Survey: Cost Reduction, Productivity Goals Will Drive 82 Percent of Businesses To Client Virtualization Within Two Years

CDW LLC (CDW) recently released the findings of its Client Virtualization Straw Poll.

The report finds that 90 percent of medium and large businesses are considering or implementing at least one form of client virtualization. Driven by the promise of reduced costs and improved operation efficiency, 91 percent of that group plan to implement a client virtualization solution within the next 12-24 months.

This is despite the potential for bumps in the road, as almost all respondents (97 percent) say they have faced challenges, although many of them are not related to the technology itself, including getting management behind the initiative, training end-users and ensuring the technology will work on an individual level.

The poll surveyed 200 IT managers at U.S. businesses larger than 100 employees to understand what is driving the three major categories of client virtualization: presentation, application and desktop virtualization. Client virtualization enables organizations to centrally manage end-user software applications, which in turn provides better mobile computing opportunities, stronger network security and more efficient use of IT resources.

Sixty percent of respondents cite reduction of hardware, support and management costs as their primary driver for implementing or considering client virtualization.

“Client virtualization can help organizations achieve savings of more than 20 percent of their IT budget, according to the businesses we surveyed that have implemented and are tracking ROI. It is a viable and valuable solution,” said Doug Eckrote, CDW senior vice president, strategic solutions and services. “At issue is that organizations underestimate the complexity of deploying client virtualization. The survey results find that it is still worth pursuing,” continued Eckrote. “In our experience, with sufficient up-front analysis, education and testing, organizations can greatly reduce their deployment challenges.”

In addition to reducing costs, respondents report that client virtualization eases the software distribution process (40 percent), increases IT productivity (38 percent) and improves IT support (37 percent). Despite the expected benefits, businesses report a number of challenges to launching client virtualization, including a lack of preparation:

  • Only 58 percent of respondents say that IT management understands how to implement client virtualization.
  • Just 35 percent say their business is appropriately staffed and trained to implement it.

Of the businesses that have implemented client virtualization, a total of 97 percent experienced challenges:

  • 46 percent reported issues with the technology working on an individual level.
  • 41 percent had trouble estimating ROI.
  • 33 percent had challenges training their end users to use the new system.

“The Client Virtualization Straw Poll finds that 59 percent of businesses say client virtualization is an equally or more important initiative compared to server virtualization,” Eckrote said. “Organizations need to know, however, that client virtualization is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. As these challenges reflect, there are a variety of approaches, so it is crucial for management to define IT and business priorities and train their staff to ensure a smooth and successful implementation.”

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