The rate of technological change is faster than ever before. For businesses to keep up, they must have the technology their teams need to succeed. Join our experts, David Mayer and Brian Gatke, as they discuss how this change is impacting both the consumer and IT worlds.
Note: Complete audio transcript found after author info.
Published February 16, 2018
Annalili Chacon: Hello and welcome to Technomics where technology meets economics here at Insight. My name is Annalili Chacon and I’ll be your special host for today’s episode where we’ll be talking all about the end-user. But today I’m excited to introduce two very special guests. Both are highly respected, highly admired executives here at Insight and I have the pleasure of working with both of them very closely each and every day. Its been amazing. But first, I’d like to introduce David Mayer who is a VP and GM here at Insight for our Connected Workforce. He oversees services operations, David.
David Mayer: Hey.
Annalili Chacon: Welcome.
David Mayer: Morning, thanks for having me.
Annalili Chacon: We were just saying how you’re so used to doing this kind of stuff, so you must be excited.
David Mayer: Absolutely.
Annalili Chacon: Awesome, awesome. And then next dialing in from Austin is Brian Gatke. He’s our Director of Services. Another amazing individual, wears many different hats and has many different talents. Is that right Brian?
Brian Gatke: Thank you, yeah hi Annalili. Good to talk to you.
Annalili Chacon: Welcome, welcome. So thank you both for joining us today and thanks for joining me on today’s episode. So the connected workforce, this is kind of a new term if you will, or sort of a new way of thinking about IT in the marketplace if you will. Would you guys agree?
David Mayer: I definitely think so. I think the focus on end-user productivity has really taken on a new meaning which obviously we’re going to talk about today.
Annalili Chacon: Which is exactly what we’re going to talk about and more so, we’re going to start off with really what are the major drivers that are impacting this solution area. Let’s start with technology. I think its very known, its very common that one thing that’s consistent with technology is change. There’s the rapid pace of change that we’re all trying to keep up with and we’re all trying to deal with and trying to figure out exactly how we’re going to get ahead of it. Talk to me about how this pace of change is kind of impacting both IT and the consumer world as well. David?
David Mayer: Yeah, absolutely I can start that one for us. So I think that one of the biggest changes, I mean we’ve been talking about it for years, but is the concept of the consumerization of IT. But I think really in the last couple years what we’ve seen from our customers is this is really, really starting to take hold. So the expectation has really kind of fundamentally shift from the seat of the end-user in terms of what they expect to be able to do with technology when they come to work. So the ability for IT organizations to really keep up with that constant increase in expectation is really becoming a real challenge and one that’s very difficult to solve. So being able to provide an experience for your end-user that both meets their expectation of what technology should do and how they should be able to use that technology at work, but then be able to deploy it in a way that actually fuels employee productivity. So I can give you lots of cool tools, but not all of them are actually going to help you do your job better. So the balance of those two equations is really the secret sauce. So how do you improve an employee experience and candidly be able to meet their expectation of what its supposed to look like and what its supposed to do, but at the same time make them better at doing their job? That’s really the big challenge that IT organizations are facing today and what they’re up against.
Annalili Chacon: Talk to me about that experience and those expectations. What specifically are consumers and workers looking for?
David Mayer: Well workers assume that its going to be highly mobile. “Everything I do at my desk, I should be able to do from my phone. I should be able to do it from my tablet. Oh, by the way, I should be able to do it on the airplane.” So that always on, always available, always connected. Before, that was like the super nice to have and the cool people in first class were able to do it. Now that’s just the expectation that everybody’s going to be able to do it. And it’s now surprising to end-users if you can’t. So a complete flip-flop of where it was ten years ago to where it is today. So obviously, we’re going to talk from an IT perspective and Brian can probably dive into those in terms of what that means from an IT perspective. Because that’s now the bar of expectation. So that’s kind of like your point of entry anymore as opposed to the point of success.
Annalili Chacon: Yeah and so before we get into the IT side of the house, Brian, you actually mention, let’s dive in a little bit deeper. Let’s talk about this new type of worker, this digital native I think is the worker that you tend to describe a lot. Talk to us more about that so we can kind of wrap our heads around this. The topic of today’s discussion; this new end-user. Could you talk to us a little bit more about that?
Brian Gatke: Yeah, the digital native is, it’s not necessarily when you were born. Although it helps if you were maybe in high school when smartphones were around. You have a different way of looking and using technology. But digital native is a mindset. I think those out there that adopt these cloud architectures and use their devices to their fullest. These are digital natives, people that have embraced how technology is going to help them be productive, collaborate. Just really extensively use it is the way to go. That’s the digital native.
Annalili Chacon: I agree. I mean I’m so used to using technology day in and day out. I really do expect to have a very similar experience personally in my personal life than I do when I come into work. I want to be able to use any kind of device and still be as productive and get my stuff done. So with that, how does that impact IT? What is IT now faced with, with this new type of end-user and this digital native kind of generation if you will?
Brian Gatke: Yeah, it’s a moving target because of that. If in fact, you expect technology to do all of this that it does in your personal life, that’s the moving target for IT. And it’s a challenge because we have to think of it. And you know, we go out individually and we get a new phone or a new laptop and we’re thinking about one person, and one experience and we’re interacting with the cloud. Its very easy, its very agile. But when you’re IT, you have to think wow, I have just sunk millions of dollars into something, some sort of architecture or investment and I need to get its ROI. And that’s a few years away, and I’ve got to spend a lot of money to go and put something new in my environment. So these are much bigger decisions not to mention the security factor which is very different from the personal computing world to the corporate computing world. So that’s the moving target and the challenge for IT. And the good news is that technology is so rapidly changing, its also rapidly giving IT solutions to that. And some good examples are the way devices are modernizing. If we’re going into these cloud architectures, then the devices need to keep up, they actually need to work with cloud architectures. People don’t often think about that, but for IT, if security is a big concern, what we’re finding now is the big guys like Microsoft and so forth, they’re actually architecting their cloud so that security interacts with capabilities on the device and they’re almost solving that security problem that a lot of IT has and many things. So I guess in a nutshell, IT has a lot more challenges than the personal computing world to think about. But with all of this rapid change is coming a lot of solutions that can be put in place.
Annalili Chacon: David, do you have anything to add to that?
David Mayer: No, I think Brian summed it up great.
Annalili Chacon: So, talk to us about some of those solutions, Brian, that you mentioned.
Brian Gatke: Well, you know there’s in security. So for example, if I’m an IT decision maker and I’m trying to architect and get my users’ productivity to the cloud, let’s say I open up the Office Suite in the cloud, I’m now exposing all of my data and information up into the cloud.
Brian Gatke: But in fact, if I’m looking deeper at the technology, the cloud architecture not only being very secure, but for example, being able to remote wipe a device or being able to encase data on a device in such a way that it cannot be accessed. These are important aspects that are actually in the cloud architecture that is now leveraging the device to extend security all the way down to the device. That’s very important for a decision maker running an operation.
David Mayer: And I think, just to extend of Brian’s comment a little bit, its actually been a really interesting shift. Shameless plug, Insight’s Technology Index Survey that we just ran said that a majority of users that are making the decision to go to cloud because of security. If you rewound that statement five years ago, people were not going to the cloud because of security. So a little bit of an interesting flip-flop where the cloud providers have caught up and actually surpassed a consumers ability to secure their individual environment doing it in this massive cloud ecosystem. So a really interesting trend that for the first time when we asked that question this year, it flipped over in terms of more than 50% said they were going to the cloud for security as opposed of not going to it because of security. SO pretty interesting trend line there for sure.
Annalili Chacon: So that seems like its going to be, especially for a lot of larger companies, a lot of enterprise companies that aren’t quite ready to be or aren’t quite mostly cloud infrastructure don’t a have ton of cloud infrastructure. That seems like a journey for them. I think we’ve talked about this quite a bit, David and Brian, how the journey that its going to take for them to get there is pretty extensive. So I don’t know if we want to talk about that. So for a lot of these larger companies, now that they’re seeing the shift to more cloud based infrastructures, what is it really going to take for them to make that move?
David Mayer: Well that’s definitely a multi-pronged answer. How about I take some of the process and business strategy type scenarios and then we can let Brian dive into some of the IT stuff that supports that. So you’re right, it is a fundamental shift in how you go about building a strategy for budgeting, investing, and ultimately deploying the technology. So it’s a completely different paradigm that you’re working in and oh by the way as you correctly mentioned, for large enterprise organizations, you have to do it comanaged or hybrid, whatever term you want to come up with, but you have to go across this current bridge to go into the future. So we work with our customers to kind of take a step back and look at it from a lifecycle perspective from sourcing and procurement. If we start right at the beginning, are you going with the right scenarios from a contractual perspective that kind of match the financial model that you’re trying to build as an organization? Are you looking at the Op Ex versus Cap Ex and how are you managing that type of a change over, assuming that change over is what you want to accomplish? And then when you have these really heavy multi-million, sometimes multi-billion-dollar investments in on-premise IT, you can’t really just, I mean I guess you could just throw it out. But I don’t know that that would be a great financial decision. But how do you capitalize on and fully exhaust the investment that you already made and in doing so, cross this bridge over to the cloud world. So the ability to take all of these scenarios and repackage them in a cloud-based world is really the secret sauce from a business process perspective. And certainly, we talk with and work with our customers on a daily basis in terms of really designing out a current and future state in a process by which to bridge one to the other.
Annalili Chacon: Is anyone else doing this for customers, like actually consulting with customers in this manner?
David Mayer: I’d love to say no, but certainly there are other organizations out there, all of us come at it with a little bit different approach. The providers themselves, the big cloud providers: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc down the list. They certainly have a design and a methodology and a process by which they bring together. But I think organizations like Insight bring a very unique value proposition just because of the fact that they get to see it across the entire ecosystem. So its not just our cloud that we’re trying to deploy, we’re trying to help customers migrate into a cloud, whatever that one may be that best suits what they’re trying to accomplish. And oh, by the way, that cloud may consist of their own private cloud where they’re bringing a lot of these capabilities and strategies into their own data center and running it on their own behalf. But running it in this kind of cloud-based type of strategy. So Brian, I don’t know if you want to add anything to that form kind of the IT implementation side of that equation.
Brian Gatke: Yeah, I think you hit it with the comanaged. And when we say comanaged, we’re talking about pretty complicated architectures that are on-prem. They’re within the client’s data center, they’re controlled by their own system administrators, and on and on. That’s kind of a contained world. And it was up to how well they manage that. And its not always just a choice to go to the cloud, the technology is just going that way. You have to got to the cloud. Even licensing agreements, things that we don’t think about, they’re going to the cloud. But since a company can’t go to the cloud overnight, there is going to be components that go over a road map. And managing that becomes very difficult. Because once you go to the cloud you’re often changing your support model. For example, the cloud provider you chose is probably going to pick up a great deal of your operational tasks that you were doing yourself. And so that kind stresses the operations team, “Wait, we used to control our account access now that’s being done over here or possibly by a bot or some sort of automation? Not even human supported?” So this comanaged concept is really hot right now and things that we’re talking to our clients about and that is, “So we’re going to go to the cloud but we’re going to be on-prem and we’re going to help you support this, but not that.” It’s a very interesting conversation these days.
Annalili Chacon: That is interesting, it’s a lot. It seems like a very complicated, very complex all just to support this end-user. All to just support and provide this seamless experience to our workers and to the end-user so that they can be more productive, and so they can carry on and do their jobs seamlessly as I mentioned. And supporting that is, just like you mentioned, managing it and supporting it day to day is also a massive undertaking for companies and a lot of these companies, they’re not in the IT business. So what it takes to support them, regardless of the infrastructure, regardless of the technology that’s enabling them, must also just be very, very complicated as well. And I know I’m not articulating it as eloquently but I kind of want to learn more about that. And Brian, I know you with workplace services, this is definitely your wheelhouse. Talk to us about the support for the end-user.
Brian Gatke: Yeah absolutely and let’s go back to the end-user and the personal computing world is causing all this mess. Its actually keeping us employed. Again, going back to that convergence of personal and corporate computing and how different they are. But in fact, the corporate world just keeps chasing that personal computing experience. And so does the support. And everything that you can look at these days that we’re doing for our clients, its driven towards what is the personal computing experience about? So for example in supporting, we’ve had to go from traditional let’s say Level 1 service desk through Level 3 engineering to things that are far more self-serviced positions or automated, things that are supported by bots and so forth. So we’ve put a lot of investment in chat bots that a user can interact with and resolve themselves, probably 10-15% of the time. Meaning we no longer need users to call the service desk and get help. They actually help themselves. They reset their own passwords, they download their own software. All of these things that they’re accustomed to in our personal lives are now in the corporate support structure and on and on. I mean, we’re now into proactive resolution. And that is fixing users and they had no clue they’ve even been fixed because of all of this rich data that we’re able to look at and understand that those that might be experiencing some problem or those that might experience some problem in the near future can take care of that. So again, everything has changed when it comes to the support model and a lot of it you will see is actually how we experience it in our personal lives.
Annalili Chacon: How is that self-service, more automative support model impacting the bottom line and impacting IT overall and the help desk overall?
Brian Gatke: Yeah, it does come down to dollars and cents for a very minimal investment financially, we can create an automation that then scales infinitely to some degree. For example, build a chat bot that interacts with a knowledge base and you can open that up to millions of users. So now think of the dollars and cents of that. Whereas I used to have to staff a service desk with people to answer phones, all of the people that I have to work with, the chat bot is now obviously taking away from the labor which is the highest cost factor and on and on. And you can get into secondary and tertiary type costs like getting a user back to productivity quicker than if they had to call someone. So a common example of that is going up to a self -service portal, grabbing a piece of software you want. That’s done very quickly compared to calling someone or asking a question and having the bot go out and answer and get you going. So clear implications when it comes to cost of labor.
Annalili Chacon: Excellent, excellent. This has been great. We’re going to stop for just a quick break, but we will be right back so stay with us.
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Annalili Chacon: Alright well thanks for staying with us. We are back with our chat with David and Brian. So sounds like we are talking about a bunch of different scenarios. And these scenarios seem to be converging together. So David, Brian, talk to me about how Insight as a company and as a service provider, how we’re sort of revolutionizing this new way of thinking in the IT workspace.
David Mayer: Absolutely, so there’s this concept, this as a service concept where you roll a whole bunch of scenarios together and then deliver it back in per-something basis. So per-user, per-device, per-node, whatever the per- is. You deliver it back in this more subscription type of a model. So a lot of these topics we’ve been talking today about what we’re doing at Insight to try and encapsulate that. One of the examples of it, and there are many, one of the examples of it is what we refer to as Insight managed office. And so, IMO as we affectionally term it internally, is really about taking the end-user device. So the laptop, the desktop, the tablet, what have you, the cloud services and software that’s necessary for that user to be productive in their job, and then all the services to support it. And that’s a broad range of services. So from getting the machines set up appropriately so that the user can be productive, their identity, what they have access to and what they don’t have access to, the software itself, the support of the device, the support of that user, that chat bot that Brian was referring to in our last section. So taking all these different scenarios, rolling them together so that it becomes a seamless experience for the user. Because the new expectation, kind of like we talked about in the beginning is, I’m going to pull the thing out of the box, I’m going to hit the power button, and ta-dah, magic happens. And so that’s really our intention with Insight managed office is to create this experience where its extremely seamless for the end user, they hit the button, they change their password, and everything just happens. And then if for some reason, something happens, or they do something which wasn’t supposed to happen, our support organization is there to provide the necessary support 24/7 so that they can continue to remain effective. So Insight managed office, a lot of folks in the industry term it as device as a service, but we think it’s a lot more than that because its not just about a device, its about a complete end-user scenario that allows them to be productive because nobody wants to call one number if the device is broken, one number if I forgot my password, one number if I can’t get my email to work. They just want to call and say, “I got a problem, fix it.” And that’s really what we intend to do, and we think that Insight managed office is a way to deliver that experience on a per-device or per-user or per-month basis so that its very easy for our IT organizations to consume it and for end-users to be productive in what they do.
Brian Gatke: Absolutely, this is the closest thing to the personal computing world that I’ve seen. This is equivalent to you going down to the store and you getting your new phone or tablet and walking out. And that used to be a very labor-intensive process. Do you remember when you had to get all of your stuff migrated over from one device to the next? Now you go in and pretty much in ten minutes pick your phone, and you’re walking out, you’re just lighting it up because its all in the cloud. This is that for the corporate world. So we come in and we architect the cloud architecture so it is synchronous to the device and now the user simply logs in in their workspace, their digital workspace is there in the cloud. So as David was saying, it’s a device, it’s a licensing and architecture and then all the service wrapped around it. From an IT perspective, it’s a utopia. Because its now coming as a bundle. I don’t have to build images for 10 different device types in my environment, I don’t have to mess around with the cloud architecture and have deep understanding of tenants and configurations. I have a whole service layer bundled in this thing. So it’s really a utopia for clients, we do understand it’s a journey though, its not as if a 5,000 seat client can just buy 5,000 of these and viola. Of course, we’re helping them get to that place, but I think what’s really important for the industry to understand is this is how it will be. This is the computing structure and architecture of the very near future.
Annalili Chacon: So Brian, that’s interesting how this has now really come full circle and how Insight managed office is really Insight’s way of really meeting the needs of the end-user. And its just interesting how its still a fundamental shift for a lot of these corporations to be able to move to these cloud-based architectures so that they can really provide that experience for their workers. Because at the end of the day, that really is a really critical aspect for business productivity, for retention, talent retention. So it’s just very, very revolutionizing if you will and so its just very compelling to know that Insight is kind of pioneering this from what I understand.
Brian Gatke: Yeah and I’m glad you mention talent there, especially retention. And as I said earlier, this is just where its going. So it was natural for Insight to, as we do, look ahead and create something like this. But intention is an important topic because again, the digital native, this is the way that people want to use technology. This is they way they’re used to using it as we’ve said many times in their personal/corporate computing world. But talent, you have to adhere to their requests, their demands. So if you can put this in their environment and help the talent work the way they want, then you do have higher retention. And the talent pool is slim pickings if you don’t have the right technology for your users. They’re not going to stay, there’s some statistics out there that prove that especially digital natives, they’re going to make a decision to stay or leave based on the technology you provide for them. They’re not going to work harder just because the technology hasn’t been provided. So this also really satisfies that talent requirement for companies.
Annalili Chacon: Excellent. Okay well this has been very, very interesting. I love talking about this kind of stuff because it’s a very future almost type of topic on a very traditional way of thinking with IT. And I love that we as a team here at Insight are really at the forefront of all of that. And its been great working with both of you, David and Brian, and learning each day about this whole world and this new market. So you guys have been great and thank you both again for joining in for all of the listeners. Thanks so much for tuning in.