Employees no longer need to be at their desktop computer in order to access line-of-business (LOB) applications. In fact, employees who increasingly work from remote locations need to be able to use LOB application from anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
Enabling employees to use LOB application from any device opens many opportunities to improve productivity. One such opportunity is the ability to implement bring-your-own-device (BYOD) or choose-your-own-device (CYOD) policies. However, depending on how they are implemented, these policies can create issues for IT departments.
Challenges and Opportunities of BYOD/CYOD
From an organization’s perspective, BYOD/CYOD policies are an excellent opportunity to foster a productive, mobile workforce that has access to shared work-related resources while at home or on the road. These sorts of mobile-enabled policies allow employees to continue contributing to projects and communicating with the team even while they’re not physically in the office.
However, there are challenges that arise for IT departments when enacting BYOD/CYOD policies. One of the main challenges is converting desktop software to support mobile platforms.
Challenges Converting Custom-Made Software to Support Mobile Platforms
When converting desktop LOB software to perform properly on the mobile platforms BYOD/CYOD policies require, there are three main paths companies can choose from:
- Convert the LOB Windows® application into a mobile app – Requires refactoring the code as a native mobile app
- Convert the LOB Windows application into a web app – Requires refactoring the code as a web app
- Deliver virtual LOB application – Requires virtualization solution to provide remote access to virtualized software from shared central host
The first two methods both require significant budgetary and time investments. As a result, they’re not always feasible for organizations with certain size, resource, and time constraints. The last method is the most straightforward: use a virtualization application delivery solution to make Windows desktop software instantly available across a wide range of mobile platforms via the cloud or a wide area network (WAN).
Advantages of Application Virtualization for BYOD/CYOD
With high-profile virtual application delivery solutions such as Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS), employees enjoy the full-featured desktop application they know how to use, along with a native-like mobile experience—no matter what device or platform they’re working with. Furthermore, the application is easy for the IT team to administer through a centralized interface and doesn’t require writing any new lines of code.
- Increased flexibility and mobility options for employees
- Stronger layers of security
- Smoother testing and deployment
- Lower maintenance costs
Case Studies: Virtual Applications Applied to Improve Employee Productivity
As we’ve seen, using a virtual application delivery solution allows companies to leverage LOB applications without retooling them at all. By sharing applications from a central server, companies can make workers both in the IT department and throughout the organization more efficient.
The productivity gains made by three companies using the Parallels RAS virtual application delivery solution are examined in the following section.
Lush Handmade Cosmetics
Lush Handmade Cosmetics is a leading cosmetic retailer in the UK that produces hair and skin products using fresh and natural ingredients. The company counts 210 stores in North America, and all ingredients are supplied by two kitchen factory setups in Canada. More than 250 users concurrently access corporate resources.
The company chose Parallels RAS to create a stable remote access infrastructure by for its employees who needed to use software such as Microsoft® Office and customized ERP applications. By using Parallels RAS, the company was able to create a stable network infrastructure that was easy to deploy and manage.
Parallels RAS offered Lush Handmade Cosmetics a comprehensive package including all necessary virtualization features in the standard license. Moreover, key components such as load balancing and universal printing features were auto-configured in the out-of-the-box installation.
As a result, Lush Handmade Cosmetics was able to consolidate its entire IT operation across all shops. Parallels RAS allowed Lush to publish applications and desktops to every user from a centralized location. Moreover, the virtualization network delivers excellent user experiences in an environment that is device-, OS-, and infrastructure-independent. This allowed their employees to increase productivity through easy access to applications on any device, anywhere.
Bay Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery
Bay Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery is a leading cosmetic clinic in the state of Florida. With the latest technology techniques and highly trained medical staff, it offers first-rate treatment of skin, hair, and nail disorders. The company has over 150 IT users, seven locations, and 170 endpoints, with eight servers located in a datacenter managed by a local IT firm.
Bay Dermatology needed a remote application server to provide employees virtual access to LOB application through various endpoints at all locations. At first, virtual applications were delivered to employees through Citrix® software. However, the complexity of the Citrix solution meant Bay Dermatology could not enjoy the full productivity benefits of a virtual environment. For instance, many files and applications were saved locally on employee devices. Employees who connected to Citrix’s application delivery solution as client users regarded the remote virtual applications as an unwanted task to complete rather than an effective resource for their job.
Bay Dermatology eventually decided to retire its physical IT infrastructure by adopting an outsourced infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), cloud-based model provided by Data-Tech. After the change, Parallels RAS was leveraged to provide Bay Dermatology employees with lightning-fast connections and fully stable networks with zero points of failure when accessing virtual applications.
With Parallels RAS, Bay Dermatology’s doctors no longer suffered from poor experiences when delivering virtual applications. The comprehensive application delivery solution provided the performance, reliability, dynamic scalability, and management tools to deliver LOB applications and allow users and doctors to access records and perform their work more efficiently.
For the past 90 years, Godiva® has been an impressive culinary leader in the chocolate sector. Based in key markets around the world, the chefs at Godiva create award-winning chocolate creations that push the boundaries of their art. Godiva now has over 600 boutiques and a presence in more than 100 countries around the world—from Europe to Asia, from North America to the Middle East.
Godiva has stores in Belgium, Paris, UK, Germany, Italy, US, Japan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore and offices located in over 80 countries. Production servers are located in Belgium and the US. There are a total of 250 virtual desktops and 50 concurrent users at any point in time. The company was publishing a personalized LOB application to in-house employees.
By using Parallels RAS, Godiva was able to consolidate IT operations. The ability to upgrade all applications at once on the server greatly increased productivity. Instead of having to upgrade each desktop one at a time, Parallels RAS allowed the company to update a single application on the server, where it became readily available to all end users. This saved the company a great deal of time—both for IT staff and regular employees.
Furthermore, Parallels RAS was easy to install and manage; the tool comes with all virtualization features in a single package. Godiva has been using Parallels RAS for eight years, and the award-winning virtualization solution plays a key role in their expansion plans.
Businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations need to provide LOB applications across a variety of devices because more and more employees require access to these applications from their mobile devices in order to reach top productivity. Corporate Windows-based applications need to be available on mobile platforms as well as be optimized for mobile use. The rise of virtual offices means businesses need to realign strategies to empower the mobile workforce to use LOB application even when away from a desktop computer.
Parallels RAS provides an easy and comprehensive solution to effectively deliver and manage corporate applications. It allows organizations to effectively deliver Windows-based applications to any device. With the right technology in place, businesses can create new opportunities through BYOD/CYOD programs in order to make the most of the mobile workforce revolution.