|By Dana Gardner||
|August 29, 2012 10:00 AM EDT||
The latest BriefingsDirect enterprise user IT adoption story centers on how global legal services leader Foley & Lardner LLP has adopted virtual desktops and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to enhance end-user productivity across their far-flung operations.
We'll see how Foley has delivered applications, data, and services better and with improved control -- even as employees have gained more choices and flexibility over the client devices, user experiences, and applications usage.
Learn more here about adapting to the new realities of client computing and user expectations with Linda Sanders, the CIO, and Rick Varju, Director of Engineering & Operations, both at Foley & Lardner LLP. The discussion is moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
Here are some excerpts:
Gardner: What was "the elephant in the room," when it came to the old way of doing client-side computing? Was there something major that you needed to overcome?
Sanders: Yes, we had to have a reduction in our technology staffing, and because of that, we just didn't have the same number of technicians in the local offices to deal with PCs, laptops, re-imaging, and lease returns -- the standard things that we had done in the past. We needed to look at new ways of doing things, where we could reduce the tech touches, as we call it, and find a different way to provide a desktop to people in a fast, new way.
Varju: From a technical perspective, we were looking for ways to manage the desktop side of our business better, more efficiently, and more effectively. Being able to do that out of our centralized data center made a lot of sense for us.
Other benefits have come along with the centralized data center that weren't necessarily on our radar initially, and that has really helped to improve efficiencies and productivity in several ways.
Gardner: Tell us about your organization at Foley. Linda, how big are you, where do you do business?
Sanders: Foley has approximately 900 attorneys and another 1,200 support personnel. We're in 18 U.S. offices, where we support virtualized desktops. We have another three international offices. At this time, we're not doing virtualized desktops there, but it is in our future.
Gardner: Rick, how has virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) been an enabler?
Varju: The real underlying benefit is being able to securely deliver the desktop as a service (DaaS). We are no longer tied to a physical desktop and that means you can now connect to that same desktop experience, wherever you are, anytime, from any device, not just to have that easy access, but to make it secure by delivering the desktop from within the secure confines of our data center.
That's what's behind deploying VDI and embracing BYOD at the same time. You get that additional security that wouldn't otherwise be there, if you had to have all your applications and all data reside on that endpoint device that you no longer have control over.
With VMware View and delivering the DaaS from the data center, very little information has to go back to the endpoint device now, and that's a great model for our BYOD initiatives.
In terms of raw numbers, every attorney in the firm has a mobile device. The firm provides a BlackBerry as part of our standard practice and then we have users who now are bringing in their own equipment. So at least 900 attorneys are taking advantage of mobility connectivity, and most of those attorneys have laptops, whether they are firm issued or BYOD.
Easily 1,500 personnel taking advantage of some sort of connectivity to the firm through their mobile devices.
Gardner: So as IT and business management, you get a better control and a sense of security, and the users get choice and flexibility?
Sanders: That's correct. Before, we were selecting the equipment, providing that equipment to people, and over and over again, we started to hear that that's not what they wanted. They wanted to select the machine, whether it be a PC, a Mac, an iPad, or smartphone. And even if we were providing standard equipment, we knew that people were bringing in their own. So formulating a formal BYOD program worked out well for us.
In our first year, we had 300 people take advantage of that formal program. This year, to date, we have another 200 who have joined, and we are expecting to add another 100 to that.
As Rick mentioned, we did also open this up to some of our senior level administrative management this year and we now have some of those individuals on the program. So that too is helping us, because we don't have to provision and lease that equipment and have our local technology folks get that out to people and be swapping machines.
Now, when we're taking away a laptop, for example, we can put a hosted desktop in and have people using VMware View. They're seeing that same desktop, whether they're sitting in the office or using their BYOD device.
Gardner: Do you have any metrics in terms of how much this all saved you?
Sanders: Over three years, we'll probably be able to reduce our spend by about 22 percent.
We had our business manager within technology calculate for us what we were spending year after year on equipment, factoring in how much tech time is involved in that, and coming up with a realistic number, where people could go out and purchase equipment over a three-year time frame.
That was the start of it, looking at that breakdown of the internal time, selecting a dollar amount, and then putting together a policy, so that individuals who decided to participate in it would know what the guidelines were.
Our regional technology managers met one on one or in small groups with attorneys who wanted to go on the program, went through the program with them, and answered any questions upfront, which I think really served us well. It wasn’t that we just put something out on paper, and people didn’t understand what they were signing up for.
Those meetings covered all the high points, let them know that this was personal equipment and that, in the end, they're responsible for it should something happen. That was how we put the program together and how we decided to communicate the information to our attorneys.
Gardner: Has something about the DaaS allowed you to extend these benefits beyond just your employees? Is there some aspect of this that helps on that client services equation. ?
Varju: The ease of mobility and some of the productivity gains make a big difference. The quicker we can get access to people and information for our attorneys, no matter where they are and no matter what the device they're using, is really important today. That does provide some additional benefit for our attorneys, when it comes to delivering the best possible service we can to our clients.
One of the things that we're looking at now is unified communications, and trying to pull everything to the desktop, all the experiences together, and one of those important components is collaboration.
If we can deliver a tool that will allow attorneys and clients to collaborate on the same document, from within the same desktop view, that would provide tremendous value. There are certainly products out there that will allow you to federate with other organizations. That’s the line of thinking we're looking at now and we'll look to deploy something like that in the near future.
The biggest plus
Sanders: The biggest plus is, as Rick mentioned, for people who are mobile, is that they have the same desktop, no matter where they are. As I talked about before, whether they're in the office or out of the office, they have the same experience.
If we have a building shut down, we are not trapped into not being able to deliver a desktop, because they can’t get into the building and they can’t work inside. They're working from outside and it’s just like they are sitting here. That’s one of the biggest pluses that we've seen and that we hear from people -- just that availability of the desktop.
Varju: Before deploying VDI and VMware View, we delivered a more generic desktop for remote access. So to Linda’s point, being able to have your actual desktop follow you around on whatever device you are using is big. Then it's the mobility, even from within the office.
When an attorney signs up for the Technology Allowance Program, we provide them a thin client on their desk, which they use when they're sitting in their office. Then, as part of the Technology Allowance Program and Freedom of Choice, they purchase whatever mobility technology suits them and they can use that technology when working out of conference rooms with clients, etc.
So remote access and having their own personal desktop follow them around, the ability to move and work within the office, whether in a conference room, in a lobby, you name it, those are powerful features for the attorneys.
We're definitely ahead of the curve within the legal vertical. Other verticals have ventured into this. Two in particular have avoided it longer than most, the healthcare and financial industries. But without a doubt, we're ahead of the curve amongst our peers, and there are some real benefits that go along with being early adopters.
Gardner: Explain for me, Rick, how you went about architecting this solution, and perhaps a little bit about the journey, and both good and bad experiences there?
Process and strategy
Varju: We've been virtualizing servers for quite some time now. Our server environment is just over 75 percent virtualized. Because of the success we have had there, and the great support from VMware, we felt that it was a natural fit for us to take a close look at VMware View as a virtual desktop solution.
We started our deployment in October of 2009. So we started pretty early, and as is often the case with being an early adopter, you're going to go through some pain being among the first to do what you are doing.
In working with our vendor partners, VMware, as well as our storage integrators, what we learned early on is that there wasn’t a lot of real-world experience for us to draw from when designing or laying out the design for the underlying infrastructure. So we did a lot of crawling before we walked, walking before we ran, and a lot of learning as we went.
But to VMware’s credit, they have been with us every step of the way and have really taken joint ownership and joint responsibility of this project with Foley. Whenever we have had issues, they have been very quick to address those issues and to work with us. I can't say enough about how important that business relationship is in a project of this magnitude.
While there was certainly some pain in the early stages of this project and trying to identify what infrastructure components and capacities needed to be there, VMware as a partner truly did help us get through those, and quite effectively.
PCoverIP protocol is critical to the overall VDI solution and delivering the DaaS, whether it's inside the Foley organization and the WAN links that we have between our offices, or an attorney who is working from home, a Starbucks or you name it. PCoverIP as a protocol is optimized to work over even the lowest of bandwidth connections.
The fact that you're just sending changes to screens really does optimize that communication. So the end result is that you get a better user experience with less bandwidth consumption.
Freedom of choice
Sanders: The success that we've had, as we have spoken about throughout this call, has been the ability to deliver that desktop and to have attorneys speak to their peers and let them know. Many times, we have attorneys stop us in the hallway to find out how they too can get on a hosted desktop.
Leveraging with the BYOD program helped us, giving people that freedom of choice, and then providing them with a work desktop that they can access from wherever.
We're really looking at unified communications. One of the things that I'm very interested in is video at the desktop. It's something that I am going to be looking at, because we use video conferencing extensively here, and people really like that video connection.
They want to be able to do video conferencing from wherever they are, whether it's in a conference room, outside the office, on their laptop, on a smartphone. Bringing in that unified communication is going to be one of the next things we're going to focus on.
Varju: Cloud computing is certainly an interesting topic and one that you can spend a day on, in and of itself. At Foley, any time we look at a change in technology, especially the underlying infrastructure, we always take a look at what cloud services are available and have to offer, because it's important for us to keep our eye on that.
There is another area where Foley is doing things differently than a lot of our peers, and that's in the area of document management. We're using a cloud-based service for document management now. Where VMware View and VMware, as an organization, will benefit Foley as we move forward is probably more along the lines of the Horizon product, where we can pull our SaaS-based applications or on-premise based applications all together in a single portal.
It all looks the same to our users, it all opens and functions just as easily, while also being able to deliver single sign-on and two-factor authentication. Just pulling the whole desktop together that way is going to be real beneficial. Virtualizing the desktop, virtualizing our servers, those are key points in getting us to that destination.
You may also be interested in:
- VMware CTO Steve Herrod on how the software-defined data center benefits enterprises
- Ocean Observatories Initiative: Cloud and Big Data come together to give scientists unprecedented access to essential climate insights
- Case Study: Strategic Approach to Disaster Recovery and Data Lifecycle Management Pays Off for Australia's SAI Global
- Columbia Sportswear extends deep server virtualization to improved ERP operations, disaster recovery efficiencies
- Virtualization Simplifies Disaster Recovery for Insurance Broker Myron Steves While Delivering Efficiency and Agility Gains Too
- SAP Runs VMware to Provision Virtual Machines to Support Complex Training Courses
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Oct. 10, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 804
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
Oct. 10, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 517
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Oct. 10, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 599
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
Oct. 10, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 331
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, will provide an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Oct. 10, 2015 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 772
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Oct. 10, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 657
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Oct. 10, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 782
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Oct. 10, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 183
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Oct. 9, 2015 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 151
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Oct. 9, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 250
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
Oct. 9, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 454
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
Oct. 9, 2015 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 321
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
Oct. 9, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 148
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Oct. 9, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 126
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Oct. 9, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 254
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Oct. 9, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 512
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 194
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Oct. 9, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 567
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Oct. 9, 2015 01:15 PM EDT
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Oct. 9, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 807