Selling Cloud Desktops 101

Mike Dillon**Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from the Digital Issue, “ Virtualizing Desktops in the Cloud,” which is available for download from Channel Partners Cloud Insights.**

By Mike Dillon

Who wouldn’t like some relief from the onerous burdens of manually managing employees’ desktop devices, which now include not just office PCs but also laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones? That’s what cloud desktops, also known as hosted virtual desktops (HVD)or desktops-as-a-service (DaaS), offers.

The idea is to maintain a “desktop image” of each employee’s apps and data as well as the personalized look and feel of their desktop environment in a central data repository, accessible at will by the employee. While companies can deploy virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) themselves, many are considering outsourcing it to a cloud-based service provider for simplicity and subscription-based pricing.

For channel partners, there is an opportunity to sell cloud desktops by first understanding the benefits and matching them to customers’ needs.

Understanding Benefits

Cloud desktops offer customers a host of business such as:

Reduced management hassles. With DaaS, your customers escape all kinds of desktop management tasks and the time and costs that go with them. There are no more upgrades and patching, no all-nighters when it’s time to add an app and no more help desk hassles.

Affordable opex. Compared to traditional desktops, DaaS costs less and your customers incur no up-front capital expense and don’t have to deal with complicated systems integration.

Flexibility and scalability. Since DaaS is a cloud service, your customers can start small. The right DaaS provider will offer a trial so your customers can do a proof-of-concept before committing to a DaaS service. And users always have the flexibility to scale up or down. This reduces deployment complexity while improving management, security and compliance.

Improved desktop security. As a cloud service, DaaS keeps your customers’ data more secure than it is in traditional desktop environments even as individual employee desktop images are deployed and removed on-demand to virtually any device, including employee-owned, anywhere these workers may be with Internet access.

Easier, safer mobility. Mobility/BYOD is easily accomplished since data security is built into the DaaS cloud architecture.

Reduced bandwidth demands. Given the right architecture, DaaS requires less bandwidth. When users connect to their cloud desktops, the entire screen is painted, but as they continue working, only the pixels that change are transmitted back, so most bandwidth use is downstream.

Increased worker productivity. DaaS gives workers a full desktop experience on any device anywhere, so their productivity improves.

Qualifying Prospects

Even if your customers can’t or don’t explicitly point to desktop management challenges, pay attention for hints about their need to update an aging and inadequate desktop/IT environment. These indicators include:

  • Ongoing desktop security challenges
  • Fast rising IT support costs
  • High expenses for PC refreshes and/or hardware upgrades
  • Underused IT solutions
  • Difficulty identifying root causes of IT problems
  • A failed in-house VDI project

When you encounter such circumstances, you may notice a gap between what your customers casually say they’d like to have and what they’re in fact willing and able to deploy. To get a better handle on the real nature of a potential cloud desktop opportunity, it’s time to ask some high-level questions. Start with “What business problem are you hoping to solve?” Certainly, other questions should and will follow, such as: What’s your virtual desktop strategy? Who is involved or cares about the issues you hope DaaS/cloud/VDI will address? What factors will drive your virtual desktop decisions?

From the responses, you’ll get a sense of how serious a prospect you have on your hands. You don’t need to have immediate answers to your customers’ questions as long as you can bring in the right virtual desktop service provider.

Mike Dillon, CTO for


, brings more than 20 years of disaster recovery, security and engineering experience to his position, where he leads the global technology strategy development and planning for the company. Dillon also serves as chief consultant and director for professional, managed and cloud services, overseeing a team of consultants, engineers, experts and project managers. He created and developed Quest’s Application and Management Service Providers platforms.
Twitter: @questechusa

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