Dec. 20, 2021

Increasing Employee Happiness with Proactive Digital Workspace Strategies

Increasing Employee Happiness with Proactive Digital Workspace Strategies

This week, Ryan swaps stories with Mike Schumacher, founder of Lakeside Software. They discuss how the digital workspace has evolved, the importance of the endpoint, and the value of adopting proactive tools and processes.


  • How the digital workspace has evolved over the past decade
  • Using data and analytics to be more proactive in improving the digital workspace
  • Understanding user personas, critical apps, and devices
  • Importance of delivering great quality service to employee happiness and retention
  • Advantages of edge computing
  • Changing role of IT from cost center to an enabler of the business

Meet Our Guest
Michael Schumacher is the Chief Strategy Officer and founder of Lakeside Software. Prior to founding Lakeside Software, he led the division as a director of software engineers at Cubix Corporation, where he directed product development. At Telebit Corporation, he oversaw the department as an engineer for network products. Mike has long experience as an engineer in the field of software and has worked for ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards bodies, contributing significantly to technology development. He holds a master's degree in information engineering from the University of Michigan.

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Ryan Purvis  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In the series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they're facing, how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, that'll help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.

Welcome to the digital workspace week's podcast. Mike, do you want to give a short introduction to yourself?

Mike Schumacher  0:35  
Sure. I'm Mike Schumacher. I'm the founder of Lakeside Software, I'm still involved in the strategy and kind of product planning in the big picture. And you know, a lot of kind of special projects that help the company succeed to the market, and I still enjoy chapter tunity is to talk to a lot of our key customers and partners and, and really still excited about the whole digital workspace world.

Ryan Purvis  1:02  
Great. And on that topic, what does digital workspace mean to you?

Mike Schumacher  1:06  
You know, it's interesting digital workspace to me is the most important tool that most knowledge workers in the world use today. It's if you think about, you know, what are we living in a data world, and if you think about the people that work with that data, the tools, the digital tools that they use, on an on a day to day basis are absolutely critical to their happiness, you know, overall and in doing their jobs to to their success, to to their productivity, you know, it's one of these rare cases for me where both, you know, when you when you improve the quality of a digital workspace, everybody's happier, the employer is happier they get, they get more productivity, more results, and the employee is happy to they they know they have a better working experience less frustration, and then their end customers for whatever, whatever business they're in, they benefit from a higher quality of service, too. So I think that it to me that the digital workspace is that is the most important tool facing and that knowledge workers use in the market today.

Ryan Purvis  2:12  
Yeah, I mean, and this is how we started our friendship 10 years ago, I had to grow with us all about that. And I mean, now that now the rest of the world is sort of caught up with the pandemic being forced to, to understand all these things, because now everyone's been pushed out of offices, where it was a controlled environment, into their homes were to this controlled environment and poor connectivity and working remotely have a accentuated or highlighted gaps in the workplace.

Mike Schumacher  2:42  
Yeah, I think even even more, so you've even got hybrid work now where people work, you know, from the office large largely for collaboration purposes, and then they work independently from wherever they are. So it's not even just, you know, working from home, it's working from the office and working from home and maybe working from the road or wherever you happen to be. So it's a, it's a, it's definitely a different world from from where, from where we were a couple of years ago. You know, I think if you think about, you know, when we first met about, you know, the world was just kind of figuring out that the, that the data was valuable. I mean, think of all the things that that you know, if you think back 10 years ago is a different a different time and a different world.

Ryan Purvis  3:22  
What exactly, and I think the maturity of of organizations, in those days, there were probably I could count them on your hand, people that were looking at this stuff, to not only just to look at it from a measurement point, but also to manage it with proactive measures, restarting machines, doing automatic disk cleanups, located end user health schools to make sure they get the best experience and looking at the productivity loss from a poor environment.

Mike Schumacher  3:48  
Yeah, I think that we're still just scratching the surface on on what's possible with with using that data to to your advantage? You know, I think, I think it all kind of begins with what kind of having a good system of record because you can't really improve and optimize things that you can't see, you know, so So measuring it is on the path to, to improving it for sure. But I think I think that we're still using, you know, I think relatively early days of what's possible with with automation and improvement.

Ryan Purvis  4:24  
Yeah, it's funny, the way you mentioned, you mentioned that because a lot of the problems we have these issues is it's all about opinions. Well, we think it's this we think it's we think it's that causing the latency or the machine's not working because we think it's a hardrock problem. But when you got the data you can actually ascertain with a with a much less opinionated table, a much, much more empirical view. That actually is something it is the hard part is memory. The CPU

Mike Schumacher  4:49  
is there's actually a great analogy. Some years back, the the PGA tour started cataloging all of the shots that players Back in the days before that, they'd go out to the course arrive early, you know, play the course talk to the locals learn how to score on the course. And when they started cataloging all of the shots in the in the results, they found that a lot of times the information that the locals had, the advice that you would get, actually wasn't always the best advice. Because because the data showed something different. And I think really, the, you know, the same thing is true, probably many times over in the digital workspace world where having the data really starts to show where the problems are, and and maybe more importantly, allows you to become proactive, you know, being reactive, is is, you know, the the way that most of the world still works. But the proactive side of that of being able to figure out which things impact the most people, which applications are critical to their jobs, it really needs to be right. It's that that ability to be to be proactive, I think really is kind of a game changing technology.

Ryan Purvis  6:03  
Yeah, you're so right. I mean, that that was always the goal we have, and I wish those organizations was to be proactive. And you know, by identifying those core systems, or services to the end user, you took away a lot of the noise as well, because you could prioritize where your work was focused. Too often, you you firefighting everywhere. But by having good data, you can make good decisions.

Mike Schumacher  6:23  
Okay, that that whole persona notion, right? I mean, I mean, you've been involved with that for a long time, it's really understanding I probably have, I probably have 50 applications on my, on my, on my Surface. But realistically, there's about four or five of them that I just have to have, and a lot of the other ones, if you took it away and replaced it with something else, it doesn't, it doesn't really matter to me, I you know, it's kind of it's kind of extra, I mean, it's easy, it's useful, but it just isn't isn't so important. But really, if you can kind of understand, which are those critical applications and focus your energy on making sure that the experience when you're using those is great, a lot of good things happen. So what

Ryan Purvis  7:03  
do you think about the move to more browser based applications? Do you think that's gonna reduce the need to carry a circus around or something like that? Or do you think there'll always be a laptop or an equivalent?

Mike Schumacher  7:15  
Well, I think you're gonna have some kind of a device. I mean, I think I think, whether you're using installed apps, or using web apps, or using published apps, or whatever, whatever technology you're using, you've got to access that app somehow. So to me, everything is about the user. Like it's a user centric thing. I want to know what what Ryan's experience is. And to me, the device that you're using is, like, you know, is an attribute of Ryan, it's the device you happen to be using today. You know, maybe maybe tomorrow, you'll be on a different device, you know, I know, I know, I use two or three different different things, I use a VM, I use my surface, I certainly use a cell phone, you know, and I think all of these things are kind of part of the way that I work. And so I think you really have to look at it as a, as a user centric thing. And the device is an attribute of the user. I think when you look more narrowly at cloud apps, which I think you know, I use a ton of cloud apps, and I'm sure just about everybody does, I think you only place that you're going to get interesting, you know, useful data in order to to to ensure the quality of that service and to improve it is going to be at the endpoint because you can't, if you have if you have 10, cloud cloud app providers, you can't instrument the their clouds, right? I mean, they're, they're providing a service to you the only place that you can really instrument it is out at that endpoint. I think Gartner has called it the privileged vantage point. I think it was many years ago that they that they coined that phrase. But I think that really is true that that it's the only place where you can really kind of see what the user's actual experience is like.

Ryan Purvis  8:58  
Yeah, I mean, so right. If you look at the the Amazon outages last week, there's no evidence or information shared with any of us to why they were down or, or what have we done about it. So the only information you can get is off what you can control, which in most cases will be the endpoint. And that's all about the user again, and giving them the right tool. So as I'm similar to yours in the sense that I use a mostly Apple products. So my iPad is my intermediate device, which is always in my bag. I've got my phone as well, obviously, which I can do some stuff on. And I'd be lost without without those two devices, I can get away with them 80% of the time. There's only certain applications that I go back to a laptop for and that just becomes a personal preference as much as a productivity bracket.

Mike Schumacher  9:46  
Yeah, I think you use whichever one is most convenient for you and helps you get your job done. You know, just like a carpenter building a house has a lot of tools in his bag and which tool he uses depends on what he's trying I have to do, right. I mean, if I'm if I'm, if I'm trying to try nails or hammers are pretty useful tool, you know, if I'm trying to to cut lumber then I, then I need a saw, you know, I think I think you have different tools for different jobs. And my guess is that different people might choose a different device for the same problem, because it's more convenient to them, they just find it more useful. And I think I think it's, it's really it's really about the user first. And the devices like sort of service is secondary. It's one of the tools.

Ryan Purvis  10:32  
Yeah, for sure. Sure. And I mean, in your experience, and how are you finding the enterprise maturing with these sorts of tools? And, again, end user experience? And that becoming a more known concept? I guess?

Mike Schumacher  10:50  
Yeah, I think it would be, you know, sort of cliche to say it's a revolution or something like that. But I think I think the up the uptake is everywhere. And but I think, I think really, if you even step back to the broader picture, I think everyone accepts the fact that that data is really useful, and can be used to do a lot of a lot of things and do a lot of things better. And I'm not talking just about digital workspaces I talk about the whole world is in isn't the business of using data to deliver a higher quality of service and something that's more useful to people. And I think, the the space that, you know, that I'm interested in, in digital workspace is, is no, no exception to that, I think that we're still really, you know, we're rapidly learning to take advantage of that data and do something about it. And I think the result really shows I mean, people get really great return on on on their time and investment on pursuing that sort of thing, because they end up fixing the problems that impact real people. And those people become happier. You know, we're in a, we're in a world where we're, you know, especially it and knowledge workers are really scarce, it's very hard to hire people right now. Because there's, there's just more jobs than there are than there are people to do them. And I think you make people more efficient, that helps. And, you know, it is also important to attracting and retaining people, you know, what, what tools you'll be using, when you're at that company working everyday is that is a factor in do I do I want to work there, I talked to a to a guy that managing a large hospital system, and he said that the application that they were using is kind of dated, and the physicians complained, it's hard to use, it takes too much time, they want to be doctors, right, that's what they want to spend their time doing. And so he said, they found it's a significant factor in their ability to retain their staff is that the quality of that service, and so, you know, anything that he can do to improve that, you know, they see more patients, they, they, you know, with with the same amount of people, but but maybe for him, he said, it's more important than that, it's the ability to retain my staff, because the quality of the tools they use really impacts their, their view of that world.

Ryan Purvis  13:05  
Yeah, I remember working for a real estate company, and there was a conversation, some CEOs saying that if we don't hire staff with with that, if we don't provide the sort of modern way of working, you know, an Apple have on a phone or an iPad or something like that. People want to want to come work for us, because they think we're old and archaic. Even if there's nothing, give them an option.

Mike Schumacher  13:29  
It's also it just bothers you, right? I mean, you know, it's like, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. If it affects your paycheck, it affects your happiness. Right. And, and, and the way you're doing your job, and, and nobody, nobody wants to work on stuff that's broken and difficult to use. So I think, I think as we improve, prove that experience, I could kind of where we started, like, everybody's happy, right? You know, because the employer is happy, the staff is happy, and the customer is happy, because they get a good greater quality of service. It just isn't that often that, that you come up with something where, where everybody, literally everybody wins. But I think this is this is is kind of one of those things.

Ryan Purvis  14:10  
Yeah, I agree with that. And I think if you, if you look at the there was a movement of sort of bring your own device to work. And I'd almost go as far as saying that it's bring your own app to work, in the sense that if you are comfortable with a set of tooling, you could almost see that tooling moving around with you. So you know, use a CRM example, if you've worked with Salesforce, any business you go into that and have a CRM or the serums. Performing, they'll end up with Salesforce, because it's a good experience that the the onboarding is good that the app works. It's got all the entry points you need from a mobile tablet, laptop point of view. And it almost becomes obviously religious, but it does drive a good experience because there's a itself sells itself the people sell it not the company trying to sell the software. And I think that's just the the byproduct what you're saying happy workers who've been productive elsewhere with liquid good tooling, and a good experience, accelerate the adoption elsewhere.

Mike Schumacher  15:16  
That's true. And I think you also have a large staff coming in, that is much more experienced IT savvy and digitally experience than then people were years ago. You know, I think that, that, that everybody does, it starts with, you know, one of my kids told me something, you gotta crack me up. He's, he's like, 16, it says of it. Like they gotta they got a 504? Or how embarrassing, you know, and I just thought to myself, wow, you know, like this is this is just the, the level where people come from, because they use the digital technologies, not just in their job, but they use it at home in a in a consumer experience. And I think that as, as they get more savvy, what what you were, what you were just saying is exactly what happens, which is they tend to want to bring their tools. And they want more importantly, they want that, that consumer like experience everyday in their job, like they expect when they're when they're at home? And why shouldn't they? Why shouldn't they have a, they say everyone should have that kind of experience. You know, there was a study recently that something like, like one in 100, digital workspace problems gets reported to it like one and 100. Because people just don't want to call the help desk, they struggle through it, they deal with it. But if you think about what that means, and think about what the opportunity is, in terms of making people happier, if you can, if you can just solve any, any small number of problems, people will start to have a much better experience. And I think that's where kind of that that proactive side of the world comes in.

Ryan Purvis  16:53  
Yeah, I remember we did some of the study. And we found that often the person wouldn't raise a ticket, because at the time, they would grow the muscle through the problem. Because their own deadline. And then when they got through the problem, and deliver the need to deliver, they felt that it wasn't necessary to raise ticket because it wasn't a pressing issue anymore. And often the person they were dealing with to help fix the issue knew less about the problem than they knew.

Mike Schumacher  17:20  
Yeah, yeah, well, and once they've solved it, they don't they don't need anybody's help anymore. I know how to solve that. Unfortunately, unfortunately, they go on solving the problem fixing that problem over and over and over again, because they know how and you know, you just accept that. But this is where this is where people's frustration tends to come from, because they start to feel like one of the you know, why do I have to deal with this all the time? And in? Sometimes the answer is because nobody knows that you're having the problem in the first place. Nobody's gonna fix it if they don't know. But I think that's, that's where that's where that the proactive side of the world really comes into play. And I think, I think that's making a difference for for many companies today.

Ryan Purvis  18:04  
Yeah, it's funny you say that, because I worked for an organization where there was a huge resistance to login a ticket. And what they would rather do is that wait till, you know, an executive comes in for the coffee break, meeting, and then they almost launch all the problems at this poor executive saying, Oh, this thing doesn't work, that thing doesn't work. And then ever get fed through the executive chain all the way back down to the to engineering, opposite. All these are big problems. And people still look each other up. We've never heard of these problems. Yeah, I've seen Yeah.

Mike Schumacher  18:36  
But when you check them out, it turns out they are a problem. Right? Yeah, it's real, you know, it just you just didn't know about it. And that's where that's where having that that ability to kind of, to kind of objectively see what's going on, without relying on people calling you and telling you that's, that's really, that's kind of really key. And I think that's where digital Workspaces are right now. You know, it's, it's harder. If you think about many companies, they manage their servers, they manage their data center, they manage power, they manage security, they manage their networking, they manage everything, right, except the edge, except the endpoints. But all of the user experience, all of the user experience occurs right at that edge. And so I think that, that, you know, the most important thing, in some cases is the one thing that they're not managing and, and that's and that really, I look at that it's really opportunity. It's really, it's really an opportunity.

Ryan Purvis  19:35  
Yeah, no, I remember that. I mean, I mean, we're moving from from JPMorgan to to another company, you know, big bank, given these encrypted, everything's got controls and risk, you know, because it's part of the part of the culture to this organization where none of that was in place. And it was it was the biggest shell shock because you knew that there was a certain level of things that should have been in place that weren't in place. And you could talk to the operational guys on the floor. And they were just chasing all these problems all the time, because there was none of the basics, you know, centralization, monitoring tools, processes to scale, you know, proactiveness, none of those things were there. And you could just never see them getting ahead of the problem. Always gonna be behind.

Mike Schumacher  20:22  
Yeah, well, that's the benefit of proactive, when you start to see when you start to get a win, is that every little win you get there, is amplified and reduces the reactive side of the world, you know, and it's a hard thing to get used to, because you're really, really busy. In the reactive world, you don't have any spare cycles to start being proactive. But if you can find a way to just get a little bit of a start, what happens is you start to take a dent out of the reactive side, and then you start to have more cycles. And as you have more cycles, if you put those back into being more proactive in fixing more things, you have even more cycles. And so you, you once you, it's hard, it's hard to get that ball started. But once it's rolling, it tends to pick up speed. And I don't think that means and by the way, that reactive, will entirely go away, I there will, there will always be some amount of that that happens, because some errors are, you know, self inflicted, you know, it's a user user made a mistake, and they need help. Nothing wrong, they just, they just need help. They need training, they need to know how to do something, or just unusual things. I think that'll still be there. But I think as as people get better and better at proactive, more incidents will be resolved will be avoided that way, then we'll be fixed, you know, the, the reactive way?

Ryan Purvis  21:49  
Yeah, you're so right. You know, I remember we started I productive stuff 10 years ago, and and you start seeing the first sort of things coming through and just just just just doing it this cleanup, yeah, such a simple exercise, or forcing a machine to reboot. Because you have the data, you do the monitoring, you can see the health scores go up, you can see tickets go away, because that's really what you're trying to avoid, in most cases is tickets being created. Usually, because tickets got $1 value to it. Because using an outsourced team, you know, sort of level one, level two, so there's a push for the company, you're saving money, but for the end user giving them a better experience, because you're proactively fixing. And you're changing their perception of it. You know, it is just those guys with this probably got to go to them. And they always tell you, it's hard. But now you're showing them what you can do something in a good way that proactively fixes the machine, which is a good use of automation.

Mike Schumacher  22:46  
Yeah, I agree. If you think the example I was like is is like he, you have crashes that occur. And, you know, people restart the app, and they continue on Yeah, a little frustrated, maybe I lost a little bit of work, maybe I didn't. But but but the the that that crap, those crashes happen. And, you know, when you when you start to actually pay attention to that, and you start to catalogue those, and you start to look at, at, you know, at their, their crash signature and figure out which ones are the same and which ones are different and start to say, well, you know, this one only happens on Ryan's system, okay, it's his system, there's something wrong on that system to fix. Whereas, you know, you look at this one and say, Wow, this is impacting like, like, 1000s of people in our organization, I have the ability to go out to the, to the to the vendor of that application and say, Hey, I've got 1000s of people. And this is the crash signature. And I can give you as many examples as you as you'd like to see. And by the way, I can tell you, what's happening leading up to that, you know, about system resources and what it's connected to, I can give you all that data to help that vendor, fix that problem. Sometimes you can go out and look at it community wide data and say, well, not only is this happening in my organization, but it's happening to lots of organizations. You know, there's no point in me Kenna kind of chasing that internally on a reactive basis, I'll go get a hold of the vendor and try to get it fixed. But if you don't have that data, you don't you don't see it in the first place. It just keeps on happening. This is where that the other 99 problems that don't get reported happen, you know, it crashes and people go, you know, farmer I hate that, you know, but but but I deal with it, I restarted in life continued again, I don't call anybody, I don't tell anybody, I just deal with it. So I think that that proactive side is, is just really powerful.

Ryan Purvis  24:37  
Yeah, yeah, I think it's the way the future, though. I mean, we remember looking at, well, I suppose a couple things this one was with with having a base build, which which is your standard for your machines, or your proactive fixes, fixes become built into your new builds, your build becomes more stable. And then you build new new projects. To fixes. So you're spending your time consistently optimizing your your base image, which becomes your corporate, build your laptops or your videos or whatever. And it becomes so finely tuned that it starts branching out into the services that support it. So go back to our Salesforce example, you can do much with that, because it's cloud based. But jargon, you could fix your, your network connection to add to the to the internet, you could improve your firewalling, because now you're not so much hampered by all these reactive situations.

Mike Schumacher  25:35  
Yeah, or by the resources that it takes your browser to run that app. That that that's a factor two, I think that I think one of the challenges with with the whole proactive thing is, there is a lot of data involved. I mean, there's a lot of data in the reason is that there's so many things that that that can go wrong, you know, why would you? Why would you possibly care about recording the USB device usage history on a system? Why would you possibly care about that? Well, most of the time, you probably don't. But if you're planning, you know, for the next device, you might care about that. And maybe more importantly, maybe the problem you're trying to solve is related to a change in the device history, you're just picking like one one tiny little example. But there's, there's so many things that, you know, that are that are possibly feeding into problems, it leads to needing to, to build a really, really high quality system of record, that can hit that can be both deep and wide. I've just I've just learned that over the years that you know that having having the information, I guess my parallel would be like, in the airline industry, right. They've, they run a blackbox on the airplane, they, they, they keep that data, most of the time, they collect the data, the data gets old, the data gets deleted, nobody needed it, right. But the one time when, when you really need that data, its value is is incredible. But in order to make it happen, you got to collect a huge amount of information all the time so that when something does go wrong, you have the ability to solve that problem. The first time with one example. And I think that's a that's a challenge in our in our business. But there are architectural ways to do that. And I think it's possible with I know, it's possible with the technology we have today.

Ryan Purvis  27:29  
You look at planes, and it's almost surprising that they aren't feeding their data, that black box isn't streaming through some satellite system to a centralized Hubble or nearby, hub, wherever it goes. It makes 370. And it's disappearance

Mike Schumacher  27:46  
of I think the reason, the reason is that, that, that the amount of data that's collected, the number of things that's recorded at the frequency of that recording, is an extraordinary amount of information. And even if you did that, you would still have cases where you know the conductivity is lost. Now the records are incomplete, right? You it's exact parallel to digital workspaces with workers that are working all over the place, sometimes you don't have that conductivity, but you really want to have that record. And most of the time, the vast majority of the time, nobody actually needs all of that information. It's only when I'm looking at a specific kind of problem that happens. And this is, to me, this is this is where the power of edge kind of factors in you know, cloud, you know, you know, for our company, just about all new product that we sell is our is our cloud platform, we still have an on prem platform where there's certain unusual cases where that makes sense. But most almost all customers are on the Cloud Platform. However, just being a cloud platform doesn't mean that we don't use any edge computing, you know, that that really high quality system, a record that's recording an incredible amount of data. incredible amount of data, I think, if we looked it up at a bank recently that has something like 100,000 systems, I think we were recording, like, like, like three or 400 million samples per second across across that enterprise. And it seems like a huge amount, but when you use edge computing, it's super cheap, right? I mean, you can keep it right at the edge, you can do it and no one will even we use almost no resources at all to do it. Just like in the airline industry. We're just keeping it in that blackbox recorder and then you send to the to the ground station for an airplane to the cloud for my kind of thing. You said just certain kind of summary data. Most of the time, you know, you want to know what the what the aircraft ideas, you want to know the altitude you want to know the airspeed, right. I mean, you can send those things all the time. But you can really keep the high quality or the high high resolution data very cheaply. Right, right, right. in that in that blackbox recorder, and I think I think we do exactly the same thing for exactly the same reasons.

Ryan Purvis  30:05  
Yeah, that makes sense. When you think about productive solutions, you fix them at the edge. But you give the feedback to the central brain, if you like to say, Well, we had this issue on this device, so we fixed it, that goes into the central policy that gets calculated as part of a next set of, of fixed rules if you'd like. And that gets pushed down to all the ages again, to say, Well, if you if you have this problem in the future, try the solution first, then, if that doesn't work, try this one. And you have a more intelligent system. Learning from these feedback loops.

Mike Schumacher  30:39  
Exactly. And you know, the conductivity is, when the conductivity is there, you know, which, you know, in today's world, mostly is, it's very easy to reach out to that edge and graduate, grab anything that you that you need, when you want that level of detail. So you don't really, you know, you don't really lose anything, it's just that the the advantage of edge in terms of in terms of scalability, in terms of mobility, in terms of dealing with lack of lack of connectivity, sometimes there's advantages and privacy, you know, where, you know, you don't have to send all that information to a central thing, just keep it right on the machine itself close to where the data is, is advantages there. There's, there's just so many reasons. And you know, I think you point to, to one of the one of the really great ones, you know, there's a Peter Levine paper some some years back that really did a nice job of, I think it was like the end of cloud computing or something like that, which was, you know, kind of tongue in cheek, right. But the point was really, that there are a lot of things that make sense as edge computing complementing what a cloud does, where cloud can be your kind of sometimes your command and control, but sometimes you need to make decisions very rapidly, in real time. And doing that from an Edge platform, make makes a ton of sense. And I think in the digital workspace world, that's especially the case where the ability for that for that endpoint to be able to make its own decisions and act on it in real time is important. You know, my classic example is, think about, you know, you're you're working remotely somewhere, and you got a problem with your wireless adapter. Well, hopefully, you've got enough intelligence on the edge and enough autonomy that you can that you can run automation and fix it without having to talk to the cloud, because the whole problem is you can't talk to the cloud. So you know, that that edge computing action, I think, you know, that that you just described is, is a is a win,

Ryan Purvis  32:32  
win, that's probably the most common situation, part of the pandemic, people traveling around and having issue a hotel, trying to use the Wi Fi, and they can't get on or they get on the Wi Fi, but it's so poor, they can't get the VPN connected, or something like that. And, and that's when you realize how much help you need from a technical technical person or a support desk, that how difficult that is to assist with remotely if you can't get connected? Yeah, that's right, all these sort of tools. So it's a Yeah, it's always a conundrum, to try and fix all those or perceive all those problems. But that's where the data was makes such a big difference, if you've got the patterns that you can see, these things are causing.

Mike Schumacher  33:12  
Yeah, I think I think the world you know, it's a it's a combination of cloud and edge computing that, you know, that makes a lot of architectural sense in my world, for what I work on. And I think in a lot of things, it does make make a ton of sense. But in any case, it the key is, the key to all of this is really having, you know, the the high quality data of what people are trying to do and how well it's working, or not working and enough details to be able to fix problems and the ability to proactively, you know, front of things, fix things before people actually complain, you know, it's just, it's game changing for a customer. It's it's the first time that that the the architectural team calls help desk and said, hey, you know, we've we've got this proactive problem here that we've discovered today, we're working on fixing it, you may get some calls today, you know, about people struggling with this, don't need to take it at we're already working on resolving or even a step better. put a note in the ticket when the user goes to, you know, to try to report it. It comes up and says Now there's an IT bulletin says, Yeah, we're having problem with that app today. And we already know about it, or can fixing it. And you don't need to ticket it. You can save 1000s and 1000s of tickets and the people that were just answering calls and telling people that, hey, we already got that fixed. We're already working on that maybe that time is better spent doing doing other things. And when you change to that, to that proactive model, it's just like your your whole view is your your view of the way you run it is permanently different.

Ryan Purvis  34:51  
Yeah, that changes perception. We had a survey when it comes with it was the number one problem. Things weren't fixed. What whatever whatever the reasons were, and just by saying that you're aware of it, that gets the AHA, okay, at least they know about, I don't have to raise ticket, they're on the ball, and it puts confidence back into the service they're getting, which means when you have a conversation with somebody else, maybe investing more in, in new hardware or something like that, you're starting from a confident place with it as knowing what they're doing versus it, that's not in a good position.

Mike Schumacher  35:26  
Yeah, quantify business impact, right? When you can, when you can show what you're doing to make the business better. It just, it just changes the way people's perception of it fundamentally, and, and I think, really, if you think even take a wider view of digital workspaces, and say, you know, this actually impacts more than it people this impacts, HR, you know, it affects how happier people it affects, it affects their their, their retention, it affects planning, it affects, it affects so many different things. And so many parts of the job, I mean, look at your own work at a couple of really large banks and all the uses that you found for data that weren't it, that at least they weren't strictly it.

Ryan Purvis  36:14  
Yeah, join a move a lever, that that's a fantastic process. I mean, what a fantastic use of data for a process, because you have someone coming in, they're taking on a role, you know, what the role had with the person who had the role before had in the sense of applications or security access, or the device that we're using. So you can order the right device, you're not spending potential, and they're super funds buying it over over spec machine. But you're also giving the person that joins all the accesses, they need to make the onboarding a lot better. And then if someone's moving roles, you're taking the access away, and you've given them the access they need for the new role. So that's from a security point of view, quite a big deal. And then again, you know, the right choice for the right hardware, to everyone feels like the much better experience because you're giving them almost a white glove experience. But just using

Mike Schumacher  37:10  
I completely agree completely agree. I had one just really classic example a customer who, who ended up using the day they're building a new building. And they're moving people from some of the people from several other buildings moving into a department into this new thing. And they're trying to figure out how big of a parking lot do we need, you know, because they don't, they don't all work the same shift. They work different times, you know, and somebody said, Well, they're all knowledge workers. And we know, we can easily produce a currency map, show us how many people are logged in, by day, a given period of time, and they ended up using the data to size their parking lot, you know, because we know how many people are going to be here at any point in time. And then somebody even said, Well, look, we can look at the steepness of the curves on Monday morning and Friday afternoon and know how many lanes we need, you know, for in and out of the parking lot. And I just loved it, not so much because it had like a gigantic impact. But just because it was a really novel use of what normally would be pretty it ish kind of data in a really non it kind of kind of way. And I think that I think there's so much opportunity to do that it really, for customers to create business impact, that that's, that's meaningful that goes even beyond it.

Ryan Purvis  38:28  
Oh, yes, that's such a good example. I was thinking about the airports. And I've seen these sort of red green lights. When you park the airport, it tells you that you've taken the spot so that they can count how many parking spaces are open versus closed. And that just saves your time with wasting time driving around looking for a parking spot. Yeah,

Mike Schumacher  38:46  
yeah, go to the third floor, right? It's Yes, it's the same, it's the same, same exact parallel using the data to make people happier, because that person that's driving around in that parking lot. It's not very fun. You know, it's very stressful, you know, if you can, if you can solve that problem for people you'll have you'll have a happier customer.

Ryan Purvis  39:06  
Definitely. If you look at the the average business that you show you sort of talk to I mean, is there a sense now, that I mean, obviously more now with a pandemic than before? But is there a sense now that they're going more mobile first, versus office? First? I mean, that this sort of cloud to edge analogy is the same as being in the office versus working on outside. Are you seeing something along those lines from your conversations?

Mike Schumacher  39:36  
Yeah, I mean, it's a broad mix, right. And it's a pretty fluid fluid situation these days. In the world in general, I if I had to kind of, you know, say, what do we see the most? I think we see it wanting to provide flexibility. They want to be in a position where, you know, if we all wanted to work at the office, we could no problem if we all wanted to work remote. We could. I think I think people are A lot of organizations are settling on a hybrid model where, where it's great for people to get together and collaborate and be a team and do their collaboration, kind of kind of live when they can. I think it's, it's, it's fun. And you do get a little bit of that one plus one equals three, you know, or one plus one equals 11. Yeah, sometimes kind of, kind of feeling. But I think there's also a recognition that, that people have parts of their job that that really don't require that collaboration. And sometimes people can be productive wherever they are. And and you really want people to to be happy and to to maximize productivity. So I think I think I would answer that question by saying, most of my customers, it's very important to them right now to be able to support a a hybrid or a anywhere kind of model. So you know, we're prepared to have everybody work remotely, we're prepared to have everybody work in the office, and we're prepared to have any combination that kind of makes sense for the business where it is just going to facilitate that flexibility for the rest of the business.

Ryan Purvis  41:12  
Yeah, awesome. So you said because you think about hiring now, it used to be that you only hired people in a geographic location? To to your business? Yeah, because you had to have a list of lists, automatic tax implications, that kind of stuff. But, you know, if you if you wanted to hire someone, they had to be traveling distance to office. But nowadays, you can hire anyone, as long as they're timezone appropriate. Really? Yeah.

Mike Schumacher  41:36  
Yeah, well, we're having this, this chat today, over 1000s of miles, right? We can, we could be setting I have my coffee, we could be sitting sitting in the same place having coffee, and that surely would be nice to see you. I would enjoy that personal basis, but But it works quite well, the way the way we're doing it. And yeah, where, where you need, you know, where you can't find enough people in the in the geo that you're that you used to look in, I think that's a plus, it's also sometimes specialists that you need that, you know, they, they aren't everywhere, you can't find them everywhere, and, and that that flexibility to be able to, to hire people, wherever they are, I think is is a real plus, sometimes.

Ryan Purvis  42:18  
Yeah, I think you you can also live it leverage the timezone differences, you know, someone's a couple hours ahead of, you know, you benefit from them working for you come online. And in the same token, you've got the time zones behind you, that you finished working for the day, and they can carry on working on something. So you really get a, you know, in very commerce a full use of 24 hours. Because you're committed to moving forward, but now you've got the technology to just sort of do the handoffs as you go, to keep things keep the momentum up.

Mike Schumacher  42:52  
Yeah, and that, that, you know, that takes you into, into being careful that you have the right work in home balance, you know, when you're running in that model, you know, especially, you know, sometimes managers tend to be become, you know, 24/7 creatures, which is not helpful. It's another nice thing you can do with, with data, if you need it, you know, making sure people are not, you know, are not working 24/7, because, you really, if you're like, if you're like my company, you really value your your people, your people as your your most important asset by a longshot. And you really want them to be to be healthy for the long term, you really you really want to retain them forever, and you want them really tip to be to be happy. And because it translates into better staff better quality work, it's better all the way around. I think there's there's opportunities to to do that with data to to have to have the automation remind people hey, you know, you need, you need to I think I think that there is a strong need for that kind of thing to to protect people as as important and really, really the most important part of most companies.

Ryan Purvis  44:05  
Yeah, I think you saw, right. And if you look at the way smart devices have played their part, I mean, my watch all time and I need to get up and go for a walk. I was talking to someone this week about notifications on your desktop to save time for a break, you've been sitting for too long, you know, the actual desktop telling them as opposed to their, their smart device. But also as part of the sort of daily chicken asking a person how they feel because you're not seeing them physically all the time. You can't pick up the sort of behavioral changes of someone that's going through a rough time or you know, just need someone to have a chat with them. Yeah, and also, I find people don't like to use their cameras. So you're also listening that the facial or the body language expressions, that can also give you a hint that maybe you need to have a side chat and see if they're okay.

Mike Schumacher  44:56  
Yeah, yeah, I think all all of those things. or true and it has to do with with really, again, if you if you look at it's it's it is job to support a healthy working model, whatever that whatever that model is whatever is best for the people. That's what you should do. And then it should, you know, facilitate that, you know, unfortunately, that's a hard job for it to do. It's much more complicated, but I think it's, it's, it's something that, that everyone is, you know, the organizations we deal with are stepping up and and providing a way to do that. Yeah, I

Ryan Purvis  45:31  
mean, I think it is a nice position change for it. I know, we talked a lot of it in this call. But it's a nice change in the sense that it's moving away from being often the cost center. That's a begrudging purchase, to a part of the solution or an enabler for the business to, to get more value quicker, or accelerate.

Mike Schumacher  45:56  
Yeah, I think measuring business impact, you know, we talk about that a lot. It's, it's how can you if you can show me if I'm, if I'm the business owner, if you could show me, you know, what I'm going to get for that investment. And what what I realized it's really easy to fund a lot of things if I'm getting that kind of that kind of return. But if you can't really measure that impact, it's a lot harder, because it feels like just feels like we're putting so much money into into it. And I don't really know what I'm getting out of that, that that ability to, to measure that and report on it, I think, I think is is a healthy thing for everybody.

Ryan Purvis  46:37  
Yeah, know for sure. For sure. I think it's it's about a balance of what someone says, you know, rising waters rise all boats or something. It's the same thing. Yeah. All of us.

Mike Schumacher  46:52  
Yeah. Yeah, it, it is true.

Ryan Purvis  46:56  
Great. Well, thanks so much for coming on to the podcast. Is there any way that you'd want people to get in contact with you if they're interested?

Mike Schumacher  47:03  
You find me on LinkedIn easily. Not hard to find where you'll find the company and what we do with digital workspaces at Lakeside Software comm. And we'd be happy to to follow up with with anybody and I guess my my message to people is I really look at a digital workspaces and the the data science and the ability to become more proactive is really as an opportunity. It'll, it'll really, you can become a hero for your organization. And you can really make a positive difference that that again, it's rare opportunity to make the business happy, the employees happy and your customers happy, all with the same with the same thing. It really, it really feels great to get those kinds of wins. And it's been great chatting. I appreciate the opportunity.

Ryan Purvis  47:56  
Thanks so much, Mike. Yeah, you sir. Is uh, it's always good to chat. And I'd hopefully they send me chat. We'll be in Michigan somewhere, or, I don't know, UK or South Africa. Depends.

Mike Schumacher  48:09  
That sounds really great to me. Really great. Cool.

Ryan Purvis  48:14  
Thanks again. Thanks, Mike. Butchulla. Thanks. Cheers. Bye. Thank you for listening today's episode. Heather Becnel. Producer, editor. Thank you, Heather for your hard work on this episode. He subscribes to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW W podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www dot digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends and colleagues.

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Mike SchumacherProfile Photo

Mike Schumacher

Chief Strategy Officer and Founder

Michael Schumacher is the Chief Strategy Officer and founder of Lakeside Software. Prior to founding Lakeside Software, he led the division as a director of software engineers at Cubix Corporation, where he directed product development. At Telebit Corporation, he oversaw the department as an engineer for network products. Mike has long experience as an engineer in the field of software and has worked for ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards bodies, contributing significantly to technology development. He holds a master's degree in information engineering from the University of Michigan.