Source: Client4Cloud: Desktop Transformation to User Centric Universal Clients by Jeanne Morain
Take Away – Shifting planning from a machine to a user and/or application approach based on business requirements will save time, frustration, and failed projects when trying to transform your desktops and applications into universal clients for the cloud.
Many companies have made it clear that their end users want applications and data to follow them across any device and any cloud. They want to have the freedom to focus on the task at hand without impediment to their work life balance. Failure has been a painful pill to swallow for many of the talented architects and engineers that have first tried to adopt desktop and application virtualization solutions. In the end – many didn’t know what they didn’t know about the “client clash” in the cloud with rising mobility, solutions that enable consumerization of IT, and the new generation of digital native users.
Over the years I have spent quite a bit of time with customers trying to deploy thousands of applications across millions of endpoints on both physical and virtual environments from the client to the cloud. Regardless of company size, pilot pool, or environment – it is clear that fundamental changes in people, processes and technology are needed for successful transformations to truly occur.
Below is some prescriptive guidance on ten steps to transforming desktops and applications into universal clients in the cloud. The series is based on original research from customers large and small that embarked on their journey and collective experience.
1: Step Away From the Machine: Start with the User and Business
Virtualization enables us to not only decouple the layers in the stack (Machine, OS, APPS) but also the user and business from the technology. Before starting any transformation you need to understand:
- The user’s role and impact to the business
- What users are trying to do (content)
- The context they are trying to do it (connectivity, environment, risks)
2: Assess the Current Asset Landscape:
The easiest way to get from current state to the cloud is to understand the landscape before plotting your course. What technologies are available from the client to the cloud that already work for your environment? What tools are available that will help ease the migration of your current applications and users to the new paradigm? What applications or tools will support a split environment during the transition and migration process from current to cloud? What partnerships or agreements are already in place to avoid duplicate costs, projects, and expense?
3: Identify and Diffuse Potential Political Landmines
The fastest way to kill your project is to not include or get buy in from other teams. The more successful projects include all the key stakeholders from the beginning to diffuse any turf wars over who owns the resources and budget. Particularly since every aspect of IT is impacted such as desktop, server, network, storage, asset management, and service desk. Many implementations have failed due to lack of cooperation and/or thought to include the other teams. Nothing kills a pilot faster if the service desk doesn’t know about it and can’t meet service level agreements for key applications or employees that have significant impact on the bottom line.
4: Get Your House in Order
Automating bad processes is a bad idea. Before planning your new project – make sure that you have automated as many of the processes required to successfully launch a universal client project. Meaning – if you know your software asset management system does not show what was purchased versus deployed and this is only done through a manual process – perhaps you should look for complimentary enterprise license optimization tools to your current asset system to replace the manual true up. Or if you know your company is implementing a private cloud, make sure you understand what it is replacing and how you can leverage it for this project BEFORE planning your project to see if timelines align.
5: Assess User and Environment Requirements
Before walking the proverbial plank down one implementation route or another, you should first assess the user and environment requirements. Understand overall usage of applications and in what context users need to access them is essential. It is wise to make sure that before picking your route to implementation – the solution will not adversely impact the company’s bottom line. For example, if road warriors need to use a specific application on a frequent basis but are often disconnected – a virtual application solution in a disconnected mode may work better than a software as a service solution. Or if the connectivity from the service provider to the user is not very reliable and/or powerful – an offline solution may be in order. User and environment assessment tools to determine actual software usage are a must have first step in the transformation.
6: Calculate Risks: Legal, Security, and Business
Assessing the overall risk to the company is always a good idea. What are acceptable risks and what are not? Are there key regulations that the company must adhere to such as personal information acts that would impact where and how they access applications and data? What risks would alternative models such as “bring your own desktop” or streaming virtual applications to personal devices have on the company? Do your license contracts allow those types of implementations? What are restrictions? Before you talk to your vendors do you know how their licenses are being consumed within your organization today? The amount of risk requirements and costs can significantly impact your decision. For example, a less secure online word processor in a public cloud would work, for example,for a group of students in an English class but would not be advisable for a group of physicians to use to write notes on patients.
7: Create User Profiles (Categories)
Once you have details about your users’ overall requirements, the environment, and their roles you should categorize them into their overall role or function. Examples of roles could be Knowledge Worker, Road Warrior, or Task Worker.
8: Assess Application Usage requirements
After identifying the right category for your users – it is time to identify the application requirements and good candidates to migrate to the new user paradigm. What applications are being used by multiple groups (such as MS Word or Office)? Which ones are only used by the Road Warriors (Sales)? How often do they use it? Which ones are used by accounting only once or twice a year for audit? Mapping applications and usage back to user category dependencies will help you create the best candidates for a pilot project, and understand which applicationbs to virtualize or migrate first and. in some cases, which ones should not be migrateed/virtualized at all.
9. Assess Application Compatibility Requirements
After identifying the right category for your users – it is time to utilize Application Readiness best practices by identifying the application requirements and good candidates to migrate to the new user paradigm. A good application compatibility assessment tool is critical for planning. The determination of whether to implement a specific application virtualization solution over another will vary depending on the user, content and context. With three different application virtualization architectures in the market today – it is difficult to ascertain which is the right solution for your desktop transformation requirements. Leveraging a streamlined tool that can assess all three application virtualization formats, remediate, convert and work with your existing and new delivery mechanisms to support both current and emerging cloud infrastructures will be key.
10. Create Map: Route to Implementation
Plan your work and work your plan. Now that you understand the user, content, and context you are ready to create routes to implementation based on the business and user requirements. Your route can include a variety of technologies, people and processes. Be sure to create a unified team across the business to help the success of the plan. Top performers make sure they have a roadmap for success meaning that if the pilot project takes off in a big way – they are prepared to scale and pull the trigger in a timely manner to move at the speed of “cloud” to reap the highest benefits here. Key performance indicators and defining what success is up front is critical to understanding whether the pilot truly achieved desired state. If not, take the time to assess and adjust routes to implementation based on changing business needs (user, content, and context).