Dell Validated Designs for VDI. Organizations surveyed for the study reported being able to:
- Modernize while decreasing both costs by $3.3 million over three years, and security risks
- Increase productivity by providing users the flexible, safe and efficient environments they need
- Provide accessibility for both knowledge workers and high-compute users
- Reduce IT support requirements resulting in nearly $800,000 in savings over three years
Remote and hybrid workforce models are not going away. Neither is the directive for employees to be productive and collaborative, nor the needs to protect data and keep costs low.
Modern enterprises and public organizations are answering these demands by implementing VDI. With remote, secure access to virtual desktops and company applications from any device or locale, organizations should be able to ease into this new environment and maintain if not enhance their levels of business performance.
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