Updated for February 2017 (Originally posted July 2014): If your company likes the idea of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) — i.e., desktops that live in the cloud — but doesn’t like what it costs to build, then look at pay-as-you-go Desktop as a Service (DaaS). With DaaS you get the same benefits as VDI on private servers without the hassle of owning and maintaining all the infrastructure yourself.
Companies from startups to huge accounting firms choose the investment-free VDI. Here are five examples:
1. Startups and growth businesses
New and growing businesses need to use their cash for developing products and expanding their companies, not for buying IT infrastructure. With DaaS, they can use a cloud-based solution for the back office in the same way they use other cloud platforms for specific key operations — for example, Salesforce.com (for CRM), Office 365 (for Microsoft Office apps) and Workday (for billing and HR). It’s just easier. Easier is best when you’re juggling so many things at one time, and if the company takes off, you can choose to bring the technology in-house later.
2. Financial firms, including private equity firms and money managers
Companies that use capital to buy other companies or manage finances don’t want to invest in infrastructure. They want their IT environments to be standardized and their IT strategy to support fast growth, fast transitions, and unpredictable cycles. Owning and maintaining IT equipment slow them down while DaaS is built for speed. New hires and entire offices can come on board more quickly with DaaS than with company-owned hardware because the IT department doesn’t have to procure and configure new equipment, which usually takes a week or longer. With DaaS, new employees use their own devices and the credentials they’re given to access the company’s custom software, trading apps and activity feeds.
3. Property management companies
With properties to manage all over a city, state or country, and with contracts that regularly come and go, management companies have a strong need to stay nimble when it comes to computing. Being able to add new properties and remove old ones can be complicated if the company owns infrastructure located on the property, but with DaaS it’s no big deal. DaaS also makes it easy to grant temporary credentials to contractors and seasonal workers.
4. Seasonal businesses and project-based businesses
Companies that see a lot of fluctuation in their staffing prefer the on-demand DaaS model because it matches their business model — it’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t. There’s no large inventory of hardware to manage, refresh and store when you’re not using it, and you can add and/or remove virtual desktops without getting the IT department involved. Businesses that bring a lot of people on for a season or for campaigns, projects, or testing and development can get their teams up and running in a snap. They just pay for the additional DaaS subscriptions they need while they need them.
5. Large law firms and accounting firms
Large firms typically use business-centric apps that work exactly the way they want them to but are not cloud-ready. These firms also tend to have a fair amount of turnover because of their size. So it makes sense for them to run their apps on secure servers that are scrupulously managed and use investment-free VDI for their desktop needs. DaaS also extends the life of company-owned computers because it essentially turns computers into “dumb terminals”, or monitors with connected keyboards/mice. Fewer moving parts means the devices last longer which saves money over the long term. Even old but functioning Windows XP (gasp!) machines can be used as dumb terminals because the operating system is part of the DaaS.
More Leapfrog clients are choosing DaaS these days because of its ease and benefits. Leapfrog provides DaaS to some clients on our own cloud environment that’s centralized and secure, and we also build client-owned VDIs — we work with all of our customers to determine where the best fit would be. DaaS isn’t right for every company but if your company looks like any of the ones described above or are dealing with these business problems, feel free to contact us with your questions. We’re glad to help you decide if DaaS might be the right fit for you.