Cloud computing is something businesses can’t ignore as uptake accelerates around the world. In September 2012, analysts Gartner predicted that by 2016, the global cloud market will nearly double; and a paper last year entitled: ‘The Reality of Enterprise Cloud Migration in 2013[i]’ from Virtustream, a cloud software provider stated that 69% of medium to large organisations are planning to migrate their business-critical applications into the cloud by the end of 2014. Many businesses considering moving their IT to a privately cloud based system, will be looking at Desktop as a Service (DaaS), often referred to as a Hosted Desktop Service, however many still don’t fully understand the business benefits this can bring.
Here is a roundup of the most compelling reasons for businesses to make the leap this year:
Mobility - Access the office from any location
The number one benefit of hosted desktops is that business users can log on to their own desktops and their entire suite of business software applications - from their CRM database to their accounting packages, as well as their emails, files and data - from any location, using any device.
Hurst Financial, a boutique firm of independent financial advisors based in Salisbury discovered this when it adopted hosted desktops. Hurst Financial’s chairman, Mike Hurst, recently said: “I travel a great deal so remote access is important. Now, I can access my desktop when travelling with work or on holiday. I didn’t have to invest in new equipment and the cost of the Hosted Desktop Service is a minimal monthly fee.”
According to analysts including Gartner, it costs around £1500 - £2000 per person every year to supply licences and to manage and support a fixed desktop.[ii] Implementing a Hosted Desktop strategy can reduce this to less than £1000 per year, typically saving businesses between 30 and 50 per cent from their IT budgets over a four year period (the lifetime of a typical server).
The desire to reduce the cost of IT was a key driver for recruitment firm, Nicholson International when it adopted a Hosted Desktop service. Nicholson International’s managing director, John Nash, said: “One of the key attractions of outsourcing our IT was to get rid of our servers and reduce the need for administration including performing software updates and IT security management. We realised that removing this burden would leave more time for us to concentrate on business development.”
Better cash flow
Moving to a hosted desktop service removes the need for costly capital expenditure on physical servers. Companies will enjoy a low fixed monthly pay-as-you-go price – only paying for what they use, which will result in improved cash flow and more predicable budgeting.
Hosted desktops give organisation flexibility and make it easier for them to grow and scale their IT requirements up or down by adding (or removing) employees, storage and applications quickly and only paying for what they use.
Cloud computing can increase workforce productivity by up to 20 per cent, according to research from Pixmania. Hosted desktops enable seamless remote working from any location, which ensures high productivity levels and can enable companies to reduce overheads, offer flexible working and keep their staff happy.
Hurst Financial’s chairman Mike Hurst said: “Productivity has increased and people feel liberated that they can work away from the office and are trusted to manage their own time. This has helped improve the bottom line and increase staff morale.”
Remote working becomes truly enabled through hosted desktops as employees can log onto to all their business applications from any location, and no longer need to be tied to an office. It also offers businesses the flexibility to move locations easily, create satellite offices and hold meetings anywhere.
Reliability near 100%
With most cloud providers promising 99.999 per cent uptime, a business can always be open. Providers host their clients’ data in a secure UK data centre behind corporate grade firewalls and offer 24/7 support and disaster and recovery services. If a server fails the load automatically falls over to other servers in the cloud to keep applications live.
A cloud computing provider will perform daily data back-ups for their clients and data is typically stored securely in a UK datacentre with backup power and generators, cooling, fire systems and 24 hour security making it more secure than an in house server set up.
A “greener” business
Cloud solutions reduce energy use and carbon emissions by more than 30 per cent for large companies and by more than 90 per cent for smaller deployments. Energy savings stem from having fewer machines, equipment efficiency, getting rid of climate control rooms for in-house servers as well as extra servers needed to handle peak data loads.
Greater efficiency is enjoyed because employees who are able to share the latest version of their chosen applications, leading to faster communication and greater efficiency.
John Nash, managing director of Nicholson, added: “We are fast growing international business and we now have a truly global workforce with offices in Paris and Poland. We can now operate in a more responsive and nimble way, improving the services we offer our clients around the world and we have a great system from which to expand the business.”