For all its benefits, Virtualization Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) continues to be a massive headache for many enterprise technology teams. From improper personas and sizing, long logon times, hangs, lost sessions, freezes and crashes—often one small mistake in a virtualized environment can set your entire enterprise ablaze.
Inspired by real stories from one Nexthinker’s time spent with 3 different customers, learn from these tales of woe and triumph and learn how Nexthink can help you tackle your next VDI project!
Reader’s note: names and locations are anonymous but the business challenges and solutions therein are 100% real. For more information about these customer stories contact a Nexthinker today!
The legal sector is probably the last place you’d expect to find advanced workplace technologies or large-scale digital transformation projects at play.
But Ajad World wasn’t your typical law firm—they had offices in nearly every major market in the world and a complex digital infrastructure that consisted of 60,000 endpoints and multiple VDI environments. Their support costs and digital workplace setup rivaled some of the biggest enterprise technology companies in Silicon Valley.
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And the man at the top of Ajad World’s IT Services Department was Marco Dest, the CIO and, as he put it, CWO (Chief Worry Officer). Dest led a truly global team with L1 support members in the Philippines, and L2 and L3 teams spread out across eastern Europe and in Silicon Valley.
Though Dest had personally led successful Virtualization projects in the past for Ajad, he now needed serious help maintaining and responding fast enough to issues in their current setup.
With thousands of remote, mobile, and deskbound users, Dest needed Nexthink to help him put order to their VDI chaos.
New Staff, More Problems to Solve
It became apparent from our initial meetings that Dest’s self-proclaimed CWO title wasn’t an exaggeration.
Dest remarked, “It’s the merger. It’s been keeping me up at night. I don’t have a clue how our Citrix, VMware, and Remote Desktop environments are really performing… how am I going to answer those types of questions come January?!”
Aside from the technical demands at Ajad, the 74-year-old law firm was also going through a merger with another law firm. Ajad was to consolidate most of their key legal departments and undergo a major technology transfer—first with the billing and human resources departments, then the rest of the departments to follow. For now, IT Services would remain Dest’s show but with the introduction of 257 new staff, he’d soon have more problems and even less time to solve them.
There were even rumblings among Ajad’s employees that IT favored certain departments over others, which of course wasn’t true, but it was something Dest couldn’t explicitly disprove either
A major problem for Dest was understanding what the firm’s various departments really needed from a technology standpoint. Yes, he had ITSM tools specifically for VMware or Citrix but it could take his team weeks to uncover the root causes behind issues like blue screens, hangs, network outages or crashes.
In addition, Dest’s team struggled to allocate the correct amount of resources for each department at Ajad World. The firm consisted of attorneys, accountants, human resources, paralegals, billing professionals, and marketing teams—all of which had distinct computing requirements and support requests. There were even rumblings among Ajad’s employees that IT favored certain departments over others, which of course wasn’t true, but it was something Dest couldn’t explicitly disprove either.
Some employees needed more digital processing power than they were getting, others less. But without clear insight into the exact Digital Employee Experience (DEX) for all 60,000 employees at Ajad, Dest couldn’t properly diagnose and remediate issues, and he certainly couldn’t defend his team from the rumors that they were playing favorites in the firm.
Taking back the wheel
After sorting out all of Dest’s problems, we started to pick them off one by one. We categorized these issues into the following:
Incident management at scale (device/application/user)
With the merger coming up, Dest’s team needed a quick, comprehensive snapshot of what was going on across his entire digital landscape. With Nexthink’s unique employee-centric platform, we were able to tell him how his enterprise technology was being consumed in real-time.
Using Nexthink’s built-in dashboards, Dest’s team quickly identified unique device, application and user problems that would have taken them weeks to determine in the past:
Devices – Dest now could compare low vs high successful network connections, VDI desktop availability (like bluescreens and hard resets), and drill down into the exact device versions that were causing most of Ajad’s computing issues.
Applications – at the application level, Dest’s team quickly discovered that a particular business communications app contributed to spikes in average network response time even though they were largely under-reported from employees. They also were able to compare key CPU and Memory data statistics in the Nexthink platform, and they quickly isolated a versioning problem that was leading to system crashes across human resources.
Users – similarly, Nexthink’s real-time snapshots into Ajad’s CPU, memory, network response times, successful network connections, logon speed, gave Dest some peace of mind. His team could finally answer questions like how many users caused crashes and who were they?
Comprehensive and detailed vendor comparison
Nexthink also gave Dest’s team the ability to quickly interpret and drill into key vendor-specific performance metrics. In a single dashboard, Dest could compare like-for-like data across Citrix, VMware, and Remote Desktop. Nexthink equipped his team with clear insights into the least used applications in each VDI environment, the average usage intensity, the versions in play, the number of devices, and their OS distribution (i.e. Windows 10 Enterprise vs. Windows 7 Enterprise).
From the same Nexthink overview dashboard, Dest could right-click his way into different perspectives that he never had access to before. He could resolve performance issues with one-click remediations and automations (via Nexthink Engage), compare image performance data, and investigate security issues from Nexthink’s AI-backed alert system.
End user sentiment analysis
Dest and his team used Nexthink Engage to collect key end-user data to address the negative comments and rumors that IT supports certain employees and departments over others. Using contextualized survey questions in the Engage module, Dest was able to leverage Nexthink’s Digital Employee Experience Score (The DEX Score) to understand exactly how users felt about their devices, web browsing, digital security, business applications, and their ability to be productive and collaborate with colleagues.
Combining user sentiment data with key IT metrics finally gave Dest the right information to truly measure Ajad’s DEX. In the past, Dest and his team were practically flying blind. Now, he could quickly see how many employees were unhappy based on their DEX Scores, drill-down into the reasons why, and then quickly remediate those issues via Nexthink playbooks and AI-backed automations.
After just two months of running Nexthink Engage, Dest was able to improve the Ajad employee DEX Score by 0.8 points (from 6.2 to 7.0)!
Maintaining the post VDI migration
Luckily, Nexthink’s out of the box integrations and features made it easy for Dest’s team to not only better manage their unique Citrix, VMware, and Remote Desktop environments, but it also helped them gain greater visibility and cohesion across Ajad’s various L1, L2 and L3 help desks.
The DEX Score served as the proverbial light posts for the Ajad team, helping Dest to benchmark their progress and chart a course towards continuous improvement based on trustworthy, real-time data.
Ajad World recently completed their merger and they’ve acquired some 400 additional employees. Dest remains the company’s CIO and continues to use Nexthink to help manage his VDI landscape. He is also in talks with us now to help migrate to a new SBC environment for one of the firm’s departments.
Dest joked that thanks to Nexthink he’s no longer approaching his project as the “CWO”. Instead he likes to think of himself as the CNPO (Chief No Problem Officer).
These customer stories only represent a few of the many VDI projects we currently service. Though every enterprise technology team is unique they ultimately want greater control, insight, and agility with their digital transformation projects—and that’s exactly what they get with Nexthink.
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