Virtual desktop infrastructure gained traction recently as more organizations adopt and support mobility initiatives. Employees, empowered by bring-your-own-device policies, are increasingly capable of working from anywhere. Companies that are phasing out Windows XP PCs may even choose to replace these aging machines with mobile devices that provide more streamlined user experiences and offer a slew of modern applications.

VDI’s role in enabling mobility
Where does VDI fit into this picture? With device fleets becoming more fragmented, VDI can be a cost-effective means of providing critical access to core company assets such as enterprise resource planning, client relationship management and line-of-business applications. It’s economical because it requires less investment, both in time and money, than crafting mobile experiences from scratch.

“Applications can also be enhanced for mobile access on the server end, without building a mobile development capability within your organization or hiring expensive outside help,” explained TechRepublic contributor Patrick Gray. “You could use your existing ERP developers to create a dozen screens and reports that have a limited number of fields, and space them more appropriately for mobile use, without writing a single line of mobile code.”

In practical terms, VDI can give sales teams access to full desktops so that they can make use of important tools such as CRM and PowerPoint while on the road. Even if the organization has a BYOD initiative in place, VDI simplifies common BYOD issues such as hardware management and security enforcement – each device communicates securely with the VDI servers via an encrypted session.

VDI and the growing uses of desktop virtualization
Moreover, VDI fits into many organizations’ growing interest in virtualization. Forrester Research’s David Johnson told InfoWorld that more than half of IT decision-makers cite desktop virtualization as a top priority for 2014. Although the market for PCs may be stagnant right now, there is still enough demand for virtual desktops that many companies have turned to VDI to deliver secure computing environments and access to applications on any device.

Certainly, there can be technical and financial challenges in implementing effective VDI, but these obstacles can be overcome with the expertise of an IT solutions and managed services provider. Organizations can also optimize VDI through the use of thin-client software to connect to VDI systems. Eventually, VDI implementations can pay for themselves by making workers more capable, regardless of where they are, while also streamlining mobile device management.