Many of Computacenter’s customers remain on Windows XP and it was dificult to make a compelling business case for moving to the Vista operating system. This has presented an opportunity for customers to define their desktop strategy and evaluate alternatives to the Fat Client approach. These projects are often referred to as Next Generation Desktop or the Desktop of the Future.
Computacenter have hosted scores of workshops with customers from all sectors. From these workshops, we capture customer requirements and have identified a common set of requirements as to what the Future Desktop Platform needs to achieve. These can be summarised in four categories;
1) Reducing TCO. Customers need an easier to support desktop, where tasks are automated, user settings maintained and avoid at desk support. Many customers are looking at solutions that avoid future desktop refresh visits or minimise the impact.
2) Power Management. Green issues are in vogue, especially in local government organisations. As well as identifying devices that have lower power consumption, customers require the tools to automate and manage the power down of devices. These solutions often have the most attractive ROI of any desktop related project.
3) Flexibility. This is both a business and user requirement. Businesses want the flexibility to rapidly deploy standard images to new groups of users. This is particularly common in the financial services sector, with mergers and acquisitions. Organisations are looking at mechanisms to provide desktops remotely to off shore users, for Business Continuity solutions and to thrird parties, such as contractors and partners. End Users are becoming increasingly IT literate and need to access business resources from home and in some forward thinking organisations, on non corporate devices.
4) Security. Organisations want to break the links between the device and the data and host all data centrally. This is particularly important for mobile users, where the data should not be held on a device that is easily lost or stolen. In blue light organisations, end users need to access multiple desktops with different security levels from a single physical device.
The common technologies to meet these business drivers are Windows 7, Desktop Virtualisation, Application Virtualisation and Thin Client Hardware.
Organisations are unlikely to meet all their customer requirements from a single infrastructure. In a subsequent blog, we will discuss User Segmentation and tools that can be used to aid this process.