Can you really do “virtually” anything?

Nagwa KoressaOpinion

Let’s face it, when it comes to IT the concept of the highly complex is nothing new. In fact, the complexity of business seems to increase minute by minute. And to add to that complexity, we find ourselves replete with terms and technologies that we as IT people take for granted. However, for those in more business-related positions, the speeds and feeds of the latest tech trends can sound far too obtuse to pay them any attention.

It’s with this inundation of terms and technology that brings us to virtualization. For the technically minded, this technology is something everyone either lives with, strives for, or continually builds on—it’s a means to an end inside the walls of IT. But what does virtualization stand for outside of IT?

As someone who spends her life sitting at boardroom tables, I can tell you that when developing strategic plans and direction, seldom does technology play a role in the executive life. Of course, we discuss new technologies as business drivers: the end product or service that will generate revenue, and so on. But never is the underlying technology the foundation of the business decision. That’s left for the IT department to figure out behind closed doors.

So let’s discuss virtualization as an example, not from a technical perspective, but from a business perspective. What can you do with virtualization to save and make money? After all, that’s why all of us are in business to begin with, right?

First, let’s look at the concept of IT security and how it can impact business. No one wants to be breached, no one wants to be compromised. Did you know that by utilizing virtualization that you can access virus-infected data without any adverse reactions? For instance, what if someone sends you a highly important contract via email that gets flagged by your IT security and gets quarantined? No need to worry. Most virtualization software includes snapshot functionality that enables you to create a “saved state” and to open the infected file within the virtual machine to access that file. If the threat is real, no harm done.

Then, of course, there’s the ability to test new software, hardware, and new configurations—all safely without toppling any business processes. Being able to test in a safe environment saves time, money, resources, and enables faster roll-out—meaning faster time to market, and faster and better ROI.

Here’s one for the finance folks: virtualization can enable the company to re-use old hardware. By leveraging virtualization technology, companies can transform old and less powerful computers into thin clients, eliminating the need for the painful workstation IT upgrade budget.

And lastly, there’s the real-world of virtualization that we experience every day. From mobile applications, to standing in line at the nearest government office to take a test, renew a passport, and more, to playing online video games—virtually everything we do that interacts with a company’s product or service has to do with virtualization.

So, the next time you sit at the boardroom table discussing the next potential product or service and how best to deliver a superior customer experience, perhaps virtualization should be the topic at hand. After all, it can enable you to do virtually anything you put your mind to.