The Complete Remote Workforce: Azure Windows Virtual Desktop | Withum
Digital and Technology Transformation
Contributing to this story
Moving to the Cloud and Windows Virtual Desktop
Remote work and virtualization of computers are not new concepts; however, staying nimble, competitive and budget-conscious is becoming more ingrained into IT planning. In this post, we’ll take a look at Withum’s move to Azure Windows Virtual Desktop. This is a relatively new service provided by Microsoft that simplifies the virtualization of desktops and applications. I like to think of it this way — end-users get the same exact experience as dedicated hardware but gain the confidence that they’re never without the technology they need to work. The desktop is managed centrally, which reduces the burden on internal IT.
As a leading Advisory, Tax, and Audit firm, our motivations are very similar to those of our clients in other professional services industries:
- Industry-specific applications hosted on older operating systems.
- Client-specific applications and confidentiality requirements.
- Ever growing remote workforce, including in different countries.
- Drive to efficiently use human and technology resources to support the organization.
Withum provides Individual Desktops to its remote workers. This allows flexibility in the hardware people are using at home. It reduces the dependence on local internet connections. Once you’re on the computer, you’re in Withum’s network, and if the computer is running slow, an IT technician can troubleshoot and add more power to the system remotely! Also, on the back end, these desktops can be configured once with multiple users logging into them at the same time, further reducing overhead.
Simple Deployment and Support of Industry Specific Software
Industry-Specific Software, in this context, is any software designed to meet the needs of an industry:
- Withum: Tax, Audit and Analysis solutions
- Legal firms: document management systems
- Engineering: firms have drawing and project systems
- A solution sitting on a dedicated computer that cannot be upgraded to the latest operating system
With so many clients, Withum has hundreds of dedicated versions of QuickBooks to support individual client configurations and confidentiality. In the ‘real’ world, this means updating each application one at a time. Application virtualization allows for a one-time update. Azure Windows Virtual Desktop’s interface then allows the application to be easily added to a dashboard and managed by IT.
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Similarly, if there is a new application, it can be installed once and then access can be given to team members who need it, without touching a computer. There is also the additional flexibility to support our team members across different specialties and in different offices with the applications they need. Finally, when it’s tax season and the applications are being more heavily used, the IT team can add more power to the applications, creating a better experience.
Support Your Remote Workforce
Withum’s efforts have now been replicated at several of our clients as demands for continued productivity from home increase. While moving to Azure Windows Virtual Desktop takes planning and investment, the resulting infrastructure has shown to provide a large return on investment. Both from the end-user’s requirements and IT maintenance. Even better, Microsoft has included this solution within your Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses coupled with some Azure cost-efficient infrastructure, which significantly increases the value.
Take a look at your invaluable systems, what would happen if you could support it more easily and access it from everywhere?
Originally published at https://www.withum.com on May 19, 2020.