VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, is quickly gaining traction among many small to medium sized businesses. Indeed, the virtual desktop is helping to streamline office IT in a big way, and is helping many businesses to become more productive and more competitive.
Running a business’ entire desktop environment on a virtual machine offers many advantages to the savvy entrepreneur, not the least of which is saving money and increasing data security.
However, the move to VDI can be challenging, and one of the primary obstacles to a smooth transition is often your very own office staff. After all, as every business owner knows, employees often do not take well to change.
While the virtual desktop can be a major step forward in office IT, it can also disturb your office staff’s comfort zone. So, how can you motivate your staff to embrace the move to VDI, and actually become excited about the change?
VDI – Your Perspective
As a business owner, you are always looking for ways to make your office more productive and more responsive to the needs of your clients and customers. You should also be on the look out for ways to stretch the budget. This is what makes VDI so attractive to business owners. A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure offers a number of distinct advantages, including:
- Costs – Running your desktop environment on a virtual machine helps to reduce hardware and software costs.
- Improved Data Security – VDI makes it easier to control who has access to proprietary data. VDI’s centralized storage also improves data storage and system backups.
- Improved Software Management – With all of your business’ software applications on one platform, it is easier to track interoffice usage.
- VDI Offers Consistency – A virtual desktop environment reduces hardware and software compatibility issues.
- VDI – What Your Staff Thinks
Despite the many advantages offered by VDI, many business owners still face opposition from office staff when attempting to make the transition. For some employees, it is simply a matter of balking at such a large scale change in the office environment. For others, however, the hesitation to embrace VDI is rooted in some very real concerns.
The primary complaints leveled at VDI include:
- A virtual desktop environment gives IT too much control over my work station.
- If my device can’t connect, I can’t get any work done.
- Performance is slow, particularly when I’m working on application heavy projects.
The thing to remember about introducing VDI to the workplace, is that users will naturally expect their virtual desktop to be as intuitive, fast, and easy to navigate as their home computer desktop. As a business owner, it’s your job to reduce the learning curve, and help your staff get comfortable with their new operating system.
Winning Over the Troops
So, if you’ve decided that VDI is the way forward for your business, how do you rally your office staff to your side? Well, it can be easier than you think. While there may be some understandable reluctance on the part of your staff to fully embrace VDI, there are some simple tactics to win your employees over to your side.
- Consider the Human Element – VDI specs don’t always match real human expectations. Consider how your staff will be using their new virtual desktops, and don’t let IT dictate how they SHOULD be using them. Concentrate more on what your staff needs, and less on meeting the outlined VDI specs.
- Be Magnanimous – Throttling bandwidth may save you money, but it will only frustrate your staff and impede their performance. Be generous with shared bandwidth, and with CPU and GPU power.
- Consider a Hybrid Storage Model – Hybrid storage, combining disk drives with solid state storage, will boost performance without appreciably raising costs.
- Test, and Test Again – Select a test group from your office staff, and test the virtual desktop environment thoroughly before expanding it to include all of your employees.
- Include Your Staff in Transition Process – Discuss the VDI transition openly with your office staff, and take on board their concerns and expectations.
- Encourage Personalization – Allow your staff to choose their own hardware platform, and encourage them to personalize their virtual desktop. This can help convert even the most ardent naysayers.
VDI can offer many advantages to the small business owner, but it is important to remember the human component. While a virtual desktop infrastructure can help to make your business more flexible, responsive and competitive, that can only be achieved when all of your staff is on board. If you’re considering VDI as an office IT solution, take the time to work with your staff so that they are fully comfortable with the upcoming changes to their workplace and work station.