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People for Places replaced its PCs with cloud-based VDI

People for Places replaced its PCs with cloud-based VDI

UK property management and development firm Places for People announced this week that it has replaced its on-premise infrastructure with a cloud-based VDI from Citrix, shaving nearly £1m off the company’s IT bill in the process.

One of the UK’s largest property management firms, Places for People grew in part through acquisition for the past few decades. But that process also saw the company’s IT estate grow increasingly complex and costly.

The IT team had to support 1,500 PCs in 35 offices spread across the UK, and 200 smaller “scheme” sites to manage. Each smaller site had to report into an office to access or update essential information, and the firm’s head of information management & technology Jon Thomson said that the way IT was being done as it stood then reduced productivity and made essential tasks more complex.

“It was imperative that we had an IT system that would support our mobile workforce,” said Thomson. “With a quarter of a million customers and 143,000 properties, they don’t have the time, nor should they need, to travel to use technology.”

As the company sought to consolidate from 35 offices to 21 it went with Citrix’s VDI platform and application virtualisation technology, which is now managed centrally and delivered on any mobile device, and working with Citrix partner Open Reality built a proof of concept that would eventually enable Places for People to launch a successful Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

Thomson said replacing the company’s PCs with thin client devices saved the company about £550,000 in capital expenditure, reduced annual support costs by a further £55,000 and reduced annual energy costs by £120,000.

“Feedback from the field has made it clear that technology is now aiding, and not hindering, day-to-day functionality. In the two years since introducing the virtual IT infrastructure, customer satisfaction levels have never been higher,” said Thomson.

“The time and money saved can now be ploughed back into the development of the services we deliver and the quality of service that supports these,” he added.

Desktop as a Service is set to grow in 2014 according to some analysts, with Citrix, VMware and Amazon stepping up their activities in this area as of late.