Tired: “The Year of VDI”, Wired: “The Year of DEX”

Those who, like me, have been around the EUC block a few times know the joke well: “20xx will be the Year of VDI.” And it seems, based on annual “predictions” pieces from around this time last year, that there was some consensus that 2021, at long last, would actually be the year of VDI. It was going to happen for real this time!

"The Year of VDI," 2006-2021, in Tweets

And honestly, what is the KPI for “the year of” anything? Is it the adoption of VDI vs. virtual apps? Is it VDI vs. a physical endpoint-first approach? Should we look at some evidence for this? Gartner said, in June 2021, that “the rapid increase in remote and hybrid work, as well as the need for business continuity, has made desktop as a service a major priority for organizations.” This is certainly true, but does it matter?


Instead of looking backward, let’s look forward and declare a new “year of”: “2022: The Year of DEX.” This is the year of Digital Employee Experience management. 

Why do I think this? Let me explain.

I started at ControlUp in March 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, just when the world started to close down (my final job interview was in person and was the last travel I did for the next 16 months). And in my customer-facing sales engineering role, pretty much every call was about the shift to remote work and how ControlUp could improve the employee  experience for the masses suddenly working from home.

However, throughout the year, the number-one priority for customers I spoke with was, simply, how to make remote work… work

At the outset of this remote work adventure, there were lots of options available to enterprise customers to make remote work possible, and at scale. There were plenty of choices—from Citrix to VMware Horizon to Microsoft AVD and others for both on-prem and cloud. This was a clear indicator that deploying VDI and DaaS was more and more of a commodity. It was the Year of VDI. It’s already in the rearview mirror (though I don’t think the joke will ever die). 

At the start of 2021, I took on a new position, heading up product marketing. In this role, I (quite happily) still get plenty of airtime with customers. I also get to lead analyst relations, and through my many interactions with research analyst firms, including Gartner, Forrester, IDC, OMDIA, and ESG, I’m getting a lot of additional insights into what they hear from their clients.

If there’s one thing that has become clear to me as a result of these interactions, it’s that the next big challenge that needs to be addressed is making the remote (or hybrid, if you’d rather) work experience better for employees. And this is for all employees, whether they use VDI or DaaS, or if they primarily use a physical endpoint to do their work. Whether their apps are virtualized or run locally, if they are SaaS apps deployed in a browser, or unified communications tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, there is one thing we know: no matter where they are working or when, employees expect a frictionless experience when interacting with technology in the workplace, period.

No matter where they are working or when, employees expect a frictionless experience when interacting with technology in the workplace, period.

And the solution to this challenge? Digital Employee Experience (DEX) management.

2022 is going to be the Year of DEX (I’m calling dibs as the first person stating this publicly, and I strongly believe that we only have to state this one year, unlike the “Year of VDI”).

Employees are demanding remote work. HBR tells us that as many as 50% of workers have said they will leave jobs that don’t allow remote work, and IDC predicts that, by 2024, at least 60% of workers will work outside the office . Is your organization ready to make remote work better? No matter where you are on your journey of enabling your employees to work from anywhere, ControlUp can help make it all simple. 

Talk to us about how—set up a demo today!


About the author

Joel Stocker

Joel Stocker is a technologist's technologist. An industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in End-User Computing (EUC), he's held numerous technical field sales and product roles at Citrix. Never one to settle, Joel always seeks to unlock the super powers of ControlUp technology and expand its usefulness for our customers. All of this, paired with a genuine love of technology and the ways it can change business (not to mention incisive wit and witticism) helps him help our customers and partners improve their EUC infrastructure and deliver stellar end-user experiences.