It's hard to believe how much the world has changed in just a few months. How the spread of COVID-19 earlier this year and the continuing global pandemic have disrupted businesses, workplaces, and lives.
It's even harder to imagine where to go from here.
But with disruption comes opportunity — a chance to make changes that will bring together communities and strengthen organizations at a time when many people can't be in the office.
That's what drove nearly 1,000 attendees and more than a dozen sponsors from around the world to last week's IGEL's Digital DISRUPT, a virtual forum focused on reconnecting with end-user computing (EUC) experts and exploring technology-driven solutions to move businesses forward.
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Embracing the Disruption
Just weeks after IGEL's DISRUPT 2020 events in Nashville, Tennessee, and Munich, Germany — physically held on Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 4-6, respectively — the world faced a sudden and ongoing technical challenge: Keeping enterprises running and employees productive from anywhere and any device.
To help address this new reality, IGEL pulled together its first virtual DISRUPT, an online event held on June 25 that featured keynote speakers, live panel discussions, breakout sessions with EUC thought leaders, and more to educate and support the technology community during this tumultuous time.
"I think you've probably heard the saying 'expect the unexpected.' I think we all got a first-hand view of what that actually means," said Jed Ayres, CEO of IGEL, who delivered the keynote address along with Kam VedBrat, Partner Group Program Manager for Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop. "Nothing in my lifetime ... has impacted so many people, so quickly, and so thoroughly."
It's meant changing work routines, and connecting with colleagues and clients with "just hundreds of hours of Zoom calls," Ayres said. But it's also prompted many to rethink the ways organizations will move forward.
"It's clear to me … that we can do better, we have to do better," Ayres said, "and it starts with having a conversation."
In addition to live discussions, attendees of the daylong event also had access to dozens of downloadable resources on featured EUC solutions from IGEL partners. Visitors were also able to stop by virtual sponsor booths — including one for Lakeside Software — that offered videos, helpful links, and even live chats with reps.
But the event didn't end after the closing remarks. Attendees were encouraged to hoist their commemorative DISRUPT beer glasses — sent to most registrants before the event — and hang out for a virtual happy hour and trivia contest, where several lucky attendees won swag and other amazing prizes.
— Simon Townsend (@Simon_Townsend) June 25, 2020
The most valuable takeaways, though, came from the many timely panel discussions and in-depth sessions that offered insights as well as solutions to improve digital workspaces and end-user experience (EUX).
Turning to the Experts
Organizations are facing a whole new kind of transformation right now.
It's no longer about responding to a crisis by quickly jumping to virtual apps and desktops and getting remote workers up and running. Instead, the focus is shifting more toward business continuity, digital employee experience, adjusting priorities, and redefining workplace expectations.
Because in most cases, work is no longer a place.
"What you've also seen is the need for flexibility, especially if you're defining work as what you do," said Bharath Rangarajan, vice president of product EUC for VMware, during a Digital DISRUPT panel discussion. "Flexibility is still key in this new normality."
Other Digital DISRUPT discussions included a customer-led panel examining how working from home fits into their long-term business strategies; the role of the Citrix User Group Community (CUGC) Women in Technology Mentorship Program and diversity in the modern workplace; the ways in which storytelling can power a business; and best practices for helping customers adjust to a new normal.
Also throughout the event were breakout sessions led by Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, Lakeside Software, and other industry leaders. The presentations covered a wide variety of IGEL integrations, new releases, and end-user computing solutions that can streamline IT operations, improve workflows, and better support remote workforces.
Some topics included:
- Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) updates, integrations, and related demos
- Endpoint optimization
- Cloud migration and virtual computing trends
- Transitioning to IGEL OS11
- Serverless printing trends
- Intro to IGEL custom partitions
- Digital experience monitoring (presented by Lakeside Software)
Augmenting Visibility into Thin Client End-User Experience
Exploring a New Normal with DEM
Working from home might not be just a temporary fix. For many organizations, remote work is becoming the catalyst for a larger, more permanent digital transformation.
And that can pose quite a few challenges for IT departments, which are expected to provide the same satisfying IT experience as before without the same visibility.
"The question, of course, becomes where do we go from here now that circumstances kind of continue to evolve?" said Ben Murphy, Lakeside Software's senior director of product management, during his breakout session, "Don't Return to 'Normal' — Make IT Exceptional Anywhere."
"We've seen that remote productivity, in many ways, can be almost exactly the same as the productivity you get when someone is working in an on-premises environment."
The presentation explored some of the common problems IT professionals face while supporting remote workers, but also how a digital experience monitoring (DEM) solution such as SysTrack can help close the visibility gap, reduce resolution time and the amount of support tickets filed, lower costs, and improve end-user experience.
"We want to make exceptional service exactly what you can anticipate out of any engagement with the service desk," Murphy noted in his session.
SysTrack's lightweight agent gathers more than 10,000 metrics directly from the endpoint — wherever it might be — every 15 seconds to provide IT administrators vital system and user data across their digital environment. Service desks can then use all that information — including network connectivity, resource usage, app performance, latency, hardware/software details, and more — to quickly and efficiently troubleshoot problems, as well as predict and proactively address potential issues.
Don’t Return to “Normal” – Make IT Exceptional Anywhere
Lakeside and IGEL
Another benefit of SysTrack's digital experience monitoring is that it can work on almost any device — including IGEL OS endpoints.
Back in 2017, Lakeside Software and IGEL teamed up to provide an innovative solution that improves both endpoint management and end-user experience in virtualized environments. The integration, which rolled out in early 2018, uses an embedded agent within the IGEL OS to provide real-time and recent historic data through SysTrack, giving IT the end-to-end visibility necessary to smoothly manage IGEL-powered devices.
The DEM solution also helps measure end-user experience in digital workspaces and provides insights into what factors influence EUX and how it can be improved.
With this kind of EUC tool at hand, organizations are in a better position to not only ensure business continuity, but also find opportunities for improvement and growth.
Join the Conversation
Digital DISRUPT might be over, but IGEL's belief — and the central idea behind the company's entire "believe" campaign — is that helping others and guiding positive changes doesn't stop.
Conversations about end-user computing and adapting to the current business climate are just getting started in the IGEL Community, a Slack forum that fosters learning, collaboration, and comradery among IT professionals and EUC experts.
Lakeside Software, an official IGEL Community Technology Launch Partner, just kicked off its own channel within the community in mid-June, and will continue to post about SysTrack, troubleshooting tips and tricks, and more EUC-related topics.
Not a member of the IGEL Community? Join by filling out the online form and be sure to subscribe to Lakeside's channel while you're there.
DEM in Action
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Lindsey Poisson is a technical journalist at Lakeside Software focused on the latest news, trends, and innovations in the IT industry and digital experience management market. Previously an award-winning newspaper reporter, she now delves into topics surrounding remote work, digital employee experience, proactive IT support, and the future of work. She also currently lives, works, and adventures around Ann Arbor, Michigan.