Cutting the cord: Why the cloud is the future of app delivery

(c)iStock.com/Stephan Zabel

IT is challenged by the line of business to deliver a competitive edge to compete in a global market. Securely delivering apps and data to any device is a core IT workflow to enable productivity. 

However, if you are like most companies, your IT budget is not growing at the same pace as demand for IT services. To be more agile, the current paradigm around app delivery needs to be turned upside down. IT needs to cut the cord.

IT’s evolution: From plow horse to racehorse

IT and the work world have come a long way. Remember the days when the IT department issued you a standard black PC and employees worked at desks? Back then, IT was focused on analysing available IT solutions and then executing multiyear plans. It was common for IT to be working on multi-year programs for SharePoint, ERP, and CRM systems.

Those days are gone. Today, businesses are competing in a much faster paced environment, which requires them to be agile and responsive to market changes. They must also be in tune with their customers’ needs and empower them to make critical business decisions in real-time.

Top executives at the biggest corporations are now handling most of their business via their mobile device because they need to be able to make decisions where customers, suppliers, and employees are at exactly the moment it matters. CEO of Coca-Cola Germany, Ulrik Nehammer, says about his need to be mobile that "the most dangerous place to make a decision is in the office.”

Today, IT is really the X factor that drives business success. Speed is the new IT currency. IT departments must rollout highly flexible plans that can deliver tangible results within a single quarter rather than in 1-2 years. 

A changing workplace: Mobility requires agility

Increasingly, productivity occurs outside the office.  More than 50% of employees work in a remote office outside of headquarters. That means IT needs to provide them with real-time access to productivity apps and data. For many IT departments, these new demands must still be met using a constrained budget. It’s typical for IT to be expected to do more with less.

In response to new user requirements,IT often deploys app delivery technology, such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). This solution quickly delivers desktop, applications, and data to any user on any device.  

Building infrastructure slows IT down

The problem with VDI is that many companies still believe it requires building significant infrastructure. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t result in more agile IT. While building IT infrastructure does give the IT department ultimate control, the downside is that it can take several quarters to build it and then move it into production. Typically, it takes at least six to nine months to deploy VDI, and even then it often doesn’t perform well for users. By then, business demands have changed. 

One of the biggest drawbacks of buying and building infrastructure is that it locks IT into a generation of technology and a set of vendors for three to five years.  It also makes it more difficult to adopt best of breed technology and meet changing business demands.

The cloud: Speed, flexibility, and agility

In today’s environment, IT must respond to business needs as fast as possible. Ideally, the technologies it adopts should be nimble and capable enough of deploying and scaling quickly with rollout completed within a single quarter, and be neutral or platform agnostic, not locking a company into a specific technology or vendor.

The cloud meets these two most important criteria. When companies can figure out how to cut the cord and move to a cloud service, IT gains the agility it requires. Cloud services are platform agnostic, as well as highly flexible, deploying and scaling instantly.

App delivery via the cloud

The most efficient method of providing secure access to desktops, applications, and data to any employee’s device is VDI – deployed via the cloud. As a cloud service, VDI does not require IT to build any infrastructure because its infrastructure lives in the cloud.  Keep in mind that not all VDI cloud services are the same. Typically, they fall into two categories; traditional architecture hosted on the cloud and offered as a service, or a 100% cloud-based service.

Both provide the benefits of speed. However, the 100% cloud option features these additional benefits:

  • Reduced operational complexity results in lower total cost of ownership
  • Companies are not locked into long-term proprietary platforms or technologies
  • Technology agnostic, which ensures seamless support for new technologies

Summary

In the current economic climate, businesses must be highly responsive to customer needs, and employees must be empowered to make critical decisions on the spot. Because the market is constantly in flux, IT must transition to a more agile model that is cost optimised, highly flexible, and doesn’t lock the companies into any long-term solutions. Cloud services are the ideal response to these needs, and a 100% cloud-based VDI solution is the best available.

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