2021 End-User Computing State of the Market
End-user computing (EUC) approaches continue to evolve as organisations look to support the needs of a dynamic and changing workplace. Hybrid and multi-cloud approaches have become a more important variable in the context of work-from-home. Platform flexibility remains important but lowering the bar on complexity has become an increasingly key focus for EUC implementations.
We invited a group of technology VPs and product directors to discuss their organisation’s approaches to EUC and more about:
- The key drivers for their organisation’s EUC strategy
- Virtual desktop interfaces (VDIs) versus Desktop as a Service (DaaS) platforms
- What a successful EUC strategy looks like
Rela8 Group’s Technology Leaders Club roundtables are held under the Chatham House Rule. Names, organisations and some anecdotes have been withheld to protect privacy.
Nutanix is a global leader in cloud software and a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, making clouds invisible and freeing customers to focus on their business outcomes. Organisations around the world use Nutanix software to leverage a single platform to manage any app at any location for their hybrid multi-cloud environments.
The EUC boom
Up until the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, end-user computing strategies were largely dismissed by organisations. Most end-users before the pandemic sat within the security boundary of their office, an easily controlled and frictionless environment. Our new normal however, has forced thousands of staff to work remotely, instigating a mad rush to get EUC strategies in place. Now 2 years on, the dust has settled, and businesses can revaluate their EUC strategies as it becomes clear that remote working is here to stay.
Planning your approach
There are a number of choices available when it comes to providing an EUC solution to your staff, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. At the beginning of the pandemic, businesses were clamouring to secure massive amounts of laptops for their teams. Coupled with a VPN for security, this approach provided a very quick response to the immediate problem, but it was only a short-term fix. In the long term, providing people with computers created issues for desk side support, patch management, and the general proliferation of devices that weren’t under the organisations control. As time wore on, it was clear that more modern EUC solutions were required.
When on the EUC journey, the best approach is to consider what specific challenges that can be solved with EUC solutions are most important to you. A modern end-user computing approach needs to be able to handle the variety of different kinds of applications and traffic patterns unique to your business. What do your workers need to perform their roles remotely with the same efficiency as in the office? For example, the ability for call-centre agents to work from home securely is possible with on-cloud and on-prem EUC solutions, but this requirement must be understood and factored in to the VDI architecture or DaaS offering.
VDI or DaaS?
There is no clear-cut answer for whether a business should opt for an in-house VDI or look for DaaS provider. VDIs offer businesses greater control and the ability to re-architect their solution in the face of user feedback or emerging workloads. Of course, not every business is in the position where it can develop its own EUC solution. DaaS offers a solution for these businesses for whom it doesn’t make sense to develop their own VDI. With DaaS, someone else is making the infrastructure and handling the patch management, this frees up resource although comes at a cost.
Ultimately, it comes down to interrogating your business needs and capabilities and deciding what approach works best for you. Your business might be in a position to develop its own VDI, but does it have the resource to continue managing the infrastructure?
A successful EUC strategy
Even coming into the EUC journey with a clear objective in mind is no guarantee of success. When planning your EUC strategy, it’s important to consider that we have moved past a one size fits all approach to delivering desktops. Flexibility is more important than ever, and a core part of this flexibility involves listening to your end-users. More projects fail than succeed, simply because that end-user component isn’t considered. What issues are they having? What is their experience like relative to other solutions available? Using this feedback loop, you can begin to improve your solution or search for a new one.
Understanding the needs of your end-users is key. By categorising employees into use cases, you can tailor your EUC solution to individual teams. These categorisations need to include the critical success factors that may be unique to each of those user groups and how these can be met. How can businesses understand their users? Pilot programmes and user acceptance testing. Running a pilot will help organisations get a clearer idea of the end-users wants and needs. Look for vocal and enthusiastic participants to be your internal champions, a little bit of support and encouragement goes a long way to getting valuable feedback.
When it comes down to managing what the organisation wants against what the end-user wants, it’s all about finding the middle ground. The organisation wants flexibility, rapid implementation, and easy deployment. The end-user wants frictionless access to the tools they need, whenever, wherever. Balancing these is about identifying both party’s wants and needs and choosing the right tool for the job.
The new normal
If one thing is clear, it’s that EUC strategies are forever going to be a part of modern organisations. Offering flexibility to your staff and being able to do it efficiently is already proving to be crucial in the wake of ‘the great resignation’. In the past few years alone, EUC has evolved and is profoundly different now to how it was even a year ago. This innovation needs to be embraced.
EUC solutions are improving, and so should your organisation’s EUC strategy. Any implementation needs to consider that things are likely to change and evolve and that your EUC will need to do the same.