The past year marked the beginning of an era of rapid change. To support the remote workforce, organizations started racing to expand access to skills, networks and platforms. With more workers returning to the office only part of the time, the hybrid workforce has proven to be complex to set up and secure, with one of the largest challenges being manageability.
In this new era of hybrid work, the announcement of Microsoft’s Windows 365 will provide organizations with greater flexibility and a more secure way to empower the workforce, regardless of location.
Windows 365 is designed to make it easy for the non-IT workforce to enable employees to access their business with a predictable cost model. It offers organizations a fixed-price monthly subscription to a cloud PC that is dedicated to a single user and can be managed with the same tools as a traditional Windows PC.
Exploring Windows 365 Cloud PC
Just as applications were brought to the operating system with SaaS, Microsoft is now bringing the operating system to the cloud with Windows 365. The operating system itself becomes hybrid — accessible on the device and on the Cloud.
Today, every business wants to be able to scale up and down quickly. Shifting control to the end users or business units allows for rapid, secure deployment of OS and Office software through the click of a button within a portal.
While virtual desktops (VDI’s) and Microsoft’s Cloud PC offering have been around for some time, Windows 365 has made these offerings available as part of the Microsoft 365 subscription. With this launch, Microsoft is targeting both the enterprise and the business world with a product focused on simplicity and cost predictability.
One of the key benefits to Windows 365 is that it makes deploying these machines a lot easier for corporate customers that don’t necessarily have the skillsets for traditional VDI’s. Deploying Windows 365 virtual desktops is designed to be extremely easy and manageable.
As Windows 365 launches, here are some of the biggest changes we could see for businesses and employees:
1. Rapid employee onboarding
With Windows 365, organizations can onboard new employees with IT equipment, regardless of location, within a matter of hours. Employees can continue using technology they’re familiar with on their own devices and organizations can ensure that their data remains safe in the environment.
2. Savings on hardware lifecycle process
Hardware could become increasingly less important for organizations. Since employees will be able to run the Microsoft operating system and applications on any device, from anywhere, organizations may be able to save on traditional hardware lifecycle costs for their workforce. While businesses will still need to buy equipment, machines won’t need to be as powerful as before and employees will have more choice around what device they’d like to use. Since the desktop can be managed centrally and employees can access it from any device of their choosing, anything with a browser can be treated as a Cloud PC. As a result, businesses will likely buy more into Microsoft’s platform experience as equipment becomes less of a priority.
3. Increased security
Organizations won’t have to worry about what devices employees are using. They no longer have to worry about locking down the end points and having to deal with problems when employees are using their own devices for work. Instead, they can control everything in the Cloud. Users can securely stream a powerful windows PC including apps, content, settings and storage, from the Microsoft cloud to any device. Personalized Cloud PCs will enable employees, even designers or editors working with large collaborative files, to pick up right where they left off with their full Windows desktop on their virtual device, whether that is a tablet, a PC or a Mac.
How can ITAM prepare for the transformation?
While this announcement presents many changes for organizations and employees, IT teams will be uniquely impacted in the coming months. As businesses try new things and buy further into the Microsoft platform experience, IT Asset Managers (ITAM) will need to keep a keen eye on consumption and cost. Plus, instead of managing local Windows installations on expensive hardware, IT will be tasked with exploring how they can get by with simpler hardware.
It’s important for ITAM to ask questions like:
- Which users are accessing applications only through the browser?
- What is the cost impact for the business?
- How can this reduce my overall costs YoY?
- How do I track if it’s being used once provisioned?
- What is the impact of over-provisioned desktops?
- How could I help boost business uptime and scalability around busy seasons?
- How do I ensure that my workforce has a machine that is powerful enough for the work they do?
How Snow can help
If you’re looking to move from desktop environments towards Microsoft 365 or Windows 365, Snow can show you usage of specific application components including details such as who is using them and how they are using them — whether that’s via online access from a laptop/phone or an installed version. With this visibility, you can ensure you’re assigning the right types of licenses and reduce spend as you migrate to these cloud implementations.
If you are already using Microsoft 365 and considering utilizing Windows 365, Snow can help you understand how employees and contractors are using Microsoft 365 applications against current subscriptions allocated so that you can right size before migrating to the new offering.
Learn more about Snow’s solutions designed to help users gain visibility and control over their Microsoft 365 spend.