For a long time, most companies have relied on one model to deliver apps and computing experiences to their employees. For the most part, it revolves around a full-feature desktop, or laptop, which office workers use to access internal apps, communicate with coworkers, and generally get their work done. This computer usually runs a full operating system, has a suite of work-related apps, and sits behind a firewall that provides access to internal tools and information. Coupled with virtual private network infrastructure components, enterprises have been able to extend access to so called “road warriors,” so these remote employees can get their work done.

Although these computers need constant updates and put strain on IT help desks, for the most part, this approach was good enough to meet the needs of companies and their employees. However, a confluence of factors is calling into question the viability and efficacy of this model in terms of security, productivity, cost, and environmental impact.

At the same time, cloud technology has evolved, and new options are emerging that are enabling far better app delivery models to support the needs of today’s workforces. One of these is a new generation of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) combined with new network access models.Here, employees do their work on simplified, lightweight, purpose-driven devices. And the operating system, applications, and infrastructure are instead managed centrally. These models are providing cost, control, and security advantages to businesses, while delivering tools that employees need in a fast, simple, and friction-free way—wherever they choose to work. 

It’s high time that every company asked themselves two important questions: How are you addressing a changing app delivery environment? And how are you reimagining the desktop experience?

In the first entry of this two-part blog series, we dive deeper into the factors that are making these questions so urgent in 2021 and into 2022. And in the next blog, we’ll explore essential strategy and partnership considerations in reimagining the enterprise desktop experience. Let’s get started.

Drivers of change that are making the case for a reimagined desktop model

COVID-19 is creating permanent remote workers: The pandemic has created a class of workers who are digital nomads by default. They need a friction-free, fast, and secure way to work remotely. Whether it’s at a home office, at a coffee shop, or on the road, they should be able to quickly boot up a device that lets them video conference, access internal apps, use whiteboarding tools, and access any other computing tools they need to be productive.

The security industry is shifting towards a zero-trust model: Especially as more people work remotely, traditional perimeter-based security models that rely on firewalls are falling short. That’s why companies like Google are making billion-dollar investments into what’s known as zero-trust security models and BeyondCorp Enterprise. Instead of trusting user activity that’s behind a firewall, in this new model nothing is trusted by default. Instead, everything users do needs to be authenticated and authorized, making it far more secure for workers operating outside of a firewall, such as digital nomads, to safely access the internal apps, information, and systems they need to do their work. What makes this model even more powerful is that the ideas of zero-trust also extend to devices on the network and system components that make up an application.

Companies need to shed years of technical debt: Many businesses are running legacy systems on dated, unsupported technology like Windows 7, which are straining productivity and causing security issues. Even if a business is running a more up-to-date operating system—like Windows 10 or 11—it’s time to consider whether it is wise to perpetuate the same model by upgrading to the next iteration, or if it would be more valuable to the organization and its employees to reimagine how desktop user experiences are delivered.  

It’s time to rethink costly software licensing models: VDI is enabling companies to approach software licensing in a different way. For years, companies have paid for licenses to install software on the devices of individual users. Now with the option to deliver app experiences in a centralized cloud model, companies should rethink whether they actually need to have a license for every user and their device. It’s time to have that conversation with software providers.  

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are evolving: Picture the average office environment with hundreds or even thousands of fully-loaded personal computers running 24/7. All the while, they are expending energy and running up the electric bill. What if instead, they could be replaced with simpler devices that access a limited selection of apps and run on 15 watts, with the heavy lifting of compute and storage being done by the cloud provider? This prospect changes the ESG conversation for companies in a big way.

As these factors continue to evolve, businesses should rethink their approach to office computing and app delivery. Of course, any big change like this involves some important strategic considerations.

The next evolution

If you’re ready to bring your desktop experiences into the future, Converge can be the partner to help you make it happen. Our technology-agnostic consulting and tech services can help you reimagine your desktop user experiences to be more secure, lightweight, user-friendly, and purpose-driven. We’re ready to start an engaging conversation about your vision and help you create an actionable strategy to make it a reality. Stay tuned for the next installment of this blog series where we explore strategic considerations for VDI evolution and choosing the right VDI partner.