Desktop Virtualization Cultural Challenges – Part 1

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Damon Brown, CTO of Govplace

Damon Brown, CTO of Govplace

The technology of desktop virtualization (VDI) is maturing rapidly and offering tremendous efficiencies.  Many times during conversations with other IT leaders, I refer to it as finally “mature for the masses”. But as we all know, successful IT initiatives are more about the people and processes than about the technology. I have found that desktop virtualization initiatives are highly susceptible to the people, processes, and culture surrounding the project.

A significant factor to consider when working with a VDI project is how users perceive the desktop they work with day after day. Specifically, the world inside the machine.  A user’s desktop icons, color scheme, and background wallpaper, etcetera are often a very personal thing. We all spend so much time working at our desks, on our computers that we begin to build a connection with this world and it becomes a part of who we are. We decorate our cubes and offices to our personal liking, to show a part of who we are. The personal computer, and its personalization, is no different.

Now, take into consideration where VDI derives its value to the organization from. With VDI, we gain enormous efficiencies over management and operations of the desktop environment. This equates to significant savings for the organization. Information Technology now has the ability to take the layers of the desktop (operating system, applications, and user data) and bring them into the datacenter. We can regain control over the disorder the traditional desktop infrastructure has become.

Whenever control or power is shifted, the people losing the control can often feel slighted. This feeling, combined with a sense of ownership a user has over their pc as their personal space, may make users emotionally equate losing the ability for desktop pc customization to the company forbidding any personal decorations in their working environment.

Without properly preparing for these challenges, you may end up with a wonderful technology that is not only ill adopted, but outright resisted.

In my next post  I will share my thoughts on dealing with cultural challenges.

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Damon Brown is Chief Technology Officer at Govplace.

2 Responses to “Desktop Virtualization Cultural Challenges – Part 1”

  1. […] Brown, CTO of GovplaceIn part 1 of “Desktop Virtualization Cultural Challenges”, I discussed the need to consider user […]

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