Business team holding up word balloons.

Breaking Up With Buzzwords: The Brass Tacks of Workplace Technology

18 Jun 2018 by Brian Gatke

It’s not that the terms “millennial workforce,” “gig economy” and “workplace of the future” don’t intrigue me — they’re sexy tech industry terms. It’s just that it’s time to start executing on them.

For a few years, buzzwords like these were trending quite high in the industry, and for good reason. When disruption occurs, everyone enters a research phase. We ask ourselves, “What exactly is happening here? Why is that?” We ponder and marvel, and we figure out where we fit in.

At some point, we have to apply what we learn.

I work with a lot of clients who have been coming to grips with the brass tacks. They want to know how to actually harness workplace technology to drive change. In the spirit of my interactions, here are some thoughts on what it really means to be in that tactical transition state.

Let’s start with the basics.

In the business world, unless you’re an iOS-based, born in-the-cloud small business, a conversation about modernization starts with the Windows Operating System (OS). Windows continues to be the heavyweight OS champion for enterprises, so that’s the lens the majority are looking through.

Over the next 20 months, Microsoft is forcing the hand of the industry on the retirement of Windows 7. The upgraded, cloud-powered OS comes at a time when cloud centricity is projected to redefine productivity, so migrating is a win-win situation … right? A no-brainer?

Did you know? We were honored to be named the 2018 Microsoft Worldwide Modern Desktop Partner of the Year for our expertise around Windows 10. You can read more about that win in this press release.

It’s a little more complicated than that.

Many organizations’ foray into the cloud has been through Office 365. But that’s where most of them have stopped. A lot of IT decision-makers convinced their C-level execs that Office 365 was enough. And while it’s an important step (one that yields big productivity gains), the jet way that leads to a holistic transformation via the cloud is a short one — and Office 365 alone won’t support a proper takeoff.

Windows 10 is a clear gateway (a required component, really) to embracing Azure, Enterprise Mobility + Security, InTune — platforms that enable a fully cloud-centric, mobile-centric architecture.

Speaking of mobile-centric: Launching a mobile initiative has a lot of moving parts. This no-nonsense guide covers how to approach each one.

So, on the one hand, I interact with one camp of people who haven’t moved to Windows 10, and many of them are now feeling the urgency to do so. The other camp of people I come across has indeed migrated, but they’re starting a few fires for themselves.

1 billion hits

If you do a Google search on “How to make Windows 10 look like Windows 7,” you’ll get more than a billion results.

Google search depiction showing that 1.190 billion results display for How to make Windows 10 look like Windows 7

Note the astounding search volume, which tells us the industry and our clients are not fully ready for Windows 10. It’s more than migrating to a new OS; it’s about businesses changing their long-term perception of Microsoft’s expertise and the future of device usage and management.

Spending your engineers’ time making all of the settings of Windows 10 behave like Windows 7 means exhausting resources to counter what Microsoft has worked hard to build and refine. Modifying any OS always runs the risk of causing issues, including security gaps, driver problems, service conflicts and the ensuing hassle of keeping up with those issues.

More insight: Harvard Business Review’s 2018 study on IT leaders reveals some telling information about the workplace tech experience.

Step by step

Moving the productivity layer to the cloud and implementing Single Sign-on (SSO) was a great first step. From there, you need to move identity, systems management and collaboration platforms to the cloud as well.

But the most important next transition, by far, is moving Active Directory to Azure. Doing this will really affirm the role Windows 10 plays in Microsoft’s modern management model.

And not to apply more pressure, but remember: The clock has started ticking on keeping Windows 10 in the current version. So embarking on the journey now is important.

I say that because as Insight helps clients with these next steps, we’re seeing a great deal of anxiety in response to the disruption lessening every day. It’s the right move, and it’s paying off.

Have you migrated yet? This infographic makes the case for why moving to Windows 10 is such an imperative.

Blaze your trail — but trust the process.

As the industry moves toward a true convergence of mobility and PC, the old way of dealing with end-user devices is becoming obsolete. And in my mind, Microsoft is technologically moving the industry in the right direction.

By evolving your platforms the way Microsoft intended, your organization will be better primed for transformation down the road — when the standard becomes managing PCs in the identical way we manage mobile phones, and those PCs behave like mobile phones.

Organizations just need to trust that journey. That’s when they’ll be able to execute on “how” — the right way.

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About Brian Gatke
Director, IT Services Practice, Sales and Delivery

Brian uses his more than 20 years of IT and end-user services experience to help organizations connect their workforce and transform their end-user support strategies.

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