Transforming all or most of your IT environment from a traditional setup to a modern desktop is something we have been talking about for a long time now. Looking at our past posts, you can see the advantages of being on a modern desktop, and we believe this is where enterprises that move the fastest and adopt it quickly will have the best competitive advantage. However, embracing the modern desktop comes with a set of challenges, and today we will discuss five key ones.
Whether your organization has a couple hundred or over a thousand apps, if one app can’t be used in a modern desktop environment, then you will not be able to move over that segment of employees that uses that app. That is why it is critical to know which apps are suitable. Without knowing this, you won’t know which groups can be migrated. For the groups that have problematic apps, there are a couple of options. First, you can evaluate the usage of the app to see if it is even needed. Second, your organization can evaluate competitor apps to use instead.
Using Access Symphony, you can easily determine the usage of the apps, which will also help you determine what kind of virtual offering you will need for those users. And for the initial testing of your app estate, as well as any new apps you need to replace problematic LOB apps, Access AppScan can automate the testing process, turning an hours-long process into minutes.
Part of moving to a modern desktop involves going beyond app compatibility. You want your build to be lean — not bloated with fat MSIs or App Volumes. Stream or containerize your apps so you can keep your VDI storage as light as possible. Using AppScan, you can determine which apps are better suited for a modern environment, instead of settling for apps that are just suitable.
While the importance of app suitability is obvious (if the app won’t work, then it can’t be used), what is just as important is app personalization because, if using the app constantly leaves the user frustrated, then the app might as well not be there. For instance, when a user logs out and back in, they might get a different host name, so the application needs to follow the user regardless of host name.
Additionally, the personalized user settings need to be sticky so that not only does the app open, but it also looks and acts the same each time, preventing the user from wasting time while redoing their settings. The user component settings need to be broken out and delivered via a policy or another method, and the apps should be delivered separately. FSLogix can be used for personalized settings on Microsoft products, and DEM can be used for VMware App Volumes.
Hardware Specific Issues
Hardware issues, as in connections to a specific piece of hardware, can be another challenge in moving onto a modern desktop. While the issue might not be widespread across an app estate, chances are that the hardware and peripherals are essential for the business. Such hardware can be scanners, printers, card scanners, card readers, ultrasound machines, other healthcare machinery, etc. Knowing ahead of time how many devices in your estate rely upon using these peripherals, and if there is an issue or not, is key to your modern desktop planning.
Audio & Video Issues
Since communication tools like Teams, Zoom, Skype, etc., have become so crucial to a company’s day-to-day operations, it is essential to have your audio and video not only work, but work at the same high level you expect when connected on a desktop machine. The aforementioned apps have hardware passthrough, which allows them to work in a virtual environment, but they need optimization.
For instance, when a headset (Jabra, Logitech, etc.) is plugged into a device, the application needs to understand the difference between being on AVD and being on a laptop because, if it doesn’t, the user can end up sounding like they are underwater or have other issues. This requires optimization of the graphics cards on the physical devices in the data center so the hardware passthrough works. Software like Citrix HDX, VMware Horizon, etc., can be used to optimize these settings so the passthrough works.
Once all of the aforementioned issues have been solved, it can be quite easy to go ahead and start migrating users onto a virtual environment without a second thought. However, overlooking testing at this point can be a huge mistake. Are all of the personalization settings really sticky? Is your desktop the same after a log off/on? Is it the same on multiple hosts? Is it the same on different hardware setups?
The purpose of all this testing comes down to this: How good of a user experience (UX) do you want your end users to have? A frustrated end user is not as productive or engaged as they could be. Plus, if an end user has to waste 10-20 minutes a day on settings, and you multiply that by 20,000 users, and then by the number of working days in a year, that is a significant amount of lost time that is costing your company money. This doesn’t include help desk tickets submitted for issues the user can’t fix themselves, which involves the use of even more resources.
Using Access Capture, these tests can be automated so that they are performed quickly. Any issues that are found can be worked on and resolved so that the user/app/hardware will be ready for a virtual environment.
As enterprises look toward the future and consider how their workers will be most efficient and have the best possible UX, it is clear that the modern desktop or virtual environment will be required to meet those goals. Enterprises that embrace the modern desktop will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t. But even though there are many advantages to the modern desktop, there are hurdles that need to be overcome to get there.