5 Determinants of the Optimal Cloud Infrastructure Adoption

Over the last few years, cloud infrastructure has become one of the most important advancements in business operations. The Cloud is an excellent solution for many organizations, helping them maximize the efficiency of their operations.

Working closely with many CIOs and business owners, we’ve seen firsthand how companies have transformed, taking advantage of operational flexibility to meet their specific needs, and increase employee productivity.

However, not every business makes the most of the benefits that cloud infrastructure has to offer.

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Workspaces: No Company Too Small

In terms of their power to redefine the computing experience alone, workspaces bring with them a wide range of different benefits that cannot be ignored. Chief among them is the fact that they allow you to move away from the natural limitations of hardware into an era where any app can run on any machine, no exceptions.

Many people believe that workspaces can currently only be enjoyed by large companies with even larger IT budgets, but this is absolutely not the case. In truth, there is no company too small for workspaces for a number of compelling reasons.

Workspaces: A Great Fit for Smaller Companies

One of the major reasons why workspaces are a great option for smaller companies, in particular, is because they’re naturally more cost-effective than on-premise hardware. As IT environments get larger, you’re naturally dealing with a greater degree of complexity. This requires more service, more management, etc. With workspaces, you have none of these issues and get state-of-the-art technology in a sleek and sophisticated package.

They Shatter the Traditional Model

In many ways, larger businesses actually make more sense in terms of the traditional model of computing. Under the traditional model, companies have to purchase hardware and then replace it within 24 to 36 months. It’s a never-ending cycle of hardware replacement that requires a tremendous amount of money (and represents a major burden to small business owners in particular).

You’re also dealing with a never-ending performance lifecycle as well. One-year-old hardware isn’t as good as brand new hardware, requiring unending updates of software onto a platform that wasn’t designed to run newer versions of apps and programs in the first place. This causes the user experience to suffer, creating an environment that just gets worse and worse instead of getting better.

Workspaces, on the other hand, eliminate all of these concerns. You get a system that does exactly what you need when you need it from any location and you don’t have to worry about investing an additional dime into hardware as a result.

The Beauty of Workspaces is in Their Consistency

Finally, one of the reasons why workspaces are terrific for small businesses, in particular, is because they offer a consistent, predictable experience for all users at all times. The back end hardware that you’re dealing with is so powerful that your end users will see almost no difference between this new model and the traditional model.

From their perspective, nothing has changed. They can still do exactly what they need to on a daily basis, only now they can do it better than ever. From your perspective as a small business owner, everything has changed – for the better and for all time.

In the end, there is truly no company that is too small for the benefits that only workspaces can bring to the table. It’s such a powerful advancement that levels the technological playing field that we’re quickly moving towards an era where this is the only option. Small business owners around the world agree that this is very much a good thing.

Key Takeaways

  • There is truly no company that is so small that it couldn’t benefit from workspaces.
  • Workspaces will quickly not just eclipse the traditional model of computing, but replace it entirely.
  • End users see almost no differences between a workspace and a traditional computing model.

Desktop as a Service

3 Things to Know Before Implementing a Workspace

In the world of business technology, productivity is king. Any step required to allow your employees to do more with less, to work smarter not harder, and to be productive anytime and anyplace is a step you need to take.

This is a large part of the reason why workspaces are so popular these days – they let you do all this and more on your own terms. Before you make the move towards implementing a workspace in your own environment, however, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Implementing a Workspace: They’re No Longer a Recommendation

The most important thing you should know before implementing a workspace is that they are not some passing fad. They are not today’s “next big thing” that will be gone tomorrow. They are here to stay and they are the future of computing. The essential thing to do right now is to deploy them to an environment that is extremely reliable after partnering with a large company that has both been around and that will stay around.

Remember that in this regard, bigger is better. You need to pick a service provider that you know isn’t going to fail – like AWS, Azure and more. When the stakes are this high, quality is more important than cost.

It’s Not an “All Or Nothing” Proposition

The second most important thing to understand about implementing a workspace is that you’re not talking about an “all or nothing” situation. You can deploy hybrid models if your current needs and future goals dictate that you should. It isn’t going to be a perfect fit for everyone, but not everyone is a perfect fit for the shape things have taken right now.

Consider the cloud deployment of a medical practice to be just one example. An EHR system will likely be fine for day-to-day operations, but radiological images will likely be difficult to get into the platform as-is. These images will likely need to load at the time of creation to be used immediately, but this isn’t necessarily feasible right now. A hybrid model would do well in this type of situation.

Forget “Cookie Cutter”

Another key factor to keep in mind when implementing a workspace is that you’re not purchasing a product – you’re purchasing a service. As a result, you’re not looking for a “one size fits all” solution because there isn’t one – or at least, there shouldn’t be. You need to partner with someone who can understand your business first, design solutions second.

The Future Starts Now

Finally, it’s essential for you to understand that when you’re talking about a shift as dramatic as workspaces, your workflow may change. There is going to be some level of architecture required. You may have to change your business processes or re-think what it means to be consistent. Time will prove, however, that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Workspaces are the future of computing. Make no mistake about it, they are here to stay.
  • Workspaces are not an “all or nothing” proposition. You can (and likely should) deploy hybrid models.

Desktop as a Service

Why Workspaces Are the Next Big Thing in Healthcare

Keeping records and sharing information is a key component of healthcare. In the past, these tasks were completed using paper and pen, as well as word-of-mouth. As time went on, newer technologies, such as electronic health record systems, became available to healthcare organizations. Soon, however, healthcare workspaces will be the new standard for organizations in this industry.

What are Workspaces?

Workspaces are electronic environments that contain the files and software healthcare personnel need to do their jobs. These environments are delivered to personnel via the internet and can be accessed from any location with internet access. Instead of having loads of expensive hardware clogging up a medical practice or hospital environment, everything is connected to a server off-site.

Benefits of Healthcare Workspaces

Workspaces offer several notable benefits to healthcare organizations. Some of these benefits include:

  • Instant access to up-to-date information – When the workspace is designed properly, healthcare personnel are able to instantly access up-to-date test results, as well as other important tools needed to diagnose and treat patients accurately.
  • The ability to work from home or abroad – Workspaces allow medical personnel to access the tools they need from any location, which means that they can continue to work or consult with other medical personnel even when they are not on site.
  • Scalability – Healthcare workspaces can be scaled to meet the needs of any healthcare organization, whether it is a small clinic or a hospital with multiple locations.
  • Security and convenience – Because workspaces are hosted and managed by a third-party provider, healthcare organizations don’t have to worry about updating software, maintaining hardware, providing security or dealing with any problems that may occur.

Obstacles to Adoption

Healthcare workspaces are certain to become more popular in the future, but there are still some obstacles to adoption. For example, while cloud deployment of the EHR system works well, bringing radiological images to the cloud is much more difficult to accomplish. When radiological images are added to the workspace, the cost becomes unreasonably high.

Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to roll every aspect of the workspace out at once. Instead, healthcare organizations can move systems to the workplace one at a time as this technology continues to evolve.

For example, a healthcare organization may choose to use workspaces for patient records, test results and communications without attempting to add radiological images to the mix. Once it becomes more cost-effective to move radiological images into the workspaces, the organization can add them to the environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Workspaces, which are digital environments delivered to users via the internet, will soon become the standard in the healthcare industry.
  • Healthcare workspaces offer many benefits to organizations in this industry, including scalability, convenience and security.
  • Not all systems and files are compatible with the workspace at this time. However, workspaces can be rolled out in phases and technology continues to evolve.

Desktop as a Service

Why the Workspace is the New Computer

The computer experience, particularly in terms of enterprise functionality, has been moving away from the natural limitations of hardware for some time. The journey we now find ourselves on started with the VDI, or virtual desktop infrastructure.

We quickly arrived at an era where any app could run on any machine, no exceptions, unlocking a bold new level of productivity that many have enjoyed. Workspaces are the natural evolution of this concept and are making waves across a variety of industries for a number of compelling reasons.

The User-Centric Role of Workspaces

In many ways, workspaces have quickly become the new “computer” because of the user-centric environment they create. Simply put, what you’re looking at is what matters. Where a particular app happens to be running at any given moment matters less than what you can do with the app.

If you can unlock 100% functionality from that app on your mobile phone, your laptop computer and your desktop machine in the office, suddenly where that app is actually hosted and running is irrelevant.

Workspaces are so popular precisely because they give the user what they need, where they need it, with no exceptions.

The Major Benefits of Workspaces

The core idea behind workspaces is to do exactly that – give a user a place to work, end of story. It doesn’t actually matter to the user whether or not they’re using a physical computer, or whether they have immediate access to an input device at all.

Does the user have what they need to accomplish exactly what they’ve set out to do? If the answer to that question is yes, nothing else matters. This, in large part, is why workspaces are so popular today. They provide an area in which to work, but aren’t necessarily tied to any one device.

Do you need to get something done but aren’t sitting in front of your desktop computer in the office? It doesn’t matter. It’s easy to imagine a future where the very definition of your job is no longer tied to any one particular location, particularly as more and more industries enjoy the benefits of working remotely.

The Future of Computing Begins Today

In the not-too-distant future, the majority of workspace cases will be off-premise. They will utilize a large, stable provider, giving the user access to everything they need to get their job done when they need it the most.

The technology that allows us to do that is already here and it’s becoming more affordable and more readily available with each passing day. With something as significant as the workspace at our side, it’s exciting to think about the shape that many industries will take just five short years from now.

Key Takeaways:

  • In many ways, the path that brought us to the workspace began with the VDI, or the virtual desktop infrastructure.
  • Workspaces are quickly eclipsing VDIs, however, both in terms of popularity and with regards to what you can actually accomplish with them.
  • Workspaces give a user a place to work, period. Whether or not they’re using a physical computer or even an input device at all no longer matters.

 Desktop as a Service

How Cloud Desktops Will Change Your Business

Technology is always evolving. As a business, you must learn to adapt to this evolution and incorporate new developments into your operations as needed. In many cases, adopting new technologies can even improve your productivity and profitability dramatically. Some of the most useful innovations in this category are cloud desktops.

What are Cloud Desktops?

Cloud desktops are a kind of VDI. VDI stands for “virtual desktop infrastructure.” It is a computing model that uses a centralized server to host a desktop operating system within a virtual machine. Instead of being contained within a single device, the user’s desktop is maintained within a datacenter server. This allows the user to access the desktop from any device, as long as internet access is available.

Benefits of Cloud Desktops

Cloud desktops offer several benefits for businesses. Some of these benefits include:

  • No need to worry about your device. When you use cloud desktops, your computer simply accesses your desktop and is not responsible for any of the actual computing. As a result, you won’t need to worry about replacing the device when technology changes or improves.
  • Added convenience. With cloud desktops, you and your employees can access information from anywhere – at a client, or on a job site.
  • Less maintenance. When your desktop infrastructure is housed in the cloud, your vendor will handle all hardware and software maintenance, allowing you to focus your time and attention on other tasks.
  • Lower IT costs. Cloud desktops can also lower your overall costs by providing you with lower security expenses, better stability and no need to upgrade your computers.
  • Customer support. In most cases, vendors provide support to their clients on an ongoing basis. If you have questions or concerns about your infrastructure, you can contact the vendor for assistance.

Getting the Most out of Cloud Desktops

Cloud desktops can be useful for almost any company. However, it is best for companies that have a significant number of workstations. They are also beneficial if your company is trying to reduce its environmental footprint and/or reduce IT expenses. In addition, companies with employees who travel can gain significant benefits from utilizing cloud desktops.

Cloud desktops rely on the internet to connect users to their desktop infrastructure. To get the most benefit from them, make sure that your employees always have access to a strong internet connection, whether they are at home, at work or traveling abroad.

Key Takeaways

  • Cloud desktops allow you to house your desktop infrastructure in a centralized data center that can be accessed from any device via the internet.
  • Utilizing cloud desktops offers many benefits for your business, including lower costs, convenience and peace of mind.
  • To get the most out of cloud desktops, a strong internet connection will be required.

Cloud Desktops | Remote Desktop Solutions

Why Your Office Doesn’t Have to Be in Your Building

In the past, nearly everyone in the business world traveled to a physical office space to work. However, thanks to advances in technology, brick-and-mortar offices are no longer a requirement for any company. As long as you have the right technology, you and your staff can work from almost anywhere.

Benefits of Remote Office Spaces

Working in a remote office offers a variety of advantages to businesses and staff members. Some of these advantages include:

  • Staff can access the office from anywhere – With the right service providers, a remote office environment can allow your staff members to access work from almost anywhere, including their homes or other locations around the world.
  • Faster problem resolution – When your office exists in a single location, you typically need to wait for an administrator or service provider to travel to that location when a problem arises. However, remote office issues can be repaired from anywhere, which means that you can get back to work faster after a problem occurs.
  • More options when it comes to hiring – When you rely on a physical office, you have few options when it comes to hiring personnel. In general, you will be able to hire only those individuals who can travel to your office on a regular basis. A remote office, on the other hand, allows you to hire people from around the country or even around the world.
  • Fewer overhead expenses – Remote desktop connections reduce your business’s overhead expenses. With this type of setup, you don’t need to purchase as much hardware, nor will you need to purchase multiple copies of the same software programs.
  • More time and energy to focus on customer service – Having a remote desktop allows you to conserve resources in many different ways. For example, if you choose the right remote desktop provider, you won’t need to worry about making repairs or resolving issues on your own. Likewise, your staff members don’t have to spend time driving to the office every day, and you won’t have to exhaust as many resources caring for a physical office space. This provides you with more time to focus on customer service and increase productivity.

Creating a Remote Office

In order to create a remote office, you will need a few different tools. Some of the tools you may need include:

  • Virtual desktop infrastructureVirtual desktop infrastructure allows your staff members to access their work desktops from any location, whether it be inside the office, at home or on a trip.
  • Cloud technology – Cloud technology allows you and your staff to share files, enhance collaboration and improve productivity.
  • Voice over IP – This type of software simplifies communication between individuals in different locations.
  • Meeting platform – A meeting platform can be used to unite people from all over the country or the world for collaborative discussions.

Get Started

Setting up a remote office can dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your staff. If you are interested in learning more about creating this type of system, please contact us for assistance.

Key Takeaways:

  • A remote office system can improve your productivity.
  • To set up a remote office system, you may need to invest in several different tools.
  • For the best results, consult a professional.

Desktop as a Service

Lessons Learned From the Move to an All Cloud-Based Environment

At ITG, we recently made the decision to embrace a pretty significant shift in the way we did business. In an effort to always improve the level of services that we’re able to offer clients, we decided to move into an all cloud-based environment. We’re happy to say that our project is now complete and that we’ve learned some pretty important lessons along the way that are more than worth sharing.

How We Moved to a Cloud-Based Environment

As with most businesses of our type, ITG formerly had an incredible amount of hardware to deal with on a daily basis. There were literally rooms filled with just about every piece of equipment you can imagine, from multiple VMware hosts to virtualized hosts to backup devices, redundant switches and more. We had too much hardware and technology, but it was all in the name of the most important thing of all: providing services to our customers that they knew they could depend on.

All of our hardware had to be redundant and resilient at the same time. IT needed to be up 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without fail. However, we still knew that we could never be 100% resilient specifically because of all of our hardware. What if we got hit with a natural disaster like a flood or hurricane? What if we had a physical breach like a robbery or arson? The answer in all of those situations is the same:

ITG would have been in serious trouble.

What We Learned From the Cloud-Based Environment

By taking all of that hardware out of the equation entirely and hosting our applications in the cloud, we gained a number of valuable results almost immediately. We were able to provide equal access to everything via redundant Internet connections, offering true resiliency to our clients for the first time.

We were able to empower people to work from anywhere provided that an Internet connection was present. Because we weren’t constantly in a race to replace, maintain and reconfigure hardware on a continuing basis, we were able to offer not just better performance – we could offer fewer headaches at the same time.

Looking to the Future

Perhaps the number one lesson we learned by moving to an all cloud-based environment isn’t just the fact that this is the way of the future. Instead, we learned why it’s the way of the future. Moving to a cloud-based environment represents a pretty significant disruption when compared to the way things used to be done, but it’s the best type of disruption of all – one that makes our lives better. Easier. Faster. More efficient.

At ITG, we see ourselves as preparing for the future by embracing the cloud-based environment with open arms. This is us “drinking the Kool-Aid,” so to speak. Now, we’re going to put our money where our mouth is and offer it to clients everywhere so that they can enjoy these benefits, too.

Key Takeaways:

  • Making the decision to move to an all cloud-based environment brought with it benefits that went far beyond what we were expecting
  • Not only were we able to streamline our existing operations, but we were also able to provide a much more valuable and efficient service to clients – everyone wins

Cloud-Based Environment | Desktop as a Service

Cloud Computing for Service-Based Businesses

If you’re like most, chances are when you think of cloud computing, you envision a fluffy amorphous heaven full of pixels and numbers. But that’s …not quite right. Rather, the cloud simply means a network of servers dedicated to specific roles, including running applications or providing business services that are not at your location.

The confusion surrounding this simple concept, unfortunately, has had the effect of making small business owners mistrust the whole idea. The result is that many businesses rely on in-house services that are more cumbersome, less efficient and less environmentally friendly, all while limiting mobility and customer service.

Bottom line: No matter who you are or what type of business you run, it’s time to move to the cloud.

Put Your Services in the Cloud

If you’re smart, your goal should be to one day host the entirety of your business’s functions in the cloud. That means that all you need on site is the hardware that actually connects to the cloud infrastructure and runs your various software applications, making you completely mobile, able to access your core business functions and services – in other words, your entire business – from anywhere with an internet connection and a device.

With the cloud, you can run ecommerce software, accounting software, enterprise resource management (ERP) software, accounts payable, marketing and advertising, and more.

Consider customer relationship management (CRM) systems, for instance. Many companies use this type of software to track relationships with customers throughout the customer lifecycle, analyze their interactions with the company and its products, improve relations, encourage customer retention and develop strategies to encourage overall profitability. Imagine being able to access such resources from anywhere in the field, and how much more efficient and lucrative that could make your work in the long run (and the short).

Benefits of Cloud Computing

The benefits of cloud computing are nearly endless:

  • Reliable Updates: The user never owns the software, but rather uses software hosted on a server somewhere. This means more frequent updates, making software more reliable and better able to serve customers. It means the flexibility to work from anywhere and update on the fly. It means low maintenance software updates occurring far away and in the background.
  • Collaboration: Moreover, cloud computing fosters collaboration, enabling people from widely dispersed areas to log into and use the same software at the same time rather than having to travel. Real-time data access and shared storage further improve teamwork.
  • Excellent Security: Protection is another benefit of cloud computing. The heavy security cloud computing service providers use gets passed onto customers, and is higher than would be for a small or medium-sized business. While instinctively you might think that having your software and proprietary information hosted elsewhere would be more dangerous, it actually means you’ll get better security than you otherwise would.
  • More Time and Attention for Clients: The resources you save not having to constantly update software, travel for meetings and be physically present at the office can go directly to attracting and servicing clients.

If you’re ready to make the jump to cloud computing, feel free to get in touch. We are a leading provider of technology solutions offering a huge range of services, and would love to help you next.

Key Cloud Computing Takeaways

  • Cloud computing is flexible, secure and efficient
  • It enables you to access your entire business from anywhere with an internet connection and a device
  • The time and resources saved can go directly to helping clients, improving overall profitability

Cloud Computing | Infrastructure as a Service

Everything You Need to Know About Hosted Applications

For the vast majority of people, when they need to do work, what they really need to do are complete tasks. In today’s modern environment, apps are used to perform those tasks in the most efficient way possible. Think of it a bit like using a desktop computer versus using something like an iPad. A desktop computer may allow you to do a million things, but it doesn’t do any one of them particularly effectively. An iPad, however, is filled with apps that all do one thing very specifically and very well. Hosted applications are the same basic concept.

Hosted Applications vs. The Old Way

In an era that is now more or less officially over, a user would get to work and sit down in front of a desktop computer. They would boot up an operating system with a full menu, a file explorer and approximately 1,000 apps that they’ll never use. Sure, there may be four or five apps that they use all the time, but everything else isn’t really necessary.

Under the new model, however, the user doesn’t need a full desktop. They use something like an iOS device, be it an iPhone or an iPad, that is app-based. They’re essentially getting a stripped down desktop designed to optimize their workflow. The underlying file system, the structure, and more are all removed to make room for the apps that people actually use. It’s unnecessary to use a full app that performs dozens of functions “okay” when you can use one app that does one thing with unbeatable efficiency.

Hosted Applications

Hosted applications are the same basic idea, only they aren’t stored locally at all – they’re hosted in the cloud. A user goes to a website via a service like Office 365 or Google Apps, selects the icon for the function they want to perform and then opens it all from the Web. Nothing is installed locally – the user is just seeing a virtualization of it.

In an enterprise environment, these apps are hosted on servers – either local or cloud-based depending on the situation. This gives users a consistent interface to run the apps they need regardless of the hardware they happen to be using at the moment. You get the same experience with a hosted app that you would from something running locally, and you also the freedom to access it via the internet from a server farm wherever and whenever you want.

This is a huge deal when deploying software to massive infrastructures in particular. Formerly, if you needed 1,000 copies of a program for your employees, you would have to install it on 1,000 different devices. Now, you’re dealing with essentially the opposite situation: you install it once, set up the infrastructure and you’re done. Everything else “just works” – and what a great world to live in this is!

Key Takeaways:

  • Hosted apps are stored either in the cloud or on local servers and are accessed via the internet.
  • Hosted apps look like they are running locally, but they’re not – they’re running on a server farm somewhere.

Desktop as a Service