Hot off the press – latest Forrester study shows 210% Return on Investment from Windows Virtual Desktop

Even since its initial announcement is September 2018, Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), Microsoft’s cloud based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution, hosted exclusively on Azure – has been a subject of interest for Business and IT decision makers and professionals. The service entered private preview in March 2019, became Generally Available in September 2019 – and has seen significant growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response as organisations pivoted to remote work overnight. Microsoft recently published the results of a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study commissioned by Microsoft and Intel and performed independently by Forrester Research. The results are compelling – showing a ROI of 210% and Net Present Value of $1.89M USD with a pay back in less than 3 months, including the cost of change In this post, we provide a high level view of the report and its key findings and try to outline what may be useful for you and your business.

Key points from the study

While we recommend you review the entire study for a more in-depth view, we wanted to share our key takeaways from the study:

  • The financial benefits are impressive, with ROI of 210%, NPV of $1.89M USD and benefits of $2.94M USD for a composite organisation of 11000 FTEs rolling out WVD to 1700 users (~15% of the workforce).
  • The interviewed organisations cover different geographies and industries, which brings in a welcome element of diverse blend around functional, compliance, security, business continuity, and User Experience. It is good to see the largest adopter being a government organisation which typically have stringent requirements towards cloud-based solutions.
  • Increased productivity of 22 person-hours a year per Windows Virtual Desktop end user from improved connectivity, onboarding, and security response.
  • Reduced annual cost of VDI licensing and related IT infrastructure of 34% was noted by removing RDS (Remote Desktop Services) licenses and on-premise infrastructure.
  • Reduced annual costs of IT Deployment and maintenance of 59% related to Applications and Software Deployment, Help Desk management, security and patch management and OS deployment and maintenance.
  • Additionally, customers could stop buying employer-owned PCs for 25% of Windows Virtual Desktop end users who instead used their own personal devices. This is a great point to illustrate that moving to VDIs do not mean a wholesale move away from enterprise devices, but a more use case centric view.
  • It should be noted that each organisation ran Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) prior to using WVD, and thus the quantified and unquantified benefits apply most directly to that user base with a similar baseline of user experience and performance expectation.
  • The improvements in security response were cited as a major benefit by the surveyed organisations.
  • The unquantified benefits are significant, namely a significant improvement in end user experience, organisational resiliency (which some of these organisations navigated effectively with WVD as part of COVID-19 response) and flexibility in business continuity.
  • Customers noted that the cost savings of Windows Virtual Desktop grow as the use of Windows Virtual Desktop scales.

What we think

It is exciting to see the results from customers who have adopted WVD successfully. The report validates what we are seeing at the coalface with clients across all sizes and complexity when it comes to the benefits on offer and the case for change.Whilst the technology is impressive – our experience of rolling out 36,000 modern desktops for Australian organisations of all shapes and sizes takes some thorough planning and consideration across technical and non-technical aspects to achieve a similar level of success. A one size fits all approach never works when it comes to adoption. It would have been of value to see more detail and emphasis on the importance and impact of good change and adoption on benefits realised in the study.

Anyone involved with enterprise transformation would agree that these lines, originally sung in a live version of The Boxer by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, sometimes ring equally true in the rollout of immensely capable technology:

“After changes upon changes

We are more or less the same

After changes we are

More or less the same”

On a more serious note, getting the full benefits of technology involving end users must span multiple dimensions, such as –

  • People – design thinking, user experience envisioning, communications management, change and adoption, experience continuum
  • Practice – Governance, Compliance, Security, Automation and DevOps, Cost Optimisation
  • Technology – connectivity, identity, application rationalisation and packaging, standard operating environments (SOE), Azure landing zones, ongoing optimisation, scalability, automation, security, and device management.

As in any major transformation, these elements need to be thought through up front – and the prize is significant in empowering your employees and giving them modern tech toolsets to solve tomorrow’s complex problems.

Why not get started today?

There is no time like now to find out if WVD can work for your business. Microsoft is offering a 30% pricing discount on WVD compute resources for 90 days till 31-Mar-2021. Our analysis working with clients shows that this might allow you to run your pilot / PoC for up to 90 days with the same or better cost of ownership as 3 year reserved instances (there are some differences with every environment so yours may vary slightly), with the flexibiltiy of the pay as you go model to benchmark / baseline your needs. This represents a great opportunity as you will have the flexibilty to decide on your rollout approach post the initial 90 days.

To help you take advantage of this, we are offering the Eighty20 Solutions – SimpleAz. Helping you understand how your organisation can benefit from WVD with higher performance, simplified security patching and improved user experience.

At Eighty20 Solutions, our goal is to deliver technology transformations in a faster, simpler and more collaborative manner working with our clients. If you are looking at a WVD deployment and are looking at partners who get in the trenches, work shoulder to shoulder with your team, and stay the course, while you help your organisation to sustain long-term, strategic technology investments, embrace change, and realise benefits – as opposed to leaving the teams grappling with shiny new technical debt – reach out to us today!

What is WVD?

Windows Virtual Desktop is a cloud-based virtual desktop solution offered free of licensing costs to businesses running Microsoft 365. It allows employees to access company desktops, files and applications securely through the cloud, without requiring customers to invest in an on-premises estate. It supports the latest compute offerings from Azure such as the second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors for improved latency and larger, high-speed local storage for multi-session deployments.

What is Forrester TEI?

Total Economic Impact (TEI) is a methodology developed by Forrester Research that enhances a company’s technology decision-making processes and assists vendors in communicating the value proposition of their products and services to clients. The TEI methodology helps companies demonstrate, justify, and realize the tangible value of IT initiatives to both senior management and other key business stakeholders. TEI is regularly used by Microsoft and other enterprise software vendors to provide an independent assessment of benefits realisation from their products and solutions.