- Managed DaaS
- Happy End Users
A recent article in TechTarget highlighted the importance of appropriately measuring ROI for virtual desktops – specifically desktop as a service (DaaS). The article rightly pointed out that DaaS doesn’t always have a strong monetary advantage, especially as you get used to a monthly subscription charge rather than a one-time upfront cost of infrastructure.
However, to get a full picture of the return on investment for virtual desktops, you have to take other, “softer,” factors into consideration. The article includes this key phrase: “It’s not really about gleaning benefits from technical operations. It’s about getting more out of people.” The author briefly lists a few key benefits such as data security, employee productivity and satisfaction, and reduced IT burden. Let’s dig into the qualitative benefits a bit to explain how they affect a company’s bottom line and why they should be considered in any ROI discussions to showcase the true ROI of virtual desktops.
Virtual desktops allow employees to access the same data and applications from any device, anytime, anywhere, meaning they can work whenever and wherever needed. If an employee leaves their work computer at the office overnight or can’t get into the office one day to access their desktop (i.e. sickness, weather, home emergency, etc.), they can log into their virtual desktop from a personal device and work as needed.
It’s fairly simple to draw a line between employee productivity and benefit to the company. An employee either can or can’t work, and just about every organization would rather fall into the “can” column.
“Work-life balance” has been a dominating cultural discussion in the past few years, especially as younger generations joining the workforce place a much higher importance on having work flexibility. More than half of recent college graduates rate work-life balance as the most important factor when considering a new position and almost 70% say that being able to work remotely has a positive impact on their interest in an employer. This trend isn’t confined to young workers either. Overall, 60% of U.S. workers use a flexible work schedule to achieve a better work-life balance and 65% feel this increases their productivity.
A satisfied employee is likely to be more productive and improves employee retention, helping an organization build deeply knowledgeable, dedicated teams. To help evaluate this in terms of ROI, consider the monetary, time and resource value it would take to replace an existing employee.
Hiring is one of the biggest expenses for many organizations, and companies in highly competitive areas find themselves paying a premium for top talent and wages that match local standards of living.
Offering the ability for remote working through virtual desktops allows organizations to expand their hiring pool. This not only gives you access to more specialized talent (because you’re not constrained to hiring within a specific geographic region), it also lets you take advantage of lower cost talent in areas where the cost of living isn’t as high.
This certainly has a direct monetary link that can be measured with traditional ROI models, but it’s also important to consider the quality of talent and employee retention that result of remote working programs.
With traditional desktop deployments, IT teams spend a lot of time trouble shooting, patching and making general updates – sometimes on individual devices. With virtual desktops, these needs are drastically reduced. Instead of provisioning and managing individual devices, IT teams work with preconfigured desktop Golden Images, making it easier to keep everything running smoothly and get a new user up and running quickly (even remote workers). This allows for more time to focus on business transformation activities, which can have a major effect on virtual desktop ROI.
A key element of attaining positive ROI is opting for a fully managed DaaS solution. Fully managed desktop services reduce IT burden by helping with the heavy lifting of setup and maintenance and offering manned support options instead of just a self-serve knowledge base. In-house VDI implementations actually take up more of IT’s time to manage and maintain, drastically reducing ROI.
Data security is becoming a bigger risk and problem for organizations across industries, with a new breach making headlines seemingly every week. The rising BYOD and remote working culture is feeding into this issues as many breaches are the result of a lost or stolen device that houses protected information. With virtual desktops, data is never stored on the endpoint, meaning that if a device is lost, stolen or compromised your data is protected. Virtual desktop golden images also make it easier than ever to administer user-based controls, locking down information access and high risk functions (like printing and external saving) for employees who don’t need those computing features for their daily tasks.
The average cost of a data breach is $4 million. Compare the cost of your virtual desktop initiative to that number (plus some since you risk more than one data breach) and the ROI is pretty clear and compelling.
Whether your company grows through a merger or acquisition, a sudden influx of work or a predictable seasonal spike, keeping up with scaling demands puts a strain on IT and can require poorly utilized hardware (you either have hardware in-place and unused until needed or have to scramble to scale up your infrastructure, delaying time to productivity). Desktop as a service is just that, a service. When you need more you order more and it’s there with quick turnaround. If you no longer need as many desktops, simply scale down your number of seats.
Outsourcing desktops as a service allows you to stop worrying about, planning for, implementing and maintaining the infrastructure required to meet scaling demands, allowing you to save money and focus internal resources on revenue-generation.
When evaluating the worth and success of a virtual desktop or DaaS initiative, it’s important to look much deeper than just the cost you pay every month. Consider where the company would be without virtual desktops, including the risks and challenges you’d face. While switching to virtual desktops may not reduce costs as much as you initially anticipate, the added value you get from the change adds immensely to the ultimate ROI and shouldn’t be ignored.
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