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News, Blogs and Webinars

Does anybody really want to return to the office full time after Covid?

 There is often a distinction between senior business leaders and employees, employees who are happy to have done away with their time-consuming commute who are able to spend more time with their families and are relishing the flexibility, but most importantly, both they and their employers are reaping the productivity gains of them working from home. Many business leaders do not share this appetite for continued remote working, and the stigma of “Shirking from Home” remains. They are often swayed by outdated anecdotes of home working being distracting as well as stopping collaboration and group activity. As a result, employers are not confident that remote workers are being properly managed. If young children are at home that perception is multiplied many times.  

As businesses discuss how and if they re-open their offices, we already know that some will not be, there are going to be ongoing discussions about when and how employees return to the office safely. What happens if your team wants to continue to work from home, but the business leaders want everyone to start being in the office full time again? There needs to be a demonstration that remote work is beneficial to the company, not just to individuals, a demonstration that teams are engaged no matter where they are located.

Recent research shows that remote work results in increased productivity, decreased real estate costs, happier and more engaged employees, greater business continuity during emergencies, a smaller environmental footprint, and access to a larger and more diversified talent pool.

The “return” to the office will be anything but a return to normality. So many of us have been forced into working from home due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and the subsequent rules and we have changed the way we work, embracing this change wholeheartedly. New skills in how to not only work remotely but also excel when working remotely have been developed, with new ways of connecting with colleagues and clients. Importantly and this is the crux of it, the lesson has been learned. Working from home, is efficient & productive.

In a FlexJobs survey of approximately 4,000 people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 95 percent said their productivity was higher than or the same as before the pandemic.

Many companies have already decided they do not need or want workers to return. BP, Aviva, Facebook, Mastercard, and Twitter are among some those that have committed to remote work for the long term.

According to a global survey carried out by PwC, nearly 80 percent of CEOs have expressed that, in the future, they expect to have a distributed remote workforce, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and that they think remote work is “here to stay.”

Most of us will be returning to the “office” in some form, for a few, it may well be full time and I am sure some others will never go back. For the majority, a hybrid-work model, where time is split between home and the office will be the model of choice. Business leaders who take a careful, thoughtful approach can craft a viable and sustainable remote-work program, including formulating new policies and investing in new technologies that fit their company’s needs for the long term. Remote work is not just about working from home, remote work is being able to work from anywhere.  

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Is appointing a “Head of Remote Work” essential, to navigate a post COVID world?

Now is the time for industry leaders to take the necessary action to accommodate the next normal for their workforce, the question is, will that include appointing someone as Head of Remote Work?

This role has grown across companies in all industry verticals over the last year, with rapid growth over the first couple of months of 2021. The position will need to combine IT, HR and Real Estate expertise to ensure that, what is now a widely distributed workforce, can work productively whilst working remotely.

This new role could well prove essential to companies, with no certainty as to when employees will be allowed to return to the office in the same way as they did pre-COVID, if in fact, that will happen at all. A Head of Remote Work will be tasked with creating a cohesive remote culture. This will include:

  • Providing a robust remote work technology solution for all employees, giving employees, the tools they need, to remain productive working remotely, is essential to successful remote working.
  • Implementing the correct HR policies, remote recruitment for example. According to LinkedIn, 70% of recruiting professionals say virtual recruiting will become the standard.
  • Reimagining the role of the office, create workspaces specifically designed to support the kinds of interactions that cannot happen remotely. Potentially reducing office footprint, with employees working remotely, is there a need for the same office space?

Despite the coronavirus vaccination programme and lockdown restrictions, workers in five European countries including the UK now expect to work from home until June instead of April, according to research carried out by the AlphaWise unit at the US bank Morgan Stanley.

Will every company appoint a Head of Remote Work? In short, no, I doubt it. But, the IT, HR and Real Estate heads, will need to work closely to achieve the same results. Even for those companies that do appoint a Head of Remote Work, if this specific role is not around in the long term, companies will still need well planned strategies and policies in place, to facilitate successful remote working for all employees.

Having a head of remote work, is not necessarily essential but it will most certainly be of a major benefit and I am sure large numbers of businesses will continue to appoint them. If you do not, ensuring there is joined up planning between the IT, HR and Real Estate teams, is essential to ensure remote working is a success for your business.

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Webinar Recording - VDI – The Ideal Remote-Work solution for AEC firms

Webinar Recording - VDI – The Ideal Remote-Work solution for AEC firms

In this webinar, IMSCAD show you why VDI is the ideal solution for successful remote-working for your business.

Providing employees with the right tools, will not only ensure productivity, it will make sure firms can retain and attract top talent. 

Webinar Recording

Desktop Disaster Recovery solutions for AEC firms from IMSCAD Cloud

What if you lose your on-premise environment in the event of a disaster, whether that be human error, an operational failure, natural disaster or even a pandemic! Don’t risk any downtime impacting negatively on staff productivity, projects not getting finished or your brand being tarnished. IMSCAD Cloud’s and IMSCAD Global’s years of experience deploying cloud and on-premise virtualisation solutions for AEC firms, means we understand what it takes to provide DR desktops that perform for Autodesk users.

The days of having an expensive offsite replication on physical hardware are gone. By having a “pilot light” environment, in the cloud, you can keep Capex, (Capital Expenditure) to a minimum. Cloud providers offer a favorable pay as you go option for hosting Virtual desktops, meaning the only recurring expenditure, is for the infrastructure and storage, this includes the virtual machine base templates.  

Once built, the infrastructure remains always on, the desktops sit dormant, ready to burst and scale as required in the event of an outage. IMSCAD Cloud build and maintain the infrastructure in the cloud, exclusively, for you the customer and provide yearly DR scenario tests, meaning you can sign the solution off as fully functioning for complete peace of mind.  Billing for the infrastructure will be on a monthly basis, until such time as the Disaster Recovery solution is invoked. At this time, you will be billed on a pay as you go basis for the desktops. IMSCAD Cloud can provide as many graphical and non-graphical desktops as needed. In the event of a disaster, we endeavor to make these desktops available within hours, we do however, guarantee, full functionality of the solution within 2 working days.

Once desktop failback has completed, all running instances except for that of the infrastructure will be turned off and deallocated to avoid any unnecessary costs whilst returning the environment to it’s always on base infrastructure.

If you would like more information and help identifying the right Disaster Recovery Solution for your business, contact us at info@imscadcloud.com or follow the link below.


Webinar Recording - Cloud Based VDI 'Is It The New Normal For Autodesk Customers?'

Webinar Recording - Cloud Based VDI 'Is It The New Normal For Autodesk Customers?'

In this webinar, IMSCAD explain the growth in Cloud based VDI adoption among Autodesk customers and how lockdown has driven this demand as well as detailing the best way of achieving the ultimate performance for Autodesk users not only at home, but anywhere and on any device.


Webinar Recording

Blog - VDI, don’t call it a comeback!

What is VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure,) why implement a VDI solution now and how do you decide on the best VDI solution for your business?

The VDI market is set for an explosion over the next five years, the Global VDI Market is expected to reach USD 25,496.3 Million by 2025 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 16.1%

In this blog, I will help you understand what Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is, why you should be looking at VDI for your business and what are the most important factors when deciding on the best VDI solution. Including, financial implications and in our opinion, most importantly, performance and therefore user experience to ensure a successful solution.  

What is VDI?

VDI technology enables you to deliver desktops via virtual machines (VMs,) these desktops are managed from a central server and deployed to user via a client or browser. Originally called end-user computing (EUC), this desktop virtualization method was made popular by VMware, which standardized the term VDI. Operating Systems, Applications and Data are no longer being stored locally on an end-point device they are being hosted in data centers. These can be a business’s own, a co-location where a business has its own infrastructure or hardware sitting in a third-party data center, a hosted, private cloud environment where the business doesn’t own the infrastructure, it is rented or one of the Public or Hyperscale Clouds where a business pays for instances. The Operating system, Applications and data are then delivered to the user via an agent or browser.

The great thing about VDI is that users have access, to a personalized desktop, with their own icons, windows and applications and they can access the desktop from home or anywhere remotely on any end point device as all of the processing is being done centrally on a server in the datacenter.

What are the Key Benefits of VDI?

Increased Productivity - Research indicates that virtual desktop solutions can boost productivity by up to 20%. That is attributable to improved uptime levels, better performance and more opportunities for collaboration but also the ability to work from anywhere.

Reduction in IT Management Cost - All data and applications are kept centrally on the servers, all patches, upgrades and fixes are managed centrally as a single instance.  The management of users, their access to applications and data is also centrally controlled by IT.

Improved Data Security & IP Protection - Centralised data ensures that no sensitive data ever leaves the security of the infrastructure.  This removes the security risk and IP protection issues traditionally associated with having distributed data.

Increased Mobility for Users - Organisations can easily facilitate mobile workstyles for all remote users, improving productivity while retaining the necessary levels of security. The anywhere, anytime, anyhow nature of a virtual desktop, allows users to access their desktops on any end-point device, from anywhere.

Improved Enterprise MobilityBusinesses can rapidly respond to change, with the ability to provision and deploy new users, groups or project teams almost instantly, removing the lengthy process of workstation re-provisioning and redeployment.

Business Continuity - The availability of a virtual desktop, coupled with the centralised backup of data makes a VDI solution an attractive alternative to a more traditional disaster recovery option of a stand-by secondary site. It also addresses the increasing issue of weather, travel and pandemic related interruptions, with workers able to work as normal from a remote or home location.

Reduced Carbon Footprint - A reduced requirement for new equipment, lower energy requirements, extended PC life and more flexible working can all help shrink a company’s carbon footprint and address environmental targets

Why VDI now?

Don’t call it a comeback, VDI isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s been here for years! This is a good thing as the technology is mature and there has been a lot of investment from the big players in the virtulisation space, such as Citrix and VMWare. Historically, there may have been cultural issues, switching from physical desktops to virtual desktops has proved problematic, users are often stuck in their ways, scared of change and may need convincing regarding performance, especially those using resource hungry graphical applications.   

The VDI market is set for explosion over the next five years, with the latest estimates expecting the global virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) market to be worth USD 25,496.3 million by 2025!

What is the best way of deploying VDI for your business?

There are three, key deployment methods to consider when looking at VDI as a solution for your business, in no particular order, they are as follows. We deploy and support all three VDI solution methods, we are only interested in the best solution for each use case.

On-Prem or On-Premise VDI - deployed on your infrastructure in your own data center, this could be one server in your office or could be your own private data centre, where you are responsible for the infrastructure and everything associated with it. For this sort of deployment, there is a large CapEx (Capital Expenditure) required as the infrastructure needs to be purchased, racked and set up before you can start provisioning desktops. A real positive of this sort of solution is that you are provisioning the servers to suit your use case, the applications your business uses and the workloads.  

Private Cloud or Hosted VDI - Outsource your virtual desktops to a hosted environment, the Virtual Desktops are deployed and hosted in the hosting company’s data center, on bare metal servers, they are responsible for the infrastructure, this is often referred to as private cloud or hosted VDI. With this sort of delivery, there is normally an upfront fee to set up and then a monthly cost, keeping CapEx to a minimum and enabling a more manageable OpEx (Operational Expenditure) model. Like the on-premise solution, with this sort of solution you get the same benefits of provisioning infrastructure to suit your use case, applications and workflows with the extra plus of not having to buy or manage the hardware.

Hyperscale or Public Cloud – You pay for instances and use a vendor’s VDI broker. While spinning up a new desktop is easy, a VDI solution on the public cloud still requires extra, underlying infrastructure and integration components to work. This can be complicated, the infrastructure needs to be designed and deployed before you can begin deploying desktops, this requires a diverse and technical skillset. From the architecture and networking to the security, you are responsible for everything you build in the public cloud. Beware spiraling costs, each of the products or components you add to your virtual infrastructure, from domain controllers to VMs, come with their own associated costs, these are additional costs on top of the cost of each desktop. It’s important you understand what the monthly infrastructure costs look like and not just the desktop costs, it can be a rude awakening down the line. In short, beware, the actual cost of the solution, will be higher than the advertised desktop cost! The other thing to bear in mind is that with these instances, you get what you are given regarding resource, so with certain more demanding use cases and workflows performance can be an issue.   

Food for thought:

In conclusion, the great thing about VDI is that there is a solution out there for every use case, although, certain use cases are more complicated to deploy successfully than others so deployment methods where you can tailor the infrastructure to suit your businesses unique use case will provide better performance due to the bespoke nature of the solution. If up-front costs and the associated costs of owning infrastructure are not an issue an on-premise solution gives you that bespoke solution. As does a private cloud VDI solution where again you get the benefit of a tailor-made solution, but the cost is spread over the length of the contract and the infrastructure is managed by the hosting company, you could say the best of both worlds.

If you need help identifying the right solution for your business, get in touch with us today, for a free, no obligation consultation and to arrange a free demo to trial a VDI solution.  

Written by Charlie Dawson, Channel Director, IMSCAD Global and IMSCAD Cloud

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