FAQ, flexiDesk

September 24, 2012

System Profiling – To discover and to plan

At 404® our policy is to speak a language that you understand.

We appreciate that a lot of IT terminology will not make sense to you, especially when talking about a technology that you are not familiar with.

We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible, but if anything is still not clear one of our staff will be only too pleased to talk it through.


The aim of System Profiling is three-fold.  On one level it gives you a clear idea of what  your current IT set up is.

It also establishes how making changes to it could bring value (financial, organisational and human).

Finally, it ensures that any transition project will be run smoothly and efficiently, helping to increase user acceptance. The whole process will be captured in words and pictures that you can understand.  Anything not absolutely clear will be explained until you fully understand.

This System Profiling is aimed at clients who are considering virtual desktops.

The duration of the System Profiling process depends on the size and complexity of your organisation. However you will be told at the outset how long we expect the assessment to last and be quoted a price for the whole consultancy.  These days will be made up of site visits and documentation.

Part of the process includes reVeal® – a software tool to monitor and capture application usage and user behaviour.  To get the best overview of your system we would normally suggest this is run for at least two weeks, this will be included in the overall System Profiling price.

Here are the steps that we go through:

1. Identify user types

Virtual desktops bring benefits to organisations, users and the environment.  However, current technology means that they are not right for all users.   Currently those unfortunate users fall into the following groups:

  • Heavy graphics and sound users such as video and sound editing and any kind of rendering.
  • Users that find themselves working for long periods in areas where there is no Internet access*.
  • Users that need access to highly specialised printing.

*We have an additional product for Offline workers to enable offline working so please speak to your account manager if this has not already been explained.

The other thing to consider is that technology in this area is changing rapidly and right now work is underway to solve compatibility issues like the aforementioned examples. 

Your organisation, depending on the size, will most likely have a mix of user types that we can largely put into the following categories: task workers, knowledge workers and power workers. Task Workers perform a set of well-defined tasks, accessing a small set of applications and have limited requirements from their PCs. They will need access to your most critical data. Knowledge workers don’t just work in their offices all day – they attend meetings, visit branch offices, work from home, and even coffee shops. These anywhere workers expect access to all of their same applications and data wherever they are.  Power workers are data creators e.g an editor, computer programmer as opposed to a knowledge worker who has a mix of consuming and creating data.

2. Identify applications using reVeal® (optional)

At 404® we have the ability to scan your entire existing infrastructure to give you a detailed report of what applications your organisation is using and how much they are being used. It can be deployed on any site without us being physically there and just runs in the background not affecting your normal IT activity.

This often reveals some surprises – applications for which you are paying licenses (perhaps per user) that are getting little or no use. You may discover that there is a lot of storage space being used for these applications for no reason.

There is also the issue of “clutter” that can slow things down. On the other hand, you may also discover applications being used that have not been authorised and could be having an impact on your system.

We normally recommend running this tool for two to four weeks to get a full overview of the activity. Depending on your line of business it is important that we capture times of peak and/or specific activity that are particular to your organisation.

3. Data Discovery

This is a very important part of the process and one that has direct effect on cost. This is also an opportunity to do some archiving and clearing out – or “IT life laundry”, as we call it.

Depending on the decisions you will make at the end of System Profiling, regardless of which route you choose, data costs.  The costs are either hidden or very transparent, “hard” costs or “soft” costs, but they are there.

During our process we will identify how much data you have and what the structure looks like. As part of the process we will provide you with a list of our recommendations on what to do with this data.

4. seCure (optional)

Data security means a lot of different things to different people.  Most organisations are concerned with data security in terms of keeping information within the organisation.  But what about how information within the organisation is being kept secure?

seCure is about keeping confidential data confidential within the organisation. This is something we take very seriously as an organisation and cannot stress it enough to our clients.  Oversights and “taking things for granted” where permissions and administrator rights are concerned cost organisations money and upset.

Our aim here is to capture how your organisation shares folders, permissions and administrator rights so that you can review and revise if necessary.  Should you decide to go forward with one of our (or another provider’s) managed products it is vital that these permissions get carried forward into the new virtual infrastructure, administrator rights are captured, and a procedure agreed for any modifications to this.  If you take nothing from our services, take this advice as a freebie on us.

5. Printing and Scanning

Printing and scanning is vital to most offices (and a source of much frustration).  Printing and virtual desktops can go hand in hand. It can poses issues that need to be overcome.  These issues increase if some or all of your workers are using Apple devices to print from or if wireless printing is a requirement.

This does not mean it cannot be done – in the vast majority of cases it can.  It just requires an upfront understanding of printing and scanning needs to plan how to set it all up. We believe it’s far better to identify and solve problems at an early stage rather than waiting for your users to stumble across them.

6. Connectivity

This is a crucial element as virtual desktops are is wholly reliant on an internet connection. The 404® hosted desktop solution flexiDesk® does not need a huge amount of bandwidth in order to function exactly like a local running desktop. However certain factors are taken into consideration and will be checked to ensure that the required connectivity is in place and if not, a recommendation will be made.

7. User surveys

User acceptance is a huge part of any new IT project. We will work closely with your team to ensure that each user is aware of the potential project and any concerns are captured.

8. Email/Domain Hosting

We will need to understand the current email and domain hosting setup to ensure that these continue to operate in the right away eliminating any potential downtime.

9. Business Strategy

Although we have put this lower down the list (being an IT company we have put the technical things first) the most important thing is to actually understand your organisation’s roadmap.  It is so basic that we could even not mention it, but it is at the foundation of System Profiling.   Any recommendations we make will be in line with where your organisation is going and not where it is now.

10. Analysis

Once all of the above has been completed we will provide a fully comprehensive report on our findings along with any recommendations.  In keeping with our plain talk policy, our documents will be in a language that a CEO or FD can understand not just a CIO.  If anything is not crystal clear we want you to talk to us until it is.

Jo Radcliffe

Jo Radcliffe

Co-Founder of 404 team Ltd who is passionate about bringing colour, clarity and budget-ability to businesses' experience of IT.

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