Virtualisation can help organisations boost productivity

22 Jan 2013

Virtualisation projects, usually done for tactical cost-cutting reasons, can also be strategic tools for the business, an IT services and consulting firm has said.

The technology first made inroads in many firms at the server level, thanks to a simple business case: organisations could significantly reduce the running costs of their server estate by consolidating the number of physical systems they needed to maintain.

Now with desktop virtualisation maturing, technology provider Zinopy believes there are benefits to this technology in addition to saving money.

Sales director Aidan McEvoy said the cost model for desktop virtualisation differs from that of server virtualisation, with a typical return on investment of between three to five years.

“If you’re going to market and you have to change 1,000 PCs, there’s a direct cost saving you can calculate, but the real benefit is the total value of ownership,” he said. “Every organisation will see financial benefits, but you can do more.”

While businesses have seen the value in virtualising desktops, recent improvements in the technology seem designed to convince sceptical users who found the virtual desktop environment limiting because of slow response times and the inability to load their own applications onto machines.

Now, technologies like XenClient from Citrix make it possible to separate personal apps from business apps on the same device.

Virtualisation meets bring your own device

Desktop virtualisation also dovetails with the growing trend of employees bringing their own devices to work, and it addresses information security concerns of the business, McEvoy said.

“When people are out of the office, the choice is there for them to use whatever device they want without compromising security or running the risk of data loss, because the beauty of desktop virtualisation is that you centralise the management of information. It’s not the product that counts, it’s what you’re connecting into,” he told  

Taking the theory further, giving staff the freedom to work from any location means that organisations could reduce the amount of office space they need – potentially saving money on rent or leases.

The strategic side of the argument is that organisations giving their staff more autonomy and flexibility in when, where and how they work will reap the benefits in increased productivity.

“It gives them control, independence and the ability to work from anywhere. You look at the productivity, morale and satisfaction of users. If a company is looking to attract graduates, it’s almost the Google effect,” said McEvoy.

“Companies can say ‘we’re not tying you to a desk. We expect a certain level of productivity and work, but where you do that is up to you’. Companies that are not doing that are running the risk of not attracting or retaining the best people. You should factor in the cost of losing people and replacing them.”

The results will be tangible and measurable, McEvoy added. “Ultimately, the productivity should show up in terms of the performance of the business in the year-end accounts.”

That argument dovetails with the experience of Vodafone Ireland, which saw a 10pc jump in productivity when it introduced hot-desking and a flexible working system.

Virtualisation image via Shutterstock

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic