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Smooth Transitions – Moving the Right Employees from On-Premises to Cloud Desktops

Smooth Transitions – Moving the Right Employees from On-Premises to Cloud Desktops

As the Senior Delivery Manager for Flutter UK&I, I’m tasked with overseeing the digital experience for roughly 7,000 employees across Europe.

Ultimately, my team and I are responsible for ensuring things like server hosting, Office 365, SSO, Azure and other digital work components function in a frictionless manner for our employees—both in office and remotely.

That’s the underlying philosophy, at least.

In reality, of course, “friction” happens, especially when dealing with large transformation projects. And it comes time to transition users between two (or more) virtual environments, IT often gets stuck trying to troubleshoot fixes with shoddy performance data. I know because I’ve been there.

{Check out Teo’s appearance at Experience Everywhere – Reimagining the Office: Data, AI and Employees in the Agile Workplace}

Here are some of my lessons learned for how you can keep your house in order as you transition and maintain service for users in a new virtual environment:

Start with Single-pane Experience Dashboards & Indexes

Previously, Flutter had several hundred employees using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) for Citrix XenDesktop.

The impetus for switching some of those users to Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) came from the discovery that several users experienced latency issues and lags when accessing in-house apps in their virtual environment. This cause of this lag was the location of the virtual desktops in relation to the data the applications needed – this issue did not affect all VDI users.  As a premier sporting event company, we can’t afford to have even the slightest digital delays for our user base, so my team had to intervene with a smart solution, and fast.

We ended up creating VDIs that were hosted in one of our European data centers and gave access to certain staff that needed it. But eventually we realized we needed to adapt and host our solution in the cloud to remain competitive and agile. A cloud hosted service could’ve been substantially more expensive overall, so to strengthen our pitch to management, we used DEX index calculations to show just how inferior our old VDI environment was for users compared to the new (proof-of-concept) cloud solution.

Convincing management was easy because they could see a clear snapshot across our employees’ user experience and productivity.

Provision resources based on user personas & needs, not one-size-fits-all solutions

During the early days of the pandemic, we had to issue a lot of laptops to our customer service agents that had shifted to work from home—and we had to do so quickly and cheaply.

We had plenty of high-end, heavy laptops in stock that were primarily used by our developers. But to shift those devices to our remote customer service agents would’ve been a waste of money and painfully time consuming because we’d have to build each laptop and make sure it was equipped with the right tools and company resources.

We took an alternative approach, which was to provision access for those customer agents through our virtual environment and with cheaper hardware. Our customer service agents didn’t need all the bells and whistles that our engineers need—many times, IT leaders allocate the same digital persona across very different employee profiles. Now, we can scale quickly and get new hires immediate access to the apps they truly need without breaking the bank.

Conclusion

Being able to bypass the hurdles that come with Citrix, WVD, or any virtual setup comes down to your team’s philosophy about user experience.

As frustrating as it might seem at first, don’t stop investigating a fix until you can confidently answer two questions:

  • ‘How is each employee truly experiencing this problem (or looming issue)?’; and
  • ‘Is my response going to serve the needs of each employee and their work demands?’

An employee-first mindset is more than just a catchphrase, it should be part of your team’s identity and reputation—something we at Flutter Entertainment are proud to claim.

To learn more about Flutter’s savvy IT approach, tune into Teo’s panel appearance at Experience Everywhere.