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Implementing virtual desktops – whether an internal VDI initiative or a move to DaaS – is a big undertaking and often represents a massive process change for an organization. With something this big and fundamentally different, it’s difficult to be successful without the right internal champions.
A champion is someone who believes in the proposed change and understands that it’s worthwhile for the company. These people will help clear roadblocks, articulate business benefits and drive adoption. With something as big as outsourcing virtual desktops, you can’t rely on a single internal advocate. Instead, you need champions who have bought into the proposed initiative from many levels of the company.
Without the right internal champions, your project can stall indefinitely or fail to make a strong enough case for the change. Never underestimate the power of “but we’ve always done it this way.” You need to be prepared for pushback with an army of internal advocates that can help push the move to DaaS to completion – and success.
There are five areas you should secure buy-in from:
While it may seem like higher level champions would be more important and helpful, it’s important to remember the “boots on the ground” players. An executive may buy into the project and give the order to move forward, but an unconvinced IT staffer or a skeptical manager can delay the implementation or negatively affect rollout and adoption.
When approaching your potential champions, it’s important to tailor your talking points to what they care most about. Taking your highly technical argument about how DaaS will improve the company’s desktop management process likely isn’t going to impress anyone outside of IT. Instead, hone in on what will have the biggest impact on each champion’s everyday life and business goals and use that as the foundation for your argument. The way you convince someone to become a champion for DaaS is to convince them that it will benefit them in some way.
Here are a few key themes for each level of champion:
As we dig deeper into each champion persona and why they matter below we’ll also outline some particularly compelling arguments and talking points to help you customize your DaaS pitch and get these internal champions on board.
The keepers of the budget, the c-suite is going to wonder why they need to invest in DaaS. While the move may make sense from a technical standpoint, you need to put it into terms of business benefits that people like the CEO and board of directors can understand. This is where having a c-level champion comes in handy. They not only have regular access to this top level of the business, but they’ll have the best understanding of the company’s current challenges and concerns and which potential benefits are most likely to get the project approved.
After implementation they’ll be able to help gauge the effectiveness of the move and potentially go to bat for the program if it comes under scrutiny. As the saying goes, it pays to have friends in high places.
Within IT departments you’ll need the buy-in of two different groups: Upper level IT management and the team that will be implementing and managing the changes.
An upper level manager – like a VP or Director – will have access to top level executives and a deeper understanding of the business benefits that will resonate best with high level decision makers. They’ll also likely be a key decision maker themselves in terms of how the project will proceed, the budget and in DaaS vendor selection. Once the project is in motion, they’ll have influence over the implementation team, helping ensure the project continues to drive forward.
Particularly strong IT management arguments for DaaS include:
You also need buy in with the IT implementation team. During project planning and proposal they’ll poke holes in every element of the plan – it’s part of their job to look for potential issues and hang ups. You need someone on your side to look for the positives and be open to adopting this outsourced technology. Once your move to DaaS has been greenlighted, this team will have one of the biggest impacts on how quickly it is rolled out. If they don’t think it’s a good idea, don’t count on your DaaS implementation getting off the ground any time soon.
Particularly strong IT implementation arguments for DaaS include:
It may seem like department managers shouldn’t matter to this process – the company is making a change and they’re expected to go along with it. But just like with the IT implementation folks, if a department manager doesn’t believe in the usefulness of or need for virtual desktops they’re certainly not going to be very passionate about encouraging adoption.
In general, people aren’t a fan of change, especially if they feel like it’s going to negatively affect their productivity while they adjust to a new way of accessing their desktops, applications and documents. The only way you’re going to get swift and far reaching adoption is if the change is driven from the top down, and at this level that “top” is the department manager.
Particularly strong departmental arguments for DaaS include:
At the end of the day, end users are the ones that will be using the virtual desktops. They don’t care about the business or IT benefits, they only care about how quickly they can learn this new process, how well the desktops work and how this change effects their everyday habits. If you encounter any growing pains (not uncommon when implementing a new technology) they’re going to be the ones to raise the alarm and try and sink the initiative. That’s why it’s important to have end user champions.
These champions can be peer-to-peer advocates for your move to DaaS. They’ll be the ones that understand the core benefits to them and their coworkers, they’ll be the early adopters (possibly even the test cases that help you work out the kinks) and they’ll ultimately be the ones to encourage their peers to embrace the change and work through any concerns.
Particularly strong end user arguments for DaaS include:
The most successful projects are ones that people are excited about and believe is a good idea. Unfortunately in a corporate setting you’re not likely to get everyone on board. But by securing internal champions at key points of the organization you can help drive your DaaS initiative through from start to finish. Take as many champions as you can get (the most the merrier), but be sure you have at least one influential advocate at each of these pivotal levels or your project is likely to run into some speedbumps.
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