As some regions are opening up around the world, companies like Google and Microsoft are already implementing long-term hybrid or Work-From-Anywhere (WFA) models for when employees are able to return to the office. In fact, one study finds that 22% of Americans will be remote by 2025 due to the resulting cost-savings (i.e. less office space) and higher employee satisfaction (i.e. less commuting) when working remotely.
While hybrid WFA models seem inevitable, costs and technical issues can still creep in to negate the benefits of giving up the office. A poor user experience for employees coupled with employer costs due to software bloat can put companies at a severe disadvantage. It is therefore essential to understand your remote employees’ activities in order to “find the right size” for your Virtual Workplace offerings, such as Windows Virtual Desktop. In this post, I will discuss what you need to do to understand your employees’ activity level and how to T-shirt size your WVD offerings accordingly.
Before the pandemic, it was commonplace for an employee to have multiple devices (e.g., a work PC, a private PC/laptop, tablet, mobile device, etc.) to keep them productive and connected. These devices each have dozens or even hundreds of apps, and based on the combination of apps running and the specs of the device they are on, there are different levels of strain on each device.
Using an endpoint management automation tool like Access Symphony, we can learn a great deal about the device and its app usage to better understand how it is currently performing. Access Symphony measures key performance indicators like CPU and memory usage, but also thousands of other data points across all devices used. It looks at the statistics of the device when running one app, multiple apps, and different combinations of apps, as well as how well the apps are performing on the device and their usage.
All of these statistics are gathered and constantly aggregated on an hourly, daily, monthly, etc. basis, which translates into millions of rows of data. When you add the thresholds set by the company, you could aggregate the data into a user-plus-application aggregated score — or a so-called “Digital Experience Score”. Based on this Digital Experience Score, Access Symphony can easily show which machines are running hot, i.e., always above the threshold, or devices that are way more powerful than their users will ever need them to be.
The data collected by Access Symphony can be drilled down to show very precise details. For instance, if a machine shows that it is running hot, you can look at the data to answer the following questions:
Besides drilling down into what makes a machine spike the CPU, Symphony can help you analyze the overall performance usage of your devices with the Digital Experience Score. The Digital Experience Score can tell you how each device for each user is performing overall. This is key when making the determination to move to a virtual environment or stateless VDI.
When examining the Digital Experience Score, you can determine how each device is performing, and then determine if:
If an enterprise determines that it is able to move all or a significant portion of its organization to a virtual workplace, then it needs to weigh the costs of moving from its legacy systems (e.g., legacy infrastructure and data centers) to a modern desktop including cloud storage, bandwidth, virtual offerings, and more.
By running Access Symphony over a period of 30-90 days, you will gather enough data to group your employees into four different categories for a virtual workplace offering: small, medium, large, and not able to go virtual.
As long as Access Symphony is installed, it will keep on monitoring users, and can inform and recommend a change in the offering size based on increasing or decreasing factual evidence to provide the best end user experience. Along with the right sized virtual offering for users, the infrastructure needed will also be proportionately appropriate, which means better support from operations as resources aren’t wasted.
Having the majority of your workforce on a virtual environment offers many advantages, such as the ability to work from anywhere, fewer infrastructure costs, and the ability to adapt to the changing needs of your employees. However, without properly classifying the virtual workplace offering that is the right (or wrong) size for your employees, you can find yourself paying for a bigger solution than the one needed, or wind up having employees who struggle to run their apps and either become inefficient or cause a Business-as-Usual (BAU) disruption.