Powerful Payoffs Linked to Desktop Virtualization

November 30, 2010

Desktop virtualization can create business value by improving the ability of organizations to manage their desktop environments, according to research firm IDC. Such moves, the firm adds, enable organizations to reduce desktop total cost of ownership (TCO), while enhancing security, availability, and agility.

IDC contends organizations can maximize the return on investment (ROI) associated with deploying desktop virtualization by:

  • Focusing on the agility and flexibility that centralized virtual desktops can enable. The most successful desktop virtualization deployments are used to improve the flexibility and agility with which IT can respond to the needs of the overall business and tend to be deployed in instances where traditional management platforms are less effective, such as call center environments and offshore locations.
  • Understanding the limitations of desktop virtualization. Centralized virtual desktops (and server-based computing as a whole) have specific limitations that will affect the ways in which the technology can be most effectively used. Those interested in leveraging desktop virtualization in their environments must fully understand those limitations in order to understand how and to whom an organization can best apply the technology.
  • Providing sufficient time for piloting and testing. Organizations must set realistic expectations regarding the time it will take to deploy their environments because this will have an impact on the success of any project. Because desktop virtualization is relatively new and lacks best practices, pilots will need to be extensive in order to ensure that transitions to production environments occur smoothly.

Perhaps the most interesting finding in the report is its analysis showing that the cost of a desktop client falls dramatically as you factor in issues such as IT labor.

Hardware and software, according to IDC, “represent less than 20% of the cost of keeping an employee client enabled. The IT labor associated with installing, administering, and supporting the client represents over 80% of the annual client cost per user. And [desktop virtualization’s] effect on reducing that labor requirement offers compelling arguments.”

As the IDC analysts see it, desktop virtualization client users “require less than a third of the labor that users armed with traditional PCs require. Our studies showed that users enabled via [desktop virtualization] required 67% less support and administration labor than traditional PC-enabled users — $425 per user per year in IT labor versus $1,298.”


Empowering the Heroes in Your Organization

November 16, 2010

What would it take to turn more of your organization’s employees into heroes?

That’s the question posed and addressed by Forrester Research analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler in their new book Empowered. They are encouraging you to “unleash your employees, energize your customers and transform your business.” They insist the way to do this is to give your people the tools and freedom they need to engage in exceptional work.

Clearly, there are important implications here with respect to the availability of collaborative technologies — the social tools that are now raising such concerns in IT and PR departments at many organizations.

HERO, as the authors explain it, is an acronym for a “highly empowered and resourceful operative.” They identified such individuals through a survey that asked two key questions:   

  • How empowered are you? They asked these workers if they agreed with the statement “I feel empowered to solve my own problems and challenges at work.” They then measured the respondent on a ten-point scale.
  • How resourceful are you? In this case, they asked about the individual’s resourcefulness with technology. Specifically, they wanted to know whether that person had regularly used two applications or Web sites unsanctioned by their IT department (such as Linked-In or Twitter).

What they discovered is a division between those who are empowered and those who aren’t.


HEROes, as the findings suggest, come from the 20% of people in your company that are both empowered and resourceful. But 34% of such information workers are considered to be Locked-Down — ready to help, but unable to use the apps necessary to perform. Meanwhile, 13% have gone Rogue. They’ve download unsanctioned apps or accessed unsanctioned sites, but don’t feel empowered to create change. Still another 34% are Disenfranchised. These are folks that neither feel empowered nor act resourceful.

How can you make a difference? According to the authors, “It’s all about culture. First, you (and your IT department) need to make it possible for people to use the innovative technologies they’ll need to reach out to customers — relaxing the rules for what technology use is permitted at work is a first step in this direction. As for empowering workers, it starts at the bottom, by identifying people who are innovating, supporting them, and then shouting to the rest of the company about what they’ve done. This is how management can make more HEROes possible.”

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