Are VDI and DaaS Killing Your Flexible Workspace Vision?

Is your company struggling to transition to flexible workspaces? If so, you’re far from alone.

As businesses realize the bottom-line benefits of remote work, agile office spaces and choose your own device (CYOD) policies, IT has a growing burden to control access and extend apps, data, and files beyond the cubicles, company-owned devices and networks they’re used to. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) address some of the anytime anywhere burden, but they’re not without their own significant limitations.


Here’s what I’ve learned from talking to customers about their flexible workplace visions:

Organizations are disillusioned with VDI

For many organizations that I work with VDI seemed like an ideal solution, but as they shift to the cloud or try to keep up with IT consumerization, it’s less and less of a viable solution. For example:

  • Server usage increases when users need customized apps and settings
  • As the user count grows, the cost of infrastructure can be more than the cost of individual PCs
  • Users are unable to work when VDI goes down (like in extreme weather situations) — losing thousands of productivity hours 
  • VDI on a mobile device can be an extremely frustrating user experience

What pains me most - many of their users try VDI once and never come back because of lag time, user experience and remote work challenges.

So they think DaaS might be the answer

Recently moving desktops to the cloud, or Desktop as a Service (DaaS), has emerged as a solution they think might reduce complexity and costs. Unfortunately, even that approach comes with significant challenges. Here’s why:

1.  The mobile experience is still lacking

After moving Windows apps to desktops in the cloud, the mobile UX is still no better than VDI.

2.  Device choices are still limited

Even though the desktop is now in a browser, employees can only use the device where they have VPN, stored identities, and bookmarks.

3.  Security issues remain unresolved

Apps are scattered on corporate-issued computers, in the data center, and in the browser, leading to risky behaviors such as password reuse, writing down credentials or storing passwords in digital files - a boon for hackers.

With all of this, it can be tempting to turn back to corporate-issued devices. But with so many choices already at employees’ fingertips — by 2020, the average employee will have more than four devices – VDI and DaaS don’t leave them any better than they were.


So What’s the Right Strategy Then? 

Three common themes emerge when I talk to customers about their cloud strategy:

The more strategic teams say if they could offer 100% web apps tomorrow, they would

  • The average organization is moving to web apps, but on an ad hoc ‘app by app’ approach
  • End users in the meantime are bringing in their own web apps without IT, causing control and security headaches

In all cases there is one consistent thread: legacy Windows apps are being replaced by web apps, quickly. With this proliferation of web apps and diversity of devices maybe something else is needed … something like VDI, but not VDI.

I recommend asking yourself these 3 questions:  

  1. What if you could offer one interface for easily interacting with all user applications — regardless of where they’re located or how they’re accessed?
  2. What if you no longer had to teach employees to be stewards of security?
  3. What if it didn’t matter who’s using which devices? 

If you’re excited by your answers to these questions then workspace aggregators, like Lenovo Unified Workspace, might be exactly what you’re looking for. They’re designed to simplify management for IT while providing a streamlined experience for employees, contractors, vendors, suppliers, and customers.  

And customers tell us “it’s not VDI, and that’s why I like it!!”

If you’re trying to create a more flexible and agile workspace, VDI and DaaS are not the whole answer. Check out our case studies to see how organizations are enabling employees to work on any network, using any device, with Lenovo Software’s Unified Workspace, or take a test drive for yourself 

I look forward to helping you bring your flexible workspace vision to life!

Contact me for a more detailed discussion around your strategy here.

Picture of Anil Rao

Written by Anil Rao

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