IT Solutions That Improve Employee Productivity and Business Efficiency

 

I just had my very first personal experience using one of Intel IT's immersive video conferencing rooms to conduct an internal inverview for a position I am hiring for.  We had struggled to find a way to quickly get an employee to interview in person with a remote team.  Personal schedules and a variety of other issues kept getting in the way and delaying setup of this one interview and it was important to not delay the interview process further for business reasons.

 

So someone on the team suggested we use the Intel IT supported video collaboration rooms to conduct the interview. Good suggestion.  It was easy and the quality was exceptional - it definitely mirrored a real face to face interview. In the process we saved roughly $1,000 plus in travel and expense, saved the interviewing employee time, helping him be more productive that sitting on a plane for 4-6 hours traveling across the country - and we did not sacrifice the quality of a face to face interaction.

 

Now I understand the business value of our video conferencing strategy much better.  Intel IT has deployed a worldwide portfolio of video collaboration based on user needs, including immersive video conferencing, standard high-definition rooms, and basic video including desktop. This remains a core initiative for Intel because 65% of our employees work on three or more teams and 69% work across different time zones. Based on internal studies, in 2009, the Intel IT video conferencing efforts eliminated an estimated USD 14 million in travel expenses and saved employees over 43,000 travel hours. Internal studies show that 75 percent of meeting attendees report that video meetings are as effective as in-person meetings.  (source: 2009 Intel IT Annual Performance Report)

 

Video conferencing is one of many initiatives focused on improving collaboration and delivering green IT benefits inside our business. Like all businesses, Intel IT employees have a high need for collaboration and we have found that virtual conferencing helps improve employee productivity and create business efficiencies.

 

Virtual conferencing enables employees to share ideas and collaborate with peers anytime, anyplace without leaving the office ... and now I can state this from personal experience that is it pretty cool, very effective and cost efficient.

 

Does your IT organization support video conferencing?

Have you ever used video conferencing in the office? What did you think?

 

Chris

http://www.vproexpert.com/E24VZ/LiveChat/iPad.jpgWe are hosting the third live chat in our series this coming Thursday - we'll be talking about KVM Remote Control. Check it out!

 

Please join Intel experts for a discussion of KVM Remote Control. On August 26th, from 12pm-1pm PDT the Intel® vPro™ Expert Center Community will be hosting an Ask an Expert Live Chat about KVM Remote Control.

 

 

The ability for IT to be able to remotely diagnose and fix PCs without dispatching a technician has helped IT reduce the total cost of ownership for their fleet of PCs.  However, software based solutions that have been available typically require the PC to be functional to the point where at least the OS (Operating System) is up and running.  In addition, such solutions typically cease to function if a reboot of the remote PC is required.  Intel has developed a hardware based solution to the problem  with remote KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) redirection available on both Desktop and Mobile PCs with Intel® vPro™ Technology; it allows IT to remotely diagnose and fix PCs even if the OS is not up and running and even if a reboot is required.

 

 

Remote KVM redirection allows IT to capture, in real-time, the screen of a remote PC.  In addition, remote KVM allows IT to have control of the remote PCs keyboard and mouse so that they can troubleshoot problems just as if they were sitting in front of that PC.  If a reboot of the remote PC is required, then the remote KVM session remains active and IT can determine if the fix has been successful or if more troubleshooting is required.  KVM utilizes Intel’s integrated graphics and supports both wired (Ethernet) and wireless (WiFi) networks.  Intel® vPro™ Technology with remote KVM redirection made its debut in 2010 and is supported by various popular ISV manageability consoles.

 

 

We will discuss your questions and exchange ideas. Intel content experts will include Richard Foote, Jake Gauthier, Frank Engelman, Stefan Richards, and Matt Jung. On August 26thth, join us!

Next week VMware is hosting VMworld and what seems like the entire technology industry will be talking about virtualization ... like we haven't been for the past several years.  Anyway, a few members of the Intel IT technology team will be on hand at VMworld in the Moscone Center next week to share what we are doing with virtualization in both the data center and on our client platforms.

 

Unlike the IT engineer in this video who is using a rocket to put his data center in the cloud, Intel IT is using an accelerated virtualization approach to lay the foundation for our enterprise private cloud.  Next week Shesha Krishnapura (Principal Engineer, Intel IT) will co-present with Dylan Larson (Marketing Director, Intel Data Center Group) in a session titled "Virtualization Transitions: The Journey to Enterprise Cloud Computing". This session will occur Wed Sept 1 at 10:30 AM   in Moscone North Room 135

 

Dylan will cover the technologies and capabilities required to take enterprises and service providers worldwide on their journey to cloud computing.  They will outline and detail our technologies in compute, networking, and storage. They will cover the economics of cloud computing and Intel's vision to invest in technologies, people, and solutions through 2015.  Shesha will discuss how Intel IT has gone from consolidating data centers to virtualizing infrastructures to setting the foundation for enterprise-wide cloud deployments.

 

In a separate session focused on client virtualization, Dave Buchholz (Principal Engineer, IT) will conduct several chalk talks on Enabling Device-Independent Mobility Using Client Virtualization.  You can find Dave inside the Intel booth.

    
Dave will discuss an internal Intel IT Proof of Concept showing the future of client computing using device-independent mobility (DIM).  We are evaluating implementing various client virtualization technologies and the use of virtual containers to abstract the OS; applications; corporate and personal data, workspaces and user-specific settings.  In this model, users can access their applications and information from any device, anywhere, anytime. Our goal is to provide side-by-side personal and professional environments on the same hardware devices and remove many of the platform qualification and adoption roadblocks faced by many IT shops today.

 

If you are going to VMworld, we hope to see you there.  If not, visit the http://www.intel.com/IT program website and explore our IT best practices on virtualization.

 

Chris

After almost of year of planning, design, redesign, and re-planning, the Energy Use in the Office PoC ends today.

 

Unfortunately, the results were not what we expected as overall energy usage actually increased over the course of the PoC.  There have been several studies showing that Awareness typically leads to voluntary action resulting in 10%-15% energy savings.  While most of these studies have been focused on energy use in the home, we thought that based on the small PoC we did last year we might see similar results in the enterprise.  It would appear that the same motivational factors one finds in the home, i.e. the home owner having to pay the bill from the energy utility, are not at play in the work environment - at least not generally.

 

That said, we did learn a lot throughout the PoC and we have uncovered some additional areas we will dig deeper into.  For example, the base load of energy use on each of the floors included in the study is much higher than we expected and not entirely accountable for.  We’ll be conducting a detail analysis of one floors energy use to better understand the energy consumers.

 

I’ll be publishing an internal paper in a few weeks and will investigate opportunities to publish externally later this year.

-Mike Breton
IT Technology Evangelist

Intel IT Cloud Computing Best Practices

 

In a recent whitepaper, Intel IT outlined a strategy to accelerate our virtualization efforts.  Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Das Kamhout, Cloud Architect with Intel IT, to understand how it is going.  What I learned was equally interesting and impressive.  In the past 6 months, Intel IT has doubled the rate of virtualization inside our Office / Enterprise (O/E) computing environment.  We have gone from ~12% virtual (Dec 2009) to over 30% today (July 2010).  The Intel IT O/E computing environment supports our general purpose computing applications in addition to our e-business, supply chain and other enterprise applications required to run our business at Intel.

 

During our discussion Das outlined several IT strategies that we are implementing to achieve this accelerated virtualization strategy

 

  1. Proactively Partner with Application Organizations. This involves identifying and engaging business owners who have applications currently deployed on physical hardware.  We work actively with them to drive alignment and confidence to move their applications to a virtual environment.

  2. Drive New Landings on Virtualized Servers. As new service requests are made from business owners, we now proactively landing these applications in virtualized environments.  Our midset has shifted dramatically. Previously we challenged ourselves to prove why we should virtualize.  Now we ask the question, "Why shouldn't we virtualize this application.

  3. ID Barriers & Implement Technical Solutions.  As we drive to achieve strategies #1 and #2 above, we do find that there are technical barriers for some applications that can limit our capability or willingness to virtualize.  So our 3rd strategic emphasis is to identify these situations and put IT solutions in place.  (look for another blog shortly on this subject)

  4. Execute Efficient P2V Migration. Once we identify the P2V (physical to virtual) migration opportunities (strategy #1) without technical limitations (strategy #3), we want to drive the migration quickly and painlessly.  Here we are applying a factory mentality that moves the application without issues and effectively EOLs the older server in the process.

  5. Proactively Plan and Manage Capacity.  The goal here is to put IT metrics and tools in place that can project and compare the demand for Virtual Machines against the available physical server capacity in the required locations.  Since we can land new VMs much quicker than we can purchase new hardware, we must manage compute capacity more closely from both an allocation and consumption perspective

 

As an ex-supply chain manager at a previous company, the most intriguing aspect of our virtualization strategy and implementation of an enterprise private cloud is in our terminology and metrics.  The IT and business terminology we are starting to use internally to manage our compute, storage, networking infrastructure is remarkably similar to the terminology that companies use to manage efficient and effective supply chains … weeks of inventory, time to market, forecasted demand, service level agreements and agility.

 

I invite you to read the Intel IT whitepaper titled  “Enterprise Private Cloud Architecture and Implementation Roadmap” for more information on our cloud computing strategy.

 

Look for more of Intel IT’s experiences, best practices and lessons from our virtualization implementation in future posts in our IT community.  I'm expecting Das to weigh in with his insights and expertise soon in this IT community.

 

Chris

Beware the pitfalls of haphazardly deploying data security solutions to your environment.  Data security can be very complex and proper planning is a necessity.  Unfortunately, many organizations choose to avoid complex planning and take the easy road down what appears a much simpler path.  The origin of these problems rests with the vendors, consultants, and even customers driving to ‘just start small’ with one capability then build up from there.  They want to act tactically with the hope to eventually build it into a strategy.

 

I empathize with their position.  Risks to data are rapidly increasing.  Coupled with the fact no all-encompassing solution currently exists, it sounds practical to tackle the challenges in a piecemeal manner, especially as other options are limited.  Protection is needed.  Customers want whatever is available and vendors are happy to sell whatever solutions they have at hand.  Any traction is good, right?

 

Wrong!

 

I urge caution.  This tactical approach is only good when a comprehensive solution exists and it is rolled-out piece by piece.  Managed properly, program teams would land the infrastructure, support and management components then bring in each feature set, tuning all the while, and build up the optimal service stack in a controlled, effective, and cost efficient manner.  Once integration is complete then operations teams continue to support and manage the service, including updates which add extensibility, bug fixes, and aid future vendor development of improvements.  The enterprise can reap the security benefits of a well-oiled machine and reallocate project team focus to other areas needing attention.

 

The reality is, although some great point solutions are available, a comprehensive data security solution simply does not currently exist.  The tactical to strategic approach is a path which leads to a revolving door of bolt-on solutions with incompatible tools, vendors, metrics, administration suites, technical requirements, and separate sustainability problems.  Overall system complexity will crush in on itself as issues multiply.  Service gaps and conflicts arise, customers will be continually impacted then asked for more time and patience for the implementations.  In many cases employees vital to the business are asked to work differently to help make the security solutions more viable.  This is the sure sign of defeat.  Security services should be aligned to how employees efficiently get their work done and make it secure, not the reverse.  The tail of security should not wag how the enterprise achieves productivity. 

Even after the integrations hurdles are passed, even rougher seas are ahead.  Separate sustainability cycles will draw heavily on resources and more focus is wasted on getting everything to work, and choosing which problems won’t get fixed.  Keeping the rioting of users to a minimum becomes necessary and shortly thereafter restoring user confidence and project reputation must be tackled.  Eventually, these distractions consume more effort than what is dedicated to provide a quality security service which prevents and minimizes loss.

 

I have seen this song and dance many times before across the industry.  Ultimately that path proves to be terribly inefficient, expensive, and delivers poor security while destroying the credibility of the information security organization.  The mass of tools becomes a beast which cannot be sustained, supported, and will begin to severely impact user experience and their crucial ability to generate profits.  To compensate, features and support are cut back and in doing so the security capability is undermined.  The result is an expensive and unwieldy system in place with little security benefit.  Such sinkholes are difficult to escape once on the spiral path down.  Take pause.  It is best to avoid the problem and think strategically in the first place.  Don’t get sucked into the void of despair.  Have a well thought out plan.  Clearly understand what you need when, and which set of solutions will best combine to meet your long term expectations.  Think strategically and act tactically.

I am fortunate to work in a small program within Intel IT, the IT@Intel program. Our charter is to connect other IT professionals with their peers inside Intel IT in order to share IT best practices. The appealing thing about working here is that I get to see the neat things going on within Intel IT and I hope to start to share, not only the interesting things we are working on but the people that are doing the work.

 

So, here is my first foray: Recently, I was lucky enough to work with five people on a series of four short videos that show how Intel IT embraces innovation and emerging technologies. Below is what caught my attention about each of the videos:
                                                                                                                                     
Meet Gregg Wyant, Chief Technology Officer and General Manager of Strategy, Architecture and Innovation. In this video, Cultivating IT Innovation. I love the part where Gregg says “IT is the nervous system, the pulse of the organization”. It is easy to think of IT as the Technical Assistance Center, but seriously, how would the company run without IT?

 

In IT Information Security Starts At Home, Alan Ross, Senior Principal Engineer, Information Security, is quoted “ Technology isn’t the whole solution to security issues.” “Users are the other. They’re the stewards of information.”  I think this joint responsibility, users and technology together, is step 1 in protecting not just the intellectual property of the company but our own personal privacy as well.

 

Context awareness in the enterprise relies on personal data to help unleash employee productivity. Where is the right balance? Dave Stone from the Strategy, Architecture and Innovation Group discusses context awareness and IT consumerization in Context Awareness: Making Sense of Data. In a side conversation I had with Dave he says it is interesting that people will share private information in public social communities but are reluctant to share the same information with their employers.

 

And rounding out this cool series is Jim Baca, Principal Engineer, Intel IT and Selim Aissi, Ultra Mobility Group, Intel Architecture Group in Enterprise Mobility: The Seamless Experience. I often think “when will there be a one device to do everything, something that will morph to my every whim?” Jim and Selim predict that each device will become better at talking to each other, creating a seamless experience, but there will not be a need for one ‘master’ device.

 

When you watch these short videos you will get a glimpse of the diverse technical and personal backgrounds of the people that are actually doing the work, as well as their unique perspectives on what the future looks like within their areas of expertise…Check them out!

 

If you have an area within Intel IT you would like to hear more about, let me know. I look forward to giving you more insight into the people that keep Intel running.

Please join Intel experts for a discussion of Microsoft System Center. On August 12th, the Intel® vPro™ Expert Center Community will be hosting an Ask an Expert Live Chat about Microsoft System Center .

 

 

 

Microsoft® System Center solutions help IT pros manage the physical and virtual information technology (IT) environments across data centers, desktops, and devices. Using these integrated and automated management solutions, IT organizations can be more productive service providers to their businesses.

With the strongest partner ecosystem, the most compelling licensing model, and the best economics, System Center solutions provide a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and a high return on investment (ROI). The functionality and economics of System Center solutions combine to provide the fastest time to value while building a more agile IT infrastructure.

 

 

 

We will discuss your questions and exchange ideas. Intel content experts will include Matt Royer and

 

Dan Brunton. On August 12thth, join us!

I was forwarded this great article about mobile security and given the increase consumerization of IT, the “The 10 Steps CIOs Can Take to Bolster Mobile Security” are right on!

 

At Intel IT our CISO, Malcolm Harkins discusses how it is important to empower  employees to own responsibility for protecting enterprise and personal information, he refers to this as ‘people as the perimeter’.  This approach includes:

  • BALANCE: The balance of data risks with business initiatives.
  • TRAINING: Plan for the diversity of individual employees and job requirements
  • AWARENESSS: Consistent and helpful internal communications on the importance of protecting information, including personal connections like preventing identity theft, keeping children safe online, etc.
  • BUSINESS PROCESS: Pilot solutions that target specific security risk areas and when mature embed into existing business processes
  • INCENTIVES:  Recognize groups that complete privacy and security training requirements early and broadly communicate within the company for training promotion.
  • LEADERSHIP: Messages from other executives and leaders to ensure the dissemination at all levels within the company.
  • TEAM DEVELOPMENT: An efficient security team that deals with risk analysis and mitigation, policy, availability of information and know how to train employees beyond just one skill set.
  •  

     

    Learn more about our security solutions and see Malcolm Harkins talk about the ‘Misperception of Risk’.

    I am very interested in hearing from other security professionals on your approach to the consumerization of IT with regard to your security programs?

Over two years ago, CNet News asked a question "What is IT Consumerization?" and then called IT Consumerization the next big indudstry trend (heard that before?).  Well, CNet described IT consumerization as the increasing desire/demand to IT by employees to use conusmer devices inside the enterprise corporate IT environment.  This trend did not die.  In fact, just today I read at CIO Insight's website a post titled "The 10 steps CIO's Can Take to Bolster Mobile Security" that also addressed IT consumerization as a top-of-mind topic for CIOs and IT management.

 

So what is the big deal with enabling consumer devices inside the enterprise?

 

  • The Big Benefit: Flexibility. Employee Productivity

  • The Big Challenge: Security. Legal. Techical Support. Service Level Agreements. Who pays what?

 

The Intel IT organization has been working on this problem for a while now and is enabling many employee service offerings supporting IT Consumerization today.  Let me provide some insight into both our strategy evolution, adoption and implementation - including a new service announced earlier this week.

 

  • First, Diane Bryant, Intel IT CIO, talks with Intel's CEO about why and how we are enabling this capability and employee service inside Intel's business (note: topic starts as 11 minute mark of video). It is interesting to hear how it took over a year of hard work, debate, evaluation, decision making and partnership with business stakeholders to bring this capability to our employees - and then how quickly employees took advantage of the service.

  • Second, my colleague, Jimmy Wai discusses in this IT blog about why he is personally excited about how Intel IT is bringing IT consumerization to life

  • Finally, earlier this week Intel IT announced the next variation in a flexible bring-your-own device service model.  Let me outline the change:

 

Until now, Intel employees have had two options to access Intel e-mail, contact and calendar information:

  • Corporate: Intel pays for the device and monthly service

  • Personal: Employee pays for the device and monthly service

 

Now, employees who have a corporate device and service plan but want to use a different device, can turn in their corporate device and bring their own.  If the personal device meets Intel IT certification requirements (think security requirements) and supports the corporate cellular network (varies by geography), then the decision to change belongs to the employees - pretty cool.

 

For me, I like my corporate plan and device so i'm not going to change.  I will be interested to see what my fellow co-workers do with their decision.

 

Is your organization enabling IT consumerization?  I'd be interested in hearing the approaches and support models - comment below.

 

Chris Peters, Intel IT

(follow me on twitter)

We've got some questions ready for these senior executives from Intel IT, Data Center Pulse, and The Green Grid about their perspectives on the

current and future state of data centers. The roundtable participants include:

 

  • Kim Stevenson, VP and GM of Intel IT Global Operations and Services, Intel

  • Mark Thiele, President, Data Center Pulse

  • Dan Azevedo, Chairman of the Metrics and Measurements Working Group, The Green Grid

 

You can join these senior executives on September 8th from 11:00 – 12:00 Pacific Time as they discuss their perspectives on the future of data centers.

 

Our questions include topic like:
- What is the current state of data centers?
- Where do they need to evolve?
- What does IT need to take into consideration when planning to support the business needs of the future?
- What are the problems we will face?

 

If you don't like our questions, you will be able to submit your own to the panel live during the web session.

 

Register Now at:  http://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/22149

 

See you there. Chris

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