The Desktop Transformation Assessment (DTA) forms an integral part of the overall Desktop Transformation Model (DTM) by providing clear guidance on how to turn “Wow” into “How”.  During this series of blog posts, I’m discussing the seven key phases that make up the DTA:

  1. Define Business priorities
  2. Application Assessment
  3. User Segmentation
  4. Capabilities Assessment
  5. High-Level Design
  6. Desktop Transformation Roadmap
  7. High-Level project plan

In my last blog post, I provided a high-level overview of the Desktop Transformation Assessment.  Now it’s time to take a look at the first step in more detail – Defining Business Priorities.

It may seem like an obvious first step, but you’d be surprised at how many projects miss it out altogether.  Without clear priorities, nobody really knows what the project should achieve, how much it should cost or when it should be finished by.   I’ve been called in to a lot of projects to help out when things go wrong and almost all of them have one thing in common – no clear definition of what they’re trying to achieve.

Don’t fall into this trap – at the start of the project, preferably during the kickoff meeting, take time to establish and prioritize the key drivers behind the desktop transformation.  You should have everything you need to answer that all-important question – “What needs to be achieved for this project to be a success?”

The business priorities identified will become key inputs into the High-Level Design, Transformation Roadmap and Project Plan.  Therefore, they will have a major impact on the overall project.

To help you get thinking about your project’s priorities, I’ve put together a list of the top five business drivers that I’ve seen in the field:

  1. Flexibility. Many businesses are looking for a flexible desktop solution that is capable of accommodating periods of change such as rapid growth, outsourcing, takeovers and downsizing.  A modular High-Level design is the best way to achieve this requirement.
  2. Management. A lot of businesses are seeking ways to simplify the management of their desktop infrastructure as they realize that they can’t just keep hiring more resources.  These businesses may not be as proactive as they would like and are probably spending too much time ‘fighting fires’.  Therefore, Provisioning Services and/or Machine Creation Services should be built into the High-Level Design to help simplify management.
  3. Remote Access. The business may need to support home workers and/or travelling employees.  They may also be concerned with the impact from transport disruption and natural disasters. To address these requirements, Citrix Access Gateway can be incorporated into the High-Level Design to accommodate a fully redundant remote access solution that integrates seamlessly with both XenApp and XenDesktop.
  4. Security. More and more businesses are concerned about data theft and are looking for ways to protect information.  In such situations, Citrix policies can be used to disable client drive and clipboard mappings.  In addition, Citrix Access Gateway can help to restrict access to corporate data based on the results from an endpoint scan (SmartAccess).
  5. Performance. Poor performance is a frequent driver behind desktop virtualization, especially when users access corporate resources over low-bandwidth and/or high-latency links.  Locating the virtual desktops in close proximity to the application servers and corporate data typically helps to improve application performance.

Do any of these sound familiar?  Once you’ve identified your priorities, they should be ranked according to their importance to the business, so that resources, time and funds can be allocated appropriately.  Having this list of priorities clearly outlined from the start will help you successfully execute your desktop transformation project.

Please check back soon for details on the next step – Performing the Application Assessment.

Andy Baker – Architect
Worldwide Consulting
Desktop & Apps Team
Virtual Desktop Handbook
Project Accelerator