Aug. 10, 2020

Remote Work Monitoring

Remote Work Monitoring

We interview Ben Murphy, Sr. Director of Product Management at Lakeside Software, about the challenges of supporting a remote environment.

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In this episode, we explore different ways remote working has changed IT as we know it, including:

  • Virtual IT conferences
  • Remote service desks 
  • Monitoring physical/virtual desktop performance
  • Shifting work-life boundaries

Joining us for the discussion is Ben Murphy, Sr. Director of Product Management at Lakeside Software.
Please Click here for the episode transcript

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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 this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they face, how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, they'll help you to get to the scripts for the digital Express inner workings.

Welcome, Ben to the digital workspace works podcast.

Ben Murphy  0:36  
Well, thank you, Ron. Very happy to be here. Always good talking with two of my favorite people.

Ryan Purvis  0:45  
Thanks for coming on board. And you guys had your eye gels, but it was it was a partner event or did you sponsor I wasn't really sure last week to take us through that.

Ben Murphy  0:57  
Sure. Yeah. So last week. We did sponsor I, Jules disrupt event. I know that's a topic that's near and dear to Heather's heart.

Heather Bicknell  1:06  
Yeah, this was I Joel's first digital version of their disruptive event. So we'd actually gone to the in person ones earlier this year. But they decided to host a digital one to kind of get the community back together. So, you know, Lakeside decided to sponsor sponsor the event and just kind of see, you know, how it went. I mean, it was our first time in a long time trying a virtual event and the platform that was used as sort of meant to simulate an in person event. So we had like a booth there. We even photoshopped one of our sales reps into the booth versus like a stock image just to kind of make it a little bit personalized. Yeah, and there's like an auditorium you could click into for sessions. So Ben had a session there that we can talk about, you know, they have held some live keynotes over zoom. So yeah, it was it was an interesting experience. They also shipped everybody digital disrupt beer glasses, but I don't know if you if you got yours in the mail or not.

Ben Murphy  2:14  
I did not actually I didn't get anything. Was I supposed to get something?

Heather Bicknell  2:18  
Well, did you register with your work address or your home address? is waiting for you?

Ben Murphy  2:24  
Yeah, I probably do have something waiting for me at the moment. That's who knows when we're getting back to that. So

Heather Bicknell  2:30  
I can't you know, I can't decompose. So your

Ben Murphy  2:34  
True, true. You said that a little pointedly, I'm sure that there's gonna be like a landfill that's full of idle. No.

Heather Bicknell  2:45  
No, I'm just thinking about any sort of mailer. I'm sure there's, you know, cookies and stuff still being sent to addresses But anyway, point

Ben Murphy  2:56  
I assume that my office is probably full of junk mail. I mean, I assume it's gonna be like a like a nightmare, like Raiders of the Lost Ark. Like I'm gonna walk in and pull one loose piece of paper out and the whole thing is going to collapse.

Unknown Speaker  3:12  
I mean, that's just normal for you isn't that?

Unknown Speaker  3:15  
It kind of is Yeah.

Heather Bicknell  3:17  
Then should you maybe give a quick intro to who you are? I don't know if we, since you're new on the show.

Ben Murphy  3:24  
Uh, yeah. So my name is Ben Murphy. Right now I am the Senior Director of Product Management at Lakeside software. So I had a product strategy and continue my work on the front of ISV technical integrations and other things of that sort.

Heather Bicknell  3:42  
I do want to tell everybody what your session was about.

Ben Murphy  3:49  
Sure, sure. So my session for agile disrupt was oriented around the idea of how you can take this as an opportunity. This in this context, being the of current world situation to refactor, What counts is kind of normal IT support operations, and how to make it possible to support a remote workforce just as well, if not better than you might be able to do with a kind of more traditional on premises, it structure. So kind of an exploration of what we consider to be some best practices, and then some concrete customer results. And, you know, basically going through a very brief overview of some of our tool sets and how they can help in some scenarios.

Ryan Purvis  4:39  
See, I'm just interested, I mean, the, the, when you did your session, was it sort of two way or were you doing a modern sort of webinar? We were pumping questions to you on the other chat?

Ben Murphy  4:51  
Yeah, so it's a good question. It was kind of a pre recorded session with me. More or less, right? riding shotgun answering questions as they came in as part of a kind of a q&a process. This was part of the digital event kind of structure that that Nigel had put in place. So it's interesting to work that way. I mean, it it takes, obviously some of the pressure of doing a live demo. There is no one live demo anymore. But it was good. I think it's about the best you can do in terms of generating engagement. I mean, I think the challenge with any of this virtual stuff is because it by its very nature is not as directly engaging, I think you do have to come up with ways to make sure that people are continuing to kind of interact. So making sure that you're free for live questions is, I think a good mechanism for that. I don't know if anyone out there in the world is going to listen to this and come up with a, you know, a new platform for these kind of events. But one suggestion I would have is It might be nice to have some audience interaction capability at odd points where you can like shoot a poll out real fast or something just as much to see if you put anybody to sleep as much as it as anything else, because you've got that and a lot of the major, you know, like, remote meeting kind of vendors. Although in teams, I don't think I can do that unless I'm an organizer, can I?

Ryan Purvis  6:25  
I don't know teams is a bit of an enigma is this stuff that when they added seems to make things sometimes more complicated or take away something that was useful?

Heather Bicknell  6:35  
Yeah, it's not really quite a webinar platform. I think even the I feel like I've attended Microsoft ones where it's three teams, but there's an added layer for polling.

Ryan Purvis  6:49  
What was sort of the questions like this was a question that sort of stuck in your mind that you made. Wow, that's a great question or with accommodations

Ben Murphy  6:58  
are some common questions, I think There were some longer questions that were a bit more involved and more in the spirit of kind of like overall ITSM strategies. I mean, there were some that I think spoke to the kind of philosophical need to point out the difference between kind of, you know, good enough and better, which involves looking at some of the ITSM platform collection methods that are used today. So if you look at like a, that's a service Now, I know they've got discovery mechanisms that will go out and populate a change management database, you've got a CMDB app that can use a couple of different integrations or can go out and do some discovery. But there's a big issue with that, which is continuity of data. And it's making sure that you capture devices that are maybe inaccessible at the time or not on the network. And that's really the most key part if you think about what has happened recently with Most people out and doing remote work, the probability that you're going to be able to do meaningful remote discovery drops drastically. I mean, there's no guarantee that those users are on a corporate network, there's no guarantee they're going to be connected to a VPN, you know, if they're off network, so you know, who really knows how you would be able to collect that data. So you really need something that is closer to where the user is actively engaged and interacting to be able to get that. So at least obviously, that's my biased perspective on the subject. But I think that the dynamics have shifted significantly versus where, you know, you might have been able to get away with doing some flavor of remote discovery or doing some kind of homegrown stuff. Or maybe we're looking at doing Windows Remote Management commands or things of that sort to pull back data. All of that stuff kind of goes out the window. If you can't go to the devices anymore.

Ryan Purvis  9:00  
So when you can't get to the device, why wouldn't you do that? Ah,

Ben Murphy  9:07  
yeah, well, I'm talking so narrowly. This is where the solution comes in, right? So if I can't talk to, like imagine, like I, myself right now happened to be connected to a VPN as I'm talking to you guys. But let's say that, you know, I were to do most of my business disconnected, which there's really no compelling reason for me to be connected right now I'm not doing anything that necessitates it. Well, it wouldn't be necessary for me to be connected, but it would be necessary for someone to have that connection present. If someone you know back home in the quote unquote, it mothership wanted to send me a command. However, I've got a I mean, you know, we're eating our own dog food. So I have a substract agent on my MacBook, and I can send commands to it right over the internet. I have the ability to get data from it right now directly over the internet. So as long as I have internet connectivity, I have some way to get real time data or to get data pop. But even if I want, I have the ability on my edge device here to run an action. So I don't have to be connected to anything, I could be purely disconnected and the intelligence kind of lives on our device itself, which is important when you start thinking about not just populating relatively static entities, like, let's say, the name of my desktop or laptop, probably not going to change that often it might, but it's probably not going to change very frequently. that's relatively time invariant data. So for a CMDB, that's pretty well and good if you do a poll and you know, you come back with a device and some characteristics about it that don't change very often. You don't have to necessarily worry about keeping that up to date, other than knowing that the device still exists, but when you think about the real use here for what we bring to the table, the ITSM processing and Incident Management, making sure that you've got a real Good compelling way to get to a root cause you need up to date data and you need time correlated data. That's where I think you you get a very big advantage over kind of the out of the box functions. There you go. It's a nice and long winded or should I say a nice short explanation of my viewpoint on that?

Ryan Purvis  11:22  
And how have you found it sort of with the ecosystem that exists now where there's a hybrid cloud model, where some of the stuffs today in the cloud and potentially wV the implementation in in Azure versus a store on premise they tend to pivot to do business whatever way they can with the people working from home?

Ben Murphy  11:47  
Yeah, so I think we have found that there are a variety of organizations and a variety of states of readiness. So back when things first kicked off, I think you would be hard pressed To find any organization that was completely ready, I don't think there was really anyone out there that was not caught at least marginally flat footed by events. But I think if you look at the broader strategy that some organizations had in place versus others, you start to get a sense of who did not have as much of a scramble, as some folks did. So, you know, I would characterize it as kind of a spectrum. So there are some people in the world who started off very mature in the space of remote work. And, you know, Ryan, I think you're probably familiar with a few organizations that have a very established virtualization practice, or

general strategy for allowing people to work from home.

I don't think that there are a huge number of organizations that were able to think Without paying to, you know, being able to work from home primarily, but those, obviously were in a better position. But even they kind of found themselves caught in the trap of how do I scale appropriately? So, you know, we have one customer as an example. I mean, I'm not going to name names, but they're in the healthcare business, basically. And they were faced with a conundrum, which is basically they needed to almost overnight, effectively, almost double the capacity for remote sessions that they were going to use for real business productivity purposes. And, you know, that it's a it's a difficult question sometimes to know the answer to in terms of what strategy should I take. So, in their case, they really didn't have much of a choice. It needed to be an on premises implementation because of some security policies. And, you know, they weren't not yet far enough down the line in terms of their adoption of cloud resources to consider like when as virtual desktop or something like that, but, you know, luckily, they were able to get some things together. And because they they weren't just a customer of ours did some, you know, basic kind of virtualization planning, resource planning. So that was able to be done without too much difficulty. But that really is because they had a very concrete understanding of how all of their current remote session servicing worked, and they had a pretty good practice for it. Now, you can contrast that with the other end of the spectrum, which is organizations that were really not as mature in many ways in terms of their remote session planning, or virtualization in general. I think. I think it's it's at this point, probably, I wouldn't say, literally impossible, but almost impossible to Find a company that has not tried virtualization in some form or fashion. I would say that that's pretty much everywhere for everybody. VDI is has been trialed probably by every company in existence. But there are some that did not make it very far down that path. I think this kind of caught them at an inopportune time. Because I think if you did not necessarily have the expertise in virtualization, management and remote session concepts, that no matter what path you chose to take on premises, or, you know, that's just say, any generic kind of desktop as a service offering, you're not probably familiar enough with the subject to know how to plan effectively what to deliver. And it's would be very challenging to make sure that your users are getting what they need out of the experience. And I feel like we've seen some examples of that where people have talked to pivot to that, say, like a pure windows virtual desktop play, but don't really have a very solid vision for what they want out of it. So, you know, they know, hey, I've got to be able to remote, I've got to be able to support remote users, they have to be able to connect to these resources with perhaps their own device or whatever. But over and beyond that, there wasn't necessarily a huge amount of thought put into the kind of real productivity apps that they would have to have. And, you know, what a probe would appropriate sizing would be like, and, you know, geographically where they want to put resources and thanks. So, um, I feel like, you know, across the board, if I were to just summarize because I know I'm keeping long winded here. Um, the the idea is that people who, who had more, I would say robust it experience with both sessions to start with usually found themselves in a better position for that pivot than folks that were less experienced with that, I think, because, you know, it's it's kind of drug on long enough, a lot of those people who did not initially have that experience have already gone through the path of trying some flavor virtualization, potentially failing a little bit and then starting again, then and that's actually what we've seen a couple of kind of newer customers do, you know, take an initial misstep with like Windows virtual desktop have a not great experience, but mostly because it's a really still in the planning phases. They're kind of just, you know, dipping their toe in the water, so to speak. But when they revisit it with a more concrete plan with some actual data, you get much better results.

Ryan Purvis  17:50  
Yeah, there's a couple things you said that I still want to go back through. So I mean, I've said in a few forums where some of these companies I mean, as you mentioned, You'd expect everence tried video of some sort. Some of these guys, as an organization said not tried it. And they were caught in a situation where they still had desktops, physical desktops. And we're needing to buy laptops to provide to the staff. Those that that were working from home and didn't have, you know, their own device BYOD device, their personal device to use, to just even us not even not even connected into their desktop in the office for something like email or access in some of their web applications, to some situations where they had these environments up and running, but they hadn't demonstrated tested them or put them through sort of business continuity, and they were falling over. And not even the full demand but sort of, you know, 25% increase or even a 50% increase in traffic. So it I think, I think a lot of companies caught, you know, by their own probably cost cutting measures over years to not do these things because they weren't priorities. Because you know, when we're gonna have a disaster or we never have one to having this this pandemic, which has caused that disaster recovery plan to come into play, and not be ready for. Yeah, it's interesting what what you're saying is, it's something I've seen here. The other things you mentioned around sort of the maturity curve for salvia, those that have been through some pain before and I'm thinking of like Hurricane Sandy in the states a couple years ago, or even 911. People that have been through those sort of scenarios tend to think about those things first, because they've experienced them, which means everyone's experiences now so it means everyone will think about this now for at least next couple years, when they're planning because yeah,

Ben Murphy  19:58  
yeah, well I think that's an interesting point too, because I feel like this is kind of a an interesting point of inflection in terms of adoption for cloud resources. I think this as an unfortunate thing, because I actually think, you know, adopting cloud resources is a positive thing. Just kind of puts it in a sour context. But you know, hopefully, you know what I mean, this is kind of a forcing function for a lot of boomers age to realize that, if they really want to scale in the way that they want to, it really is time to get out of managing your own infrastructure. It's time to kind of abandon a lot of what the kind of traditional thought process was around, you know, on premises data management and kind of like those big legacy when I say that, you know, in in kind of the same context there, you know, as people start to adopt new technologies and move stuff around, um, that is kind of one of it. The biggest opportunities that most organizations have, but it also, it represents a very large risk. I will say that the the largest scale failure for desktop as a service implementation that I have ever seen, it was an organization that I will not give any details about, and I won't talk about the provider either, is really it's not either of their, like faults or anything. It's just this project didn't work the way that it probably should have involved that kind of lack of insight and lack of planning. So I mentioned earlier that a lot of people kind of get into the idea that this looks like a good idea. I should do it. But then once you get into a pilot phase, you don't really have a solid plan for you know, okay, well, what next, like what's the practice case that you actually want to solve with this technology? There's there's a lot of technology out there. And I you know, it might sound optimistic. But I would say that, you know, for pretty much any given software product, you probably find some use for it and pretty much any organization. That's not to say it's going to be, you know, quote unquote, the best solution. But you know, what is best Who knows? The problem there, though, is you could spend every day of the rest of your life evaluating, you know, every bit piece of software that's in existence, but usually what should come before that is a question of what what problem Am I solving? What am I actually doing?


in their case, they had a, an internal struggle between a security organization and and basically the desktop engineering group.

Ryan Purvis  22:47  
So I'm laughing because we because we spoke with a colleague of mine, and he was it was exactly this discussion, security versus desktop engineering.

Ben Murphy  22:54  
Yeah, well, I mean, and and Ryan, you probably know who lost So these, these, these people ended up deploying to this desktop as a service platform. And they carried over the same security suite that they had for their physical desktops. Yeah, and I think Ryan, you know exactly where I'm going with that. That came with, I think seven security agents. Yeah, their baseline CPU usage. You know what, I'll ask you a question. This is this is only system account CPU usage. They did a single user VDI assignment. So you know, everyone's getting a persistent desktop. Guess what their background CPU usage was just for security agents, probably 50% or 60% 60%. So you can imagine what happens and they turned on and you know, the exact numbers It's made, but it's on the order of thousands of these. And, you know, they're shocked. But hey, we're not getting great performance. Well, I'm not going to go through the whole drama. But you can imagine that, you know, the platform provider wasn't happy, because they're like, and we, you know, we were kind of involved in this throughout. Because Can you blame the platform for your image? Not really, right. It's not their fault, what you chose to do with the VM. And really, it's not the desktop engineering, either. I mean, they didn't necessarily have any choice on what to include in the image. And, you know, in a certain regard, it's not really security's fault, either because it's not like they're virtualization experts or know what the impact stuff that's not designed for virtualization in a virtual environment. It the whole thing is just a failure of planning across the board. And, you know, that I think, is something that, you know, in their case, that happened a little while ago. So this is before all of this kind of really Critical remote work stuff kicked off. So they had a little bit of time. Obviously, it's they lost a lot of money. I mean, that's, you know, a fair thing to say. But it did not involve kind of business continuity problems. You know, if you make a mistake like that Now, unfortunately, I think that you don't have that luxury.

Ryan Purvis  25:19  
Huh? to sell just out of interest. I mean, did they have any performance testing done on the image before they're all done 1000 or two instances and they just run it out and then just hope for the best?

Ben Murphy  25:32  
Well, it's funny you should ask because they just got rolled it out. Hope for the best. I'm not again, I'm not here to say that Monday Night Football Tuesday night football. I don't watch football. Yeah, but, uh, I didn't, right. The the point of the matter is, there's a very, very clear underlying root cause for their problem which is lack of planning. Lack of validation to an extent. So that project, as you might imagine, kind of crashed and burned. So that was probably not a not a grand example. But I will say that, because they went through that pain later. And this is something that we're I mean, there's still a customer of ours. They, they were able to execute a remote planning exercise much better. So they kind of got the concept, and now they're able to do that remote work support.

So, you know, failures, the best teacher, I think I'm

Ryan Purvis  26:33  
gonna say, yeah, we don't need to criticize anybody. But I think it's about sharing experience and learning. So things like you should really do performance testing on an image. We used to, you know, if you start off with it with a base image, and it's very, very nothing on it. And then as you add each thing, you do performance testing, and then using, you know, simulation products that basically simulate the login process, or that sort of stuff. To get a feel for how the build is changing as you build a new image, and we have very strict gatekeepers for any performance changes, and you had to do to fine tune for the world. And I think that's usually the problem with desktop to video. There's no fine tuning. There's no understanding the the GST on a different base completely.

Unknown Speaker  27:24  
Yeah, yeah.

Ben Murphy  27:27  
I mean, I think that's an interesting tangent for a second, because I mean, the issue is always resources. I mean, you think about it in the most abstract term resources could be pretty much anything. They're just things that you need to do something. So if you want to think of it, like, purely generically, you'd have like applications fall into that category or whatever. But, you know, point of the matter is, if you distribute resources, like you've got a normal traditional distributed client, like you know, I've got my laptop right here in front of the tuning is is important, but it's Not a world Ender. So if my, you know, PC runs about point 1% higher, that's probably not great, but it's not going to ruin my experience because I've got plenty to spare, but all of a sudden that point one, if you spread that across, you know, 1000 10,000 VMs, that becomes a significant issue. It's like any any small problem becomes a massive problem in the aggregate.

Ryan Purvis  28:27  
Yeah, exactly. I mean, we had that with guys or laptops where they, you know, they were doing certain activities that on their own didn't matter. But the mini VDI made a huge difference because it was it was all of them doing the same thing. And end, users kind of get used to a certain level of performance as it degrades. They kind of get more comfortable with it because they probably aren't comfortable with but they know that if they boot the machine up and it takes 10 minutes, then go get a cup of coffee and come back and it'll be ready whereas on a video performance is really causing indirect pain on everybody else.

Ben Murphy  29:06  
Well, and that actually, that raises a question for me and Heather, maybe you can answer this every time your machine blue screens Do you take that as an opportunity to go get a cup of coffee? Or is that just is that just fun time?

Heather Bicknell  29:20  
Yeah, I break up the party poppers and you know, turn the music up and just take a little break

Ben Murphy  29:29  
when you turn the music on because your machines dead

Heather Bicknell  29:32  
to to, you know, I have my phone. And this really is my side, you know, a millennial. Yeah, no, I mean, of course, it's, it's, it's super disruptive. And but I guess you know, it'd be different, right? If it was a repeat experience, like a on, you know, on booting up my machine, something I could, you know, expect in work and I think the thing about the blue screen is that they happen at the most in our opportune times.

Ben Murphy  30:02  
Well, if you'd like but I could do because I think you're in one of the subtract trees that I have access to I could set your machine up to blue screen every hour.

Ryan Purvis  30:12  
Is there were Max was only for Windows.

Ben Murphy  30:15  
The blue screen was only for Windows. I'm sure I could come up with something for Mac OS if you give me a second.

Ryan Purvis  30:22  
Because I just got a conversation about the the Mac, the Mac experience versus the windows experience.

Ben Murphy  30:30  
True. True. Yeah, we're working hard on feature parity, which means any day we'll introduce the blue screen for Mac OS.

Heather Bicknell  30:39  
I have you know, I have forced blue screens before for demos, but uh, never just for fun.

Ben Murphy  30:47  
I mean, you have to consider trying and maybe you'll start liking the experience. We were just talking about the fact that you eventually get used to Thanks.

Heather Bicknell  30:53  
Yeah, I mean, I you know, even you know, even I have but I guess you know, something I I've been curious about what we've been, you know, talking about some of the challenges with getting started with VDI or das, is that, you know, is this just something that people, you know, there's no option anymore, you just, you know, it a large organization, so just gonna have to figure this out because it doesn't look like we're moving away from this work from home or at least partially work from home model anytime soon.

Ryan Purvis  31:27  

Ben Murphy  31:29  
I mean, My take is, lots of people are realizing what I believe a lot of larger organizations started to kind of, I would say, sniffed around that, so to speak, really, I guess back in the starting in the 90s, stopping a little bit with the thing and then starting again back, you know, around the last market downturn, which is divesting yourself of physical locations. So obviously, the Some objects cost that is associated with maintaining, like a physical retail location or a physical office. And I think people are reconsidering the necessity of that. So, I know personally, there are a lot of organizations that we're familiar with that simply will not be returning to the office at the very least until next year, and some, you know, maybe, maybe not ever, because, you know, they've realized that you can get productivity out of people who are working mode. And if you think about what an opportunity that would be for Well, I mean, that's take a financial company a that say, and they're fairly widespread. Maybe they're a wealth management organization of some kind. And they have physical offices that are located in major metropolitan cities like that, say New York City. Well, how much is that real estate costing them? astronomical? idea like it's it's ridiculous and if I were they? Well, what's the utility of having those people come in anymore? Can they still be productive without being physically sitting next to each other? Well, you know, this has proved the answer to that question. Even if they're only 90% as efficient, that's a, you have to look at the cost balance of that versus what the expenditure of keeping them in that location would be because there's all kinds of associated costs. And then there's the bigger question of has your business fundamentally changed? And I think a lot of businesses where you had a physical location where people would go in, like, I don't know, just to come up with a completely random one, let's say, tax preparation. Well, at this point, and I'm probably just speaking for myself, but I'm assuming a lot of people probably think this way. I am paying someone to go and like physically look over documents and prepare stuff, blah, blah, blah. At this point, you could not pay me to go in and And sit in a smaller closed off office building with some person going through a whole bunch of receipts, like physically crammed in together for something that I could just do on the internet with like, absolutely no trouble at all. And I'm not picking on tax preparation in particular. I mean, that's just an example. But, um, you know, the dynamics are different.

Ryan Purvis  34:25  
Well, you're right. I mean, we're not we're talking about looking back at all This year, we're negotiating a lease. We're saying it's much easier to book a meeting room on the day that you need it for the people that are going in. And you know, you use someone like Regis or we work or whatever, we've got a membership and rather pay the cost the opposite cost of booking a meeting room for the day, as opposed to paying this rent that you for a building you're not going to use or for whatever it is. And I'm hearing the ratio is probably two days in the office three days at home. Let's see what people are thinking.

Ben Murphy  35:03  
Well, I mean that that pleases me. I mean, our organization was fairly distributed to start off anyway. So this really isn't a tremendous change. I mean, the biggest changes is to core engineering in terms of you know, what Lakeside has. But yeah, I think the days of people thinking about the traditional kind of nine to five time in the office, you know, five days a week, it's gotta change.

Ryan Purvis  35:29  
I mean, to me, not only the office piece, but the nine to five is gonna change. You know, do you don't have to miss your work that nine to five you can work 5am to seven, do something with the family till nine and you do a couple calls and you some of the family again, or you go run some errands, and all those things that you're trying to squeeze in and out. You know, you now because you've cut out this commute time. You can do a lot more today.

Ben Murphy  35:55  
Yeah, yeah, that's a that's a very good point. I mean, I think that You know, people are certainly tied to an old fashioned idea of productivity that is kind of like what I would call, who will God see what's a good what's a good term for it choreographed parallelism, where everyone is doing everything at the same time from that nine to five time window. But I think that, you know, if you think about what probably is best, most people should probably work in some kind of like a staggered parallel where, you know, people are, at least if they're collaborating with each other working similar hours where there's some overlap, but most things probably don't require everyone in the department to be working at exactly the same time. Which is, I think, something that with remote work becomes a lot easier to conceptualize. Because I think that if you think about the traditional office location, there's a lot of pressure to show up and like when So, I mean, if I'm physically going to roll in the door, I don't want to be that. Well, you know, I mean I don't be that jerk that shows up at like 1130 you know what I mean?

Ryan Purvis  37:11  
Well yeah, cuz it's a funny thing if you if you everyone's there not in Europe, but 11 everyone looks at you unless you've sort of blurt out the reason why you were late. People give you the Why are you late? And this is not every every company but I think there is a definite the conscious or subconscious. Why's it person late every day? Never mind that that person may have worked two or three o'clock in the morning and got three hours sleep and heads around the kids school, whatever it is. You're able to tell the story. But that's why i think it's it's good to be getting out of this factory mindset of nine to five, five days a week.

Heather Bicknell  37:48  
Yeah, I feel like the fear is and this is what was holding a lot of companies back from allowing remote work is that you know, send people home and we can't see them anymore. So that means they're not working. And I feel like where people should really be paying attention is overwork. And how do we make sure that people are, you know, shutting off at home and not getting burnout? I think that risk is probably a lot higher. I mean, I know, you know, for myself, I'm definitely working longer hours, you know, I'm popping on at times where I wouldn't have before just because, you know, my laptops at the office, but now it's here. So, you know, I can work whatever and I think that's, you know, a bigger risk right now that that companies need to pay attention to.

Ryan Purvis  38:37  
Yeah, while you there's a lot of sort of people writing tips on LinkedIn and a lot of sort of podcast episodes talking about the zoom fatigue. You know, my morning for example, this morning was was eight meetings in a row or half an hour each on on teams, but you basically did you know, it's no break and if one of those runs over, and that we And you know, with all the corporates I've worked in, you're always on the phone. But because you haven't sort of had that commute in the middle, where you've had some time outside, etc. You basically once you're online, you're online, and then people see you online and then your data becomes jammed with with, with calls. And with all screen calls. You don't need if you need a break, and you need to set boundaries. You need to book time or your diary to go outside and walk around to go for a run and all that kind of stuff. So it works a big thing. Definitely.

Ben Murphy  39:35  
Yeah, yeah, I think the question is, yeah, I guess if I just think about the paradox here, right. Like there's a very real issue with the office. That is the challenge of having co workers do the judgment of Oh, no, am I leaving early? am I leaving or am I getting here late or, you know, whatever the case might happen to be, but a lot of ways They offer a balance in the other direction too, because I've certainly been in a position where people are like, just go home. You know what I mean? It's a lot harder for someone who is remote. I mean, you're not going to get a team's message. I mean, probably at like two o'clock in the morning and someone's just like, you know, go to bed, I can see you're working on whatever it is that you're working on. So, you know, I think there's pros and cons. I think you do, by nature lose a little bit of kind of human connection when you're not physically present with someone.

Ryan Purvis  40:36  
Yeah, which, which, I'll be honest, I'm looking forward to going back at the office at some point to see people and I'm, I'm happy with what sort of one to two days a week in the office and three days working somewhere else, which may not be at home either. I was talking to my wife about getting an office down the road, one of these shared working spaces because it's not really it's not really Expensive at least it's cheaper than my train ticket. But it gives me a dedicated working space, which takes it out of the house and it's walking distance away from the house. So I think there might be what, what some people do. Yeah,

Ben Murphy  41:14  
I I honestly would not be surprised to see a kind of second surge of those rental offices and kind of rental meeting spaces. So I think Regis is probably very well positioned right now. I mean, honestly, this is some of the best news that they've ever gotten in a lot of ways. Because not only is there going to be a lot of real estate, probably that's going to come up soon. But I think people are going to completely lose the appetite for maintaining their own offices. I as much as it's conceivably possible anyway. So, you know, it's it's probably a good time to be in that line of business.

Ryan Purvis  41:53  
Yeah, I think I think it's what once you've done your social distancing modifications that you need to do, I think yeah. Right. But there's quite a lot then you have to worry about with with occupancy and and handling actually looked at a product earlier this week, which was quite nice about this way. It's calculating based on it ties into your sort of what you have a mobile app, that party organization. It's got sensors in the building. So it's a smart building technology. And it's calculating your occupancy per floor, where people are in the building when they've booked a desk. And if there's someone that is is found to have COVID you can know then who was in the building at the time, so you can do all your contact tracing, etc. Because you've signed in as a Yeah, this is a company driven exercise you and your privacy is is relatively protected. They do other stuff around air filtration and purification and that kind of stuff. But I definitely would think there's a lot of buildings that would be going to have to go down that route if they were looking to be Competitive going forward?

Ben Murphy  43:06  
Yeah, I mean, I think we are going to start seeing a huge uptick in marketing that's oriented around cleanliness. That's probably for sure.

Ryan Purvis  43:15  
You know that the only country or one of the few, nobody's one country that didn't go into any sort of lockdown was Japan. Because they do all these things by default.

Ben Murphy  43:26  
Yeah. Yeah. I think they did some limited work, but they're exceptionally good about wearing masks and things that that's where, which I think makes a huge impact. Hmm.

Ryan Purvis  43:36  
Yeah, it was a couple of other countries in Europe, but someone was saying that Japan didn't even didn't even blink their double digit cases. Which is interesting.

Ben Murphy  43:46  
Yeah, you definitely don't want to talk about case counts with someone from the US. Sorry to cut you off.

Heather Bicknell  43:53  
Oh, I was just saying I actually had a meeting this morning with our Japanese marketing manager. So Of course, one of the first things we do on these global calls anymore is just like, how's it going over there? Like, oh, and you know, as someone in the US, it's never, you know, we never get to deliver the good news, right. But yeah, I think she was she was just saying that, um, you know, I think a lot of people are still working remotely, but um, there's, it seems like there's more back to the office activity. And that's that's happening a lot more over there. But I think they're just I think she was saying they're just kind of opening up bars and some restaurants again, so

Ryan Purvis  44:35  
like, she did go into lockdown. Personnel information wasn't right.

Heather Bicknell  44:39  
Yeah, I'm not I'm not exactly sure to that. You know, maybe it wasn't. You know, maybe it was just like some business closures and stuff. I'm not exactly sure. But yeah, it definitely seems like the situation is you know, more under more under control there. But um, you know, this makes me think too, about, you know, how how come are gonna manage this, like sort of new hybrid model, right? Where people, you know, he might shift to that co working facility. And that's like how you do your meetings and you don't have any traditional real estate anymore? Do you just send everyone, you know, a laptop, and, you know, that's the device now, like the desktop isn't?

Ryan Purvis  45:22  
Well, some companies that's a default, but I when I started working for one of the cloud companies that I was with, I only met the people via conference calls and in some cases of Skype calls, I think at that stage. And when I started, my laptop arrived, two days before my first day, I had a an envelope with all the stuff I needed to do, sort of, you know, logging in and that kind of stuff. And then once I logged in, there was a bunch of training and that's how I started the job only sort of met people. I think, two three weeks later, one of the you know, one day in the city because everyone was remote and you meet too. On the phone, as I say, I think what's what's probably the clearest thing that needs to be fixed in this new world is meeting management. How to make those more productive, and probably less often?

Ben Murphy  46:14  
Yeah, yeah, I think if anyone can find the cure to the unnecessary meeting, I would instantly grant them the title of the only trillionaire to deserve their money.

Heather Bicknell  46:27  
Can we set up like a sensor action or notification to just you know,

Ben Murphy  46:33  
every time someone's gonna set up an unnecessary meeting, we blue screen their machine.

Heather Bicknell  46:39  
Just a pop up that says, Do you really need that meeting? chemistry?

Ben Murphy  46:45  
Actually, that could just be for anytime you set a meeting invite out.

Ryan Purvis  46:50  
There's actually some really good books on all that stuff. It all comes down to when you send that when you send that invite for a meeting, asking yourself that question is this really worthwhile? meeting? Yeah,

Ben Murphy  47:03  
yeah. And I think a lot of people also don't really think about like, what they think in semi concrete terms about what they cut what their, what their vision of the outcome is, but don't actually have concrete things that they want as an outcome. That's a huge problem. Because then you get like long meandering meetings, don't go anywhere.

Ryan Purvis  47:22  
You'll have too many people in a meeting as well. So you have a different personality types, the ones that love to talk and the ones that never say a word. You know, well, there's there's I think there's probably this is a couple good memes about all the people you have in a meeting all the personalities.

Heather Bicknell  47:38  
Yeah, so many meeting bingo cards. You know, I think one interesting question, maybe to sort of round us out is what are what do you both have you think some of the long term impacts of this experience will be on it?

Ben Murphy  47:57  
Well, I think that you People are going to want to have the IT person show up at their desk less often. I think that's probably a given. So the physical the day of the physical person showing up to jiggle some cables is probably passed. Joking aside, I think that it probably means that we are going to see a permanent shift towards having to support the kind of it experience of users in their own home. I don't know what the ramifications of that would be. But, you know, there is a reasonable set of stuff that it could probably conceivably say, hey, I've got control over this and that's as it should be, which is whatever resources they give you. But, you know, is it in their control? If you happen to have you know, the world worst ISP? harder to say? I mean, do they then start paying you to get better broadband? That seems fair, if that's what their expectation is, but you know, who knows how that shakes out.

Ryan Purvis  49:00  
Yeah, that's come up a few times that the companies, if they're going to be saving money on the office space, potentially they are channeling some of that money to their staff to have better connectivity. The things that I've noticed, you know, here in the UK is is chatting with other people as well, is that the residential bandwidth is okay. But it's not nearly good enough for for everyone to be online the whole day. So I would almost see cover some of these some of these care packages that governments are spending on to keep businesses running would probably be going to the direction of fixing the infrastructure in the in the residential space, or pushing the companies that handle that to fix it faster. so that people can do this more, more busting.

Ben Murphy  49:52  
That's a bit of a sore topic for those of us in the United States, considering there actually was a massive investment that was made that was supposed to do exactly that. did not turn out As

the history of cyber in the US, that's a whole thing.

Ryan Purvis  50:06  
Oh, we got the same thing. So Openreach, which is the company that's running it out across the UK. And that is exactly the know, I think they're 10 years behind where they should be. I'd be five years behind. So I don't think it's this unique to the US. Just Just one other comment. I think that the thing that I like about what's happening here, if you can find any positivity in in the sort of situation is everyone's been pushed to the same level. So now we're all comfortable with things like zoom and team stuff that that for some of us was sort of an old hat. So now is on the same level, the average technical skill of an end user has had to be pushed upward. Okay, look at that. We're talking about being being experts but at least they now understand some of the stuff because I've had to do it for at home but someone talking him through Post of doing it for them and giving them back the machine. So I'm quite confident or excited and sense to see, does that actually change some of the conversations around spend on it? where previously it was a cost center? And and there was always a grudging spend on it to saying, actually, you know what we'll spend on that, because we've seen the impact of not spending all that kind of stuff.

Heather Bicknell  51:23  
Yeah, well to be determined, but I think that's, you know, probably where, where we'll see things going. Well, Brian, it's been great having you on the podcast. Thanks for joining us for this discussion.

Ben Murphy  51:38  
Well, thank you. Thank you, Ron. Always good talk. Let me know. Always happy to just ramble on for an hour or so.

Ryan Purvis  51:48  
Always good way, where should people look up for you on on sort of Twitter or LinkedIn or anything like that?

Ben Murphy  51:54  
Yeah, you can find me on Twitter at the Ben Murphy. You can find me on LinkedIn at W Murphy, I think is my short name. But yeah, so put me up on LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever you feel interested in.

Ryan Purvis  52:09  
We'll put that in the show notes as well. So to say anyone is looking for you can find you. Great.

Unknown Speaker  52:15  
All right. Well, thanks guys. I will catch you next time. Thanks so much.

Ryan Purvis  52:24  
Thank you for listening to today's episode and the big producer editor. Thank you for your hard work on this episode. Pease subscribers. Follow us on Twitter at the WW podcast. The show notes and transcripts are available on the website WWW dot digital workspace that works.

Unknown Speaker  52:43  
Please also visit our website www

Ryan Purvis  52:45  
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Ben Murphy

Senior Director, Product Management at Lakeside Software

Ben Murphy is the Senior Director of Product at Lakeside Software. At Lakeside, he's led integrations for various solutions, including Windows Virtual Desktop, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, NVIDIA GPUs, and ServiceNow ITSM augmentation. With a decade of experience in end-user computing, he's also had the opportunity to share knowledge with IT leaders at industry events, leading sessions at Microsoft Ignite, Citrix Synergy, and VMworld.