Episode 1: Modern Management

The Razor’s Edge is a podcast series that examines “IT Services for the New Way to Work,” produced by CIO.com in partnership with HP Inc.

In this series, technology experts provide unique insights into the challenges associated with digital transformation and discuss how innovative, cloud-based services, solutions, and software can help you plan and prepare for what lies ahead.

The Razor’s Edge is hosted by Leif Olson, Distinguished Technologist at HP Inc., and he’s joined by Bruce Michelson, HP Distinguished Technologist Emeritus at HP; Jeff Malec, HP Lifecycle Strategist and Technology and Solutions Evangelist; and Cody Gerhardt, HP Distinguished Technologist and a Chief Technologist.

As Leif explained at the outset, “this show is focused on leading technology trends that are needed to manage IT and provide the best end-user experience possible. We’ll focus on topics like systems management, lifecycle management best practices, and other topics that impact the ability to keep organizations running smoothly. For full transparency here, most of us on this podcast do work for HP Inc., but this is not—and I repeat, not—going to be an infomercial about HP products or services.”

In Episode 1, “Modern Management,” the group addressed the challenges of managing a corporate environment with the shift to modern management. Some companies have already started down this path, but others have yet to begin the journey.

The old way of managing endpoints dealt with creating a large monolithic image, integrating hardware drivers, and deploying it across the network using OSD or some other imaging tool. This was a cumbersome process and required IT to do quite a bit of heavy lifting, which meant they weren’t using their skills to advance the business, but only to maintain it day to day.

The new management methodology should allow users to do their own deployment, allowing IT to “stay in the shadows” and just set everything up. Evolving from that legacy method to a “cloud first” environment does require some planning, however.

Jeff Malec then explained how modern management lets you take advantage of cloud-based tools, whether from Microsoft or VMware, to automate and scale much of the process that used to be pretty redundant.

The group then moved on to discuss modern management in the Windows world and how a modern management philosophy applies to the mobile experience as well.

The reality is that it is very much like the consumer experience of buying a new phone, Jeff said: Everything is pre-provisioned, and you sign in with your credentials and join the network. That’s a lot like what Microsoft Autopilot and Intune do.

“It’s really just an automation of provisioning and then automatically joining the domain, and it's all set up through a cloud infrastructure that’s meant to drive out cost and drive out time in the setup portion of the lifecycle management for the device,” said Jeff.

After discussing modern management for physical systems, the group moved on to address virtualization, with Cody Gerhardt describing how it’s evolving and modern management’s impact there. He also highlighted key features found in the VMware Workspace ONE unified endpoint management tool (formerly AirWatch), and suggested that users ask themselves what tools they need today and tomorrow.

Jeff and Bruce Michelson then tackled some of the obstacles that have stood in the way of modern management, with Bruce observing that the biggest obstacles are change, which is unsettling by nature, and a much more rapid technology refresh rate because of the changing demographics of the workforce.

The next topic of discussion involved lifecycle decisions and how to assess when it’s time to replace a PC. In some cases, it makes sense to replace systems sooner for some users rather than wait for the usual refresh cycle.

It’s all about the end-user experience

The group emphasized that the goal of all these changes isn’t just to make it easier for IT do deploy and manage systems. Rather, it’s to improve the end-user experience.

“There’s a new dynamic emerging where end users are becoming more vocal about the devices they have at work versus what they have at home, and if they aren’t equal in experience, IT hears about it,” said Leif. “And quite loudly too.”

Those who want to get started with modern management are encouraged to schedule a Proof of Concept with their OEM or Services Partner. An HP Inc. white paper on this topic will be posted shortly.

In closing, Leif previewed the next episode of The Razor’s Edge, which will cover “The Great Resignation” and how it’s affecting companies’ ability to attract talent, service customers, and keep their doors open.

Have a question for Leif and the guys? You can reach them here: therazorsedge@hp.com.

Don't miss Episode 2: The Great Resignation, and how it’s affecting almost all (if not all) industries. 

Ready for a deeper dive? Meet with an HP Services expert.