Neuralytix is hiring!
As part of the process, we needed to look at a cost effective way of providing IT resources. So, we decided to look at a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). After all, our employees are likely to be mobile, and we want to focus on our research and consultancy rather than being an IT company.
What we found was very disappointing.
Most virtual desktop service providers are not interested in small businesses. Most look for 50 or 100+ desktops. Additionally, the small number of providers we found who would even consider having a conversation with us, the cost efficiency just did not work for us.
One vendor wanted roughly US$115/month/user. This included Microsoft Office (whichever version we needed), Windows 7 (or 8), and other essential pieces of software. The price included support, and was basically an IT department and virtual desktop as a service.
Here’s the problem for me: at $115/month/user, it means that over the course of 3 years, my total cost would be $4,140. This, and it still does not include the client! Even if it were possible to use the cheapest laptops available at office supplies or electronic stores, that would be another $300 plus additional cost for upgraded warranty, etc. All up, over 3 years, this would equal roughly $5,000.
What if we decided to go the old fashion way, and buy a laptop and buy Microsoft Office? Let’s do the mathematics:
Laptop - $650 (approximately)
3 year extended warranty - $300
MS Home & Office 2010 - $199
This total would be roughly $1,150. While I understand that Neuralytix would not get the full IT support services offered, I question whether 3 years of IT support is worth $3,850. The support cost would therefore represent 77% of the total cost over 3 years (which is consistent with what quantitative market research firms suggest).
In the end, Neuralytix has decided that desktop-as-a-service is not ready for us yet. The cost justification is simply not there. While I recognize that there are inherent benefits in security and data control, for a small business, it just simply doesn’t make sense for us.
It’s really a huge pity.
The lesson from all this is simple. The cost of supporting and maintenance is the largest component of an IT investment. Furthermore, for VDI, it really requires economies of scale.
(I guess, I just have to hire a boatload of people instead!!) 🙂