Construction DaaS offers the chance to get out from under desktop costs and management, but it takes the right vendor.
The desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) vendor market is set to become even more crowded, as suggested by the Computerworld Forecast Study 2015. That means more choices for construction companies wanting to dump the costs of self hosted desktops and move further away from having to manage technology. But it’s definitely not time to throw caution to the winds.
A Sea of Choice
With respondents to the Computerworld survey naming cloud projects as their top IT initiatives, this study and others signal more of the cloud going to desktop use. But not all cloud service providers can attend to the needs of construction.
There are a wealth of different ways to deliver applications and data to people, regardless where they are working. No single solution is best for every business because of their differences in user experience, costs and management needs.
Many construction firms view server-hosted virtual desktops, or VDIs, and DaaS offered by cloud service providers as ways to get completely managed desktop environments on unmanaged devices. That’s been made all the more pressing by the influx of user devices in the workplace. Those with legacy investment in VDI are understandably loyal to it, but many are waking up to the DaaS alternative to eliminate high initial investment costs, lower their security risks, and respond more quickly to changing business needs. But, they’ve had some complaints about DaaS.
It’s All About the User
Implementation problems delay and even cancel projects. Instantiating enterprise applications in the cloud means desktop images must be customized for particular users. Enterprise apps also might not handle the latency when interacting with distant data centers. That means data centers have to be close to end users.
Bandwidth and latency are also issues when users want to access databases, print something, and deal with large files such as video. It’s very important that DaaS vendors troubleshoot connection problems to data centers so clients aren’t stuck in the middle as vendors haggle over who’s responsible.
Licensing Isn’t Easy
Licensing is one of the more challenging aspects of software in the cloud and it is especially difficult in DaaS implementations. Legacy enterprise software might not be legal in a DaaS environment, and software licensing is also affected by whether the desktops are persistent or not. So DaaS providers should explain the licensing requirements to clients. At least that way they’ll have a true picture of what implementation and ongoing expenses will be.
But of all the things to look for in a DaaS provider, the biggest could be attitude. When you’re deciding on something as fundamental, entrenched and critical as the desktop environment, you need a provider who is interested in delivering a service that’s right for you, rather than just a service.
If a cloud services provider goes the extra mile by understanding construction user, work group, and business needs, before fashioning a solution, you can get accurate implementation costs, and a final service that closely matches what your users are used to.
Rob Duffy at mindSHIFT Technologies lists questions for companies to ask of their would-be DaaS providers and those questions illuminate where customers need help. For example, when a DaaS provider delivers endpoint support, a migration plan, preventive maintenance schedule, and application performance testing, the role clearly becomes one of being a partner. And that’s exactly what a construction company needs as its trying to offload managing technology.