The physical office, complete with desk, PC, and landline telephone, is fast becoming a thing of the past. In the future, the workplace will be mobile, digital and available anytime, anywhere. So it’s not surprising that an increasing number of enterprises are switching to virtual desktops – such as the T-Systems Dynamic Workplace, delivered direct from the cloud.
In the future, employees won’t have to trek to the office every day. Any screen will do – on a conventional desktop PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. A virtual desktop can be accessed anytime from any location, at any time of day – the user simply signs in, and away they go. The corresponding data and applications that were once stored locally now reside in a remote data center. In a survey conducted by Vanson Bourne in 2013, 46 percent of IT decision makers stated that investing in desktop virtualization was a priority. But many CIOs remain uncertain – will implementation be time-consuming and complex? How reliable will the data center be? What kind of performance can be expected? And what about security – can’t cybercriminals take out dozens, perhaps hundreds, of desktops at a stroke? What’s more, IDC identified concerns over storage costs and license fees as further reasons for a reluctance to make the switch. A PAC study showed that 60 percent of German CIOs are expected to either have the same or a tighter budget for desktops for the next one to two years. So what are the options?
Such fears are misplaced, at least when it comes to cloud-based virtual desktops such as the Dynamic Workplace. The provider is responsible for implementation, data center operations, and security. The CIO simply submits a request for the number of seats required, and services are charged on the basis of actual usage. “Employees can access their desktop anytime, anywhere, via a web browser – and it will have the same look-and-feel no matter what the device,” explains Thomas Gierich, Business Development Executive for Workplace Solutions at T-Systems.
The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary processes and stores all data within the borders of Germany to ensure bullet-proof security: all data centers comply with the country’s strict data protection legislation. However, if an enterprise is leery of an IT infrastructure that is off-premises, there will be an alternative available from 2015: the same solution can be deployed in the customer’s own data center, but be operated and maintained by T-Systems.
Up to speed with his project
Project manager Peter Robinson (41) has to get up early for a business trip. He uses his personal tablet to check his work emails while eating breakfast. Peter requests a password, which is texted to him seconds later. He calls up the log-in screen using his browser, and enters the one-time password and his PIN (for two-factor authentication). Once he has dealt with his emails, he has time to check the latest project updates – and there’s no need to log in again, thanks to single sign-on for all applications. Peter uses his laptop to continue working on the train, accessing the same user interface as he did on his tablet.
Knowledge is the best medicine
Catherine Smith (27) is a surgeon at the local hospital. Before starting her daily rounds, she uses her work computer to check her patients’ current state of health. One of them has a complex rib fracture. Catherine takes a last look at the X-ray before picking up her tablet and setting off. At the patient’s bedside, Catherine signs in via the browser with her smartcard and PIN, and the tablet brings up the same image she was looking at on her computer. However, Catherine can only access confidential information while within the hospital campus, safeguarding patient privacy.
Hot desking in the sales department
As a sales rep, James Hart (45) is something of a road warrior – out and about like most of his colleagues. That’s why his employer decided that the sales team, with a headcount of 60, needed only 40 physicals desks. Each is equipped with the same hardware: a screen, a keyboard, and a thin client. The thin client is connected to a data center, which provisions all data and apps. When James goes into the office, he simply pulls up the nearest chair and powers up the thin client – his user environment is the same at every desk.
No need for expert help
Just before a virtual meeting with a supplier, development engineer Christian Scott (29) decides to update Microsoft Lync. He has a few minutes, so he accesses the Dynamic Workplace self-service portal, and installs the newest version. The latest version of the program launches right on time at noon, along with his engineering software. He shares his screen with the supplier, and they discuss the component with the help of 3D images.
Less stress for administrators
IT professional Dave Higgins (54) used to feel the heat when the HR people announced the imminent arrival of new staff. It was a quite challenge to install the hardware and software in time, especially as user requirements varied from department to department. Now Dave can keep his cool – the virtual desktops are provisioned from the data center within 24 hours, with a single click on the self-service portal. Dave and his team simply have to tailor the virtual desktop to the user’s specific needs by putting together the ideal combination of standardized modules, including collaboration and voice communications applications.
Find out more in the next issue of our customer magazine Best Practice.