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There are three things that can sink an IT initiative:
With the right business case and innovation-focused executives, you can overcome the first hurdle. With proper scoping, planning and diligence, the second hurdle can often be managed. But at the end of the day, if the intended end users refuse to adopt the new solution or routinely complain about it, the initiative is likely destined to be abandoned or deemed a failure.
So while it’s important to push innovative and business-focused projects through, it’s equally important to understand end user complaints so you can plan projects that solve for them and avoid introducing new issues.
Virtual desktops are an IT transformation initiative that have the potential to bring many benefits to the business while also addressing some of today’s most common user complaints. But if not planned and implemented correctly, a bad virtual desktop experience can also create user frustration.
Today’s workforce is used to being connected at all times from just about anywhere, and this mentality has seeped into work expectations. Most of today’s workers use a personal device to access work information (such as email) and the ability to work remotely is one of the most sought after workplace benefits today.
The frustration comes in when outdated employment practices don’t support – and at times directly forbid – this working style.
At best, employees have to carry work laptops with them to access files more complicated than email. If they don’t take their work computer with them, then the data, files and applications they need are often inaccessible until they’re back at their desk. If employees can use their personal devices, they have to worry about application compatibility issues and accessing corporate legacy apps. This isn’t something the employee is necessary thinking about when booting up their 8-year-old Mac (that they probably don’t update the OS on as often as they should), but it will certainly lead to frustration when they can’t access what they need to be productive.
At worst, organizations forbid laptops to leave the office and all BYOD or personal device access for security concerns. While this is a valid concern on the business’ part, it leaves employees frustrated that they can’t work when and where they want to.
The refrain is well-known by now, virtual desktops make the employee’s company issued desktop (applications, files, data and all) accessible anytime, anywhere, from any device while maintaining top-level security. This allows organizations to support BYOD or remote working policies without the concern of data loss or network contamination and elevates user frustration over accessibility and compatibility.
The promise of virtual desktops has been appealing for years now, but as anyone who has struggled with the technology can tell you, when done incorrectly it can cause performance nightmares. The one thing no user will stand for is a slow, glitchy or otherwise poorly performing computer. (Don’t lie, how many times have you wanted to through your computer because it was giving your performance trouble?)
Early attempts at virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) was notorious for bad performance, leaving IT, businesses and end users with a bad taste in their mouth about the technology. The poor performance was the result of using infrastructure that wasn’t designed and built to support the high demands of desktop virtualization. Those issues have been resolved with purpose-built VDI specifically designed to run virtual desktops that perform just as fast and smooth as their traditional counterparts. (That means if you had a bad experience with virtual desktops in the past, It’s Time to Revisit VDI.)
But just because there are good experiences out there now doesn’t mean all VDI is created equal. VDI engineers are one of the most in-demand IT roles today and without an expert, organization often find themselves facing the same performance problems of the past.
If virtual desktops are on your roadmap for IT transformation, make sure you invest in enterprise-grade solutions that will ensure high performance for users. Giving your end users a poorly performing desktop experience is a sure fire way to frustrate them.
Many people are adverse to change, particularly in a work environment where learning a new process can feel like its hampering productivity. When you’re learning new steps, you’re naturally going to go slower than with the process you’ve committed to memory. This leaves users reluctant to adopt the change – it’s simply easier to keep doing it the old way.
Recognizing this tendency and its ability to cause frustration when rolling out a new way of working can help you plan accordingly and mitigate some of this natural frustration. When introducing virtual desktops to your end users focus on three things:
When introducing the upcoming transition to virtual desktops, be sure to tell users how this will make their lives easier. Being able to access their desktops from anywhere (even a home computer) is a popular selling point. Users who have named, or persistent, desktops often particularly like the fact that they can leave programs or files open on their desktop and have everything be in exactly the same place when they log back in. Whether they want to log in from a home computer after dinner or the next morning back in the office, everything is right where they left it and ready to be picked back up again (even if they don’t have that particular program on their home computer). Another major selling point for end users is the fact that system patching and updates can be automated by IT and are automatically implemented the next time the user logs onto their desktop. For the user, that means no more annoying update reminders or sitting idly while their computers update during business hours
Working on a virtual desktop isn’t much different than working on a traditional desktop, you just have to log in through a VDI client first. With a virtual desktop that has proper computing resources, users won’t even notice a difference in streaming audio, video or softphone calls. Still, detailed walk-thrus, tutorials and live demonstrations can help prove to employees that this isn’t a big change and can head off potential concerns or negative feelings prior to rollout.
But as with any technology, some issues are bound to arise occasionally. Having a good help desktop team that is responsive and can quickly troubleshoot issues will help users feel heard and ensure that issues are resolved quickly. This is important not only to maintaining employee productivity, but also goes a long way in limiting user frustration with the technology.
When implemented properly using best-in-class infrastructure, virtual desktops can help organizations proactively address user frustrations while also gaining the business transformation they’re often seeking for a competitive edge.
Nov 08, 2018
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