Introducing the State of the Digital Workspace 2023 Report

Back in April 2021, we realized we were having the same conversation over and over again with customers, prospects, and industry analysts where everyone (including us) was confused about the ambiguity of the term “the digital workspace.” So we had an idea – what if there was a vendor-neutral organization of vendors in the industry who committed to working together to create unbiased educational content to help everyone get on the same page about what the digital workspace actually is (and is not). 

Based on that idea, we formed the Digital Workspace Ecosystem Alliance (DWEA), and decided to specifically focus on educational content that would help everyone understand the digital workspace technology stack, learn from what their peers are doing, and learn how to evaluate which components of the digital workspace stack actually make sense for their organization’s specific needs. First we released the “Evaluating the Digital Workspace” white paper (which you can download here), and since then we’ve gone on to create all kinds of content including our first annual Digital Workspace Summit (you can access all sessions from the Summit on-demand here). 

Today we are excited to announce the results of the DWEA’s first annual survey in the form of our “State of the Digital Workspace 2023” report (download the full report for free here). The purpose of this survey was to identify how many organizations have a digital workspace strategy in place today, where they stand in executing those strategies, and the pain points/roadblocks they’ve experienced along the way. We also set out to determine if IT pros believe their strategies are paying off, or if they plan to course-correct in the future. The result is a roadmap for IT decision makers providing better insight into what’s working for their peers so they can make more informed decisions as they hone their own digital workspace strategies.

The Report Methodology, Size, and Geographic Breakdown

Back in September 2022, the DWEA introduced its first annual survey to gauge the current state of digital workspace adoption, benefits and challenges. The survey was completed by 2,660 digital workspaceInfographic illustrating the 7 key findings of the State of the Digital Workspace 2023 report professionals globally, making it one of the largest digital workspace technology-focused surveys to date.

Rather than focusing on the location of the individual survey respondents (or the organizations they work for), this survey identified the geographic breakdown of the end-users that each survey respondent manages. This was done so that we could provide a better view of the modern remote & hybrid workforce. That geographic breakdown is as follows:

  • 69% of respondents manage end-users in the Americas
  • 30.5% of respondents manage end-users in EMEA
  • 29.4% of respondents manage end-users in APAC

To read through the DWEA’s announcement/blog post about the report, which provides a broader overview of all of the findings, check out the post here. In this blog post, I plan to specifically hone in on some of the key issues relevant to anyone who is evaluating virtualization solutions – either for the first time, or (like many in the survey) to replace the legacy technologies they have in place to enable a more productive and secure digital workspace while dramatically reducing cost. 

The State of Remote & Hybrid, and the Murky Path Back to the Office

The results of the DWEA survey speak loud and clear: Supporting a hybrid and remote workforce continues to be a priority for a majority of organizations. More than 58% of DWEA survey respondents confirmed that they will offer their people the option to work either remotely or hybrid on a permanent basis. On the flip side of this is the nearly 42% of survey respondents who said that they expected all of their users to be back in the office full-time “at some point.” 

Although roughly 6 out of every 10 organizations are banking on remote/hybrid work for the long term, there’s an undeniable division of thinking when it comes to whether workforces will eventually make a wholesale return to the office. Those that have committed to hybrid and remote work will benefit from being able to build a digital workspace strategy accordingly. And they will almost certainly benefit from those actions being more in line with employees’ broad expectations of a remote work option.

For organizations that expect their people to be back in the office full-time at some point in the future, the roadmap to get there is murky. As a result, it will be vital for them to establish a sustainable and flexible digital workspace strategy that can support hybrid work right now and adapt over time. With the lesson of the pandemic still fresh in everyone’s mind, whatever strategy they adopt will have to allow them to respond to rapid and unforeseen shifts in workplace environments.

Legacy Technologies Are Holding Us Back

Another key finding of this survey is that legacy technology is a lingering hurdle that is preventing organizations’ full transition to a secure, productive digital workspace. This is worth exploring in its own right, given that VDI and legacy apps crop up as a sticking point throughout the DWEA survey.

When asked about the virtualization technologies they were utilizing to deliver cloud desktops to their users, more than half (51%) of the respondents stated that they were using VDI. However, close to half (48.2%) of the respondents also said that the “performance of the solution” was the chief problem with their virtual desktop environment. Another 41.7% cited cost as a major concern. These figures are a clear indication that legacy virtualization technology like VDI may still be relatively commonplace, but in many cases it is having a negative impact on productivity and budget.

In addition, 36.9% of respondents said that keeping applications up to date was a critical concern in their hybrid desktop environment. Another 21.4% cited the management of legacy applications as a key challenge. Since legacy apps are still critical to many organizations’ overall operations, this points to a need to offer legacy applications to users in a way that actually streamlines that overall management and distribution.

This combination of issues caused by legacy VDI technology and the need to give users access to all of their legacy applications might explain why we’ve seen such a spike in the adoption of Virtual App Delivery (VAD) technology. The DWEA survey revealed that 47.4% of respondents are utilizing VAD to deliver cloud desktops today. That number is up from the 32.4% who said they were using VAD in the 2021 “VDI Like a Pro” survey.

What’s more, the DWEA results confirm trends that were identified in that prior report. Of the respondents to the “VDI Like a Pro” survey, 17% of those who were using VDI at the time indicated that they would be making the shift from VDI to VAD within the next two years. With DWEA respondents reporting more than 47% VAD adoption just one year after the “VDI Like a Pro” survey, this predicted migration is already ahead of schedule.

So What’s Next?

Organizations seem to be taking a hard look at the legacy technology they have in place and asking themselves if it’s truly working for them. While there are still legacy apps that are vital to their workflow, other legacy software, like VDI, is not meeting expectations and needs to be supplanted. The question is, how can they streamline the management and delivery of legacy solutions they want to keep while seamlessly replacing the legacy solutions they want to eliminate?

Based on the DWEA survey results, organizations are increasingly finding the answer in Virtual App Delivery. The respondent breakdown (51% using VDI, 47% using VAD) shows that adoption of the two virtualization technologies is already close to parity, even though VDI has a multi-decade head start. When taking the 2021 “VDI Like a Pro” survey results into account, the roughly 15% year-on-year growth in VAD adoption is striking. That rapid uptake suggests that organizations are finding VAD to be more cost-effective, less complex and more capable than traditional virtualization methods.

If your organization is in a similar situation and you are looking for a modern, cloud-native alternative to your legacy VDI or DaaS solution, Cameyo can help. Check out our case studies to learn about other organizations (including Fortune 500 orgs) who have made the switch from VDI/DaaS to Cameyo’s VAD technology. Or if you’d like to see Cameyo in action and learn how it could simplify your virtualization environment while improving your user experience and reducing cost by up to 70% compared to VDI, go ahead and schedule a demo here

And don’t forget to get your free “State of the Digital Workspace 2023” report, which you can download directly from the Digital Workspace Ecosystem Alliance (DWEA) here