By Brad Peterson, Workspot
To share projects and data effectively, manufacturing professionals need remote collaboration solutions that will support high-computing applications. McKinsey & Company predicts that digital collaboration could unlock more than $100 billion in value— that’s partially because of the productivity boosts of up to 20-30% in collaboration-intensive work processes. Those include maintenance, root cause investigation, and supplier management.
Given all of this, cloud technology has never been more relevant to the design, engineering, and manufacturing industry. Whether you’re still managing physical PCs or navigating on-premises VDI systems - cloud desktops and workstations can open the door to new use cases and improved productivity. When delivered via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud desktops and GPU workstations offer operational simplicity, great end user performance, and unprecedented agility.
7 Reasons To Consider SaaS And Cloud Desktops
Organizations gain many advantages by adopting a SaaS model. These include freedom from software and infrastructure maintenance, lower cost, and fast time to value. SaaS enables companies to scale easily – which certainly came in handy in the past year as organizations had to rapidly adapt to supporting their employees and contractors to work from home. Although there are many advantages to using a SaaS solution for cloud desktops, here are the top seven for manufacturing organizations to consider.
1. Low latency and stellar performance: One reason that users experience poor remote desktop performance is that the system is being run from a data center in a single location, with end users located thousands of miles away, resulting in unreasonably high latency resulting in a disappointing user experience. In other cases, poor performance is caused by the challenges of over-provisioning too many users on a shared hardware infrastructure.
With a SaaS platform that can deliver fully configured cloud desktops from any region of public clouds like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, IT teams can choose the closest region to each user. This reduces latency and ensures unparalleled performance. Some companies have further supercharged their cloud desktops by placing shared data—like CAD/CAM design files—in the cloud, as well.
2. Greater agility: Manufacturing and product design organizations often have employees and contractors in many different regions. With physical PCs, it can take IT weeks to source, provision, and distribute these desktops – which means longer delays before users achieve full productivity. Expensive delays – both for equipment and end user downtime—accrue during hardware refresh cycles, or when equipment fails. If you’re considering do-it-yourself (DIY) virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), it could take months and require substantial investment in both hardware and IT specialists before you have a system to support your first end user. And when business requirements change, it’s difficult and time-consuming to scale up to meet those needs on demand.
The standard ways that organizations run end user computing lessens agility during a time when firms need to be nimbler than ever. For instance, highly valuable product design engineers are expensive, and when they sit idle waiting for IT to distribute or fix desktops, the cost to the business adds up quickly – both in productivity and employee frustration.
3. Easy to deploy: In the physical device world, IT must provision workstations for each new user or contractor with a corporate image, applications, and security components, and then get these devices to the end user, wherever they are. Patching and maintaining these applications is also complex and time-consuming, and a single unpatched machine can open the firm to serious security vulnerabilities.
The good news is that some Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) providers will take over your desktop service level agreement, managing the underlying cloud infrastructure and ensuring your users can always access their virtual workstation. This way, IT admins can easily add desktops or workstations in the optimal configuration for each user, in minutes. The provider’s customer success team will work with you to optimize the system for your image, security stack, and authentication tools and ensure rapid time to value. Even if your team is new to DaaS, they don’t have to become experts to use the solution.
4. Better compliance and security: It can be difficult for distributed organizations to ensure secure access to applications and resources for remote workers, contractors, or temporary employees. One unpatched PC can open your organization to security breaches. DaaS centralizes desktops and workstations in the cloud, so they are easily managed and patched, while a secure software client turns each physical endpoint into a zero-trust, stateless device. Corporate data no longer resides on employee laptops or workstations but remains safe in the cloud.
5. Reduced downtime: Though it’s atypical for an entire cloud region to go down, it has happened – and solutions providers and SaaS platforms connected to the cloud must prepare for it. If you have a cloud desktop solution that resides in only one cloud region, and that region goes down, your business stops. However, if you have a desktop solution that can quickly fail over to an alternate cloud region, you can mitigate business interruption. You’ll be able to measure your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) in minutes rather than days.
6. Lower desktop total cost of ownership (TCO): Most design and manufacturing firms have a combination of traditional VDI, laptops for mobile knowledge workers, desktops, workstations for power users, and so on. To manage this diverse infrastructure requires sophisticated, expensive skillsets and a dedicated IT organization. With a cloud-native DaaS solution, manufacturing firms can gain a simple console that allows them to provision the right compute resources for each user, globally, in minutes. This can substantially reduce the administrative and operational costs associated with desktop provisioning.
7. Improved user experience: Being able to work from anywhere, anytime also allows for an improved work/life balance. Employees are ultimately more satisfied because they can be productive with far more flexibility in terms of timing, location, and even devices. And there’s also no more risk of employees losing their work if their local device crashes because the cloud resources are always running and waiting for you when you return.
Migrating to the cloud can lessen energy costs and capital expense, as well as the operational expenses associated with the people required to maintain on-premises datacenters. Further, because all compute is handled in the cloud, IT can provision lower-cost endpoints, such as a Chromebook, Microsoft Surface Go, or low-cost thin clients, without impacting user productivity.
Manufacturing organizations, with their compute-intensive applications, have the tough task of equipping remote workers with productivity and collaboration tools. Last year’s massive cloud migration revealed that legacy VDI solutions can’t keep up. But because cloud-native DaaS is now available, manufacturers can offer their users rapid deployment at a lower cost, while delivering measured improvements in productivity and security.
About The Author
Brad Peterson is vice president of marketing at Workspot.