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Q&A with Stephanie Hallford at Intel: How Predicting IT Issues Improves the Employee Experience

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shutterstock_791524435-scaled.jpgQ&A with Stephanie Hallford by Bill Hewitt, President and CEO of Aternity.  

I recently sat down for a virtual talk with Stephanie Hallford, Vice President and General Manager of Business Client Platforms at Intel. Her group is responsible for business client revenue, marketing, product, and strategy. During our conversation, we talked about changes in the modern workforce, Intel’s vision for the “self-healing PC,” and how our recently announced partnership moves us closer to the goal of improving the employee experience.
Bill: Let’s start off by talking about what has and hasn’t changed with the workforce due to the pandemic.

Stephanie: Overall, the concept of “modern workforce” has taken a new twist. Today, the term “modern” typically means “remote” workforce. This poses new challenges to organizations as they try to keep employees productive 24/7, whether they are in India or Argentina or Oregon. And like many companies in 2020, Intel had to transition tens of thousands of employees to a semi-permanent remote work setup over a single weekend.

However, many things haven’t been affected by the pandemic. Employees still need technology to work with and for them in order to be happy, productive, and collaborative as they respond to their new normal. That employee experience is what’s most important in the end, especially considering employee experience is key for retention. In fact, we know that close to half of the younger generation will quit their job if they feel unsatisfied with technology.[1]
Bill: How have these changes impacted IT?

Stephanie: They have created new challenges for IT. When employees move from working in an office environment to working remotely, they have different experiences based on different conditions. And IT often struggles with a level of visibility into how and where tech or user experience problems may be happening. For example, it can be hard to know if a problem is related to the application, or related to wireless connectivity.

Unfortunately, today’s reality is that IT often never even hears about employee experience problems. Traditional application performance monitoring only gives IT visibility into about 20% of enterprise applications.[2] We did a study at Intel and found that only 1% of employees filed a help ticket or called IT for help when they were frustrated, meaning the actual frustration level was much higher than even the 1% indicated.[3] Employees are not satisfied, and IT isn’t even hearing about it.
Bill: Why is it so important that IT has visibility?

Stephanie: Visibility gives IT the ability to proactively and predictively figure out problems before they adversely affect the user experience. The question becomes, how do we give IT that visibility to create an environment where we can proactively address issues of connectivity, performance, battery life, or otherwise? The IT department really needs a crystal ball.

While we don’t have mystic powers, we do have decades of experience in enterprise technology. As we looked toward the future and the importance that the PC plays in an employee’s productivity and work experience, we realized we really needed to combine the insights we can get on a silicon and hardware level with the insights of software technology. When we bring the two together, we can create a predictive IT environment, leading to a more satisfied and productive workforce.

As an answer to this challenge, we teamed up with Aternity to provide that hardware/software “better together” capability, so that we can help uncover and identify these issues before they become real problems. With budgets crunched even more than before in these challenging times, the ability to prevent those issues before they happen can have real-dollar implications.

For a company with more than 120,000 employees, you can save up to $50 million within the first year of using Aternity’s Digital Experience Management (DEM) software.[4] Every help ticket costs money — around $100 per ticket, depending on how difficult the issue is to resolve.[5] The savings made possible through our collaboration with Aternity is even more important right now, as IT struggles to fulfill device requests and get those devices to employees all over the world.
Bill: Tell us about Intel’s experience innovating with technology for work.

Stephanie: Intel has always been focused on the end user experience, innovating around those needs and bringing them to scale. Our first platform brand, Intel® Centrino™, with integrated Wi-Fi, helped users bring their devices into airports, coffee houses, offices, and homes.

We then created the Intel vPro® platform to better serve IT needs. As a validated platform, it addressed enterprise concerns around performance, security, and PC fleet stability and manageability. The platform continues to evolve to meet those needs; for example, Intel® Active Management Technology allows IT teams to access units from a different city or even country, which is incredibly important to keeping businesses running as they work remotely.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Intel® Evo™ vPro® platform experience, our latest platform brought to market in January 2021 as part of our commercial Intel vPro® platform offerings. These devices are designed with highly mobile workers in mind, so users can expect remarkable responsiveness, an immersive visual experience, instant wake, and all-day battery life.[6] So again, the user’s needs drive the way we innovate.
Bill: What does the future hold for Intel in terms of improving the employee experience?

Stephanie: We’ve been innovating for years to support changes in the workforce, and that will continue. Our collaboration with Aternity to bring DEM to market is another example of that. We’re using telemetry, with its ability to analyze, filter, and understand productivity data, to create enhanced end user experiences.

DEM puts more power in the hands of IT decision makers and allows them visibility into traditional blind spots, such as not knowing what’s causing employee frustration or worse — security breaches. Aternity brings expertise from years of cloud-connected software insights to now derive silicon-based insights from our built-for-business Intel® vPro™ platform.

By using telemetry to improve the employee’s computing experience, we support their need to create and focus. And our AI and machine learning capabilities make that data more valuable to our IT decision makers. With our insights, we can help ticket numbers go down drastically, which reduces decision making, improves productivity, and reduces costs.[7]
Bill: It’s been great to talk with you, Stephanie. We are also very excited about working together to help companies improve the employee experience. Is there anything else that you want to add?

Stephanie: Thank you! It’s been great chatting with you, and it is quite exciting, isn’t it? I mean, ultimately we are working on a vision to create the nirvana of a self-healing PC. When I talk to CIOs, their number one request is around helping predict problems and understand what’s happening in their environment that may become a problem. Even more importantly, they want us to not just tell them about it, but help them remediate it.

With the self-healing PC as our North Star, we are working hard to bring the silicon, hardware, and intelligence of Intel’s technologies together with premier software companies like Aternity. Together, we can keep marching toward the nirvana of a better, more robust employee experience for all.

See Aternity Article Here
1 Intel Mobile Go-Getter Attitudes Study Q2 ‘19. Base: US+PRC: Mobile Go-Getters: n=549
2 Gartner, Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring Suites, March 2018
3 Intel IT User Frustration Case Study
4, October 2020
5 HDI, Metric of the Month: Desktop Support Cost per Ticket, October 2017
6 9+ hours of battery life on FHD displays as measured by the time taken to drain from 100% to critical battery level while performing workflows under a typical-use environment comprising multiple cloud-based and local apps and web pages including Google Chrome*, Google G-Suite*, Microsoft Office 365*, YouTube* and Zoom*, including limited periods of non-use. Testing conducted on laptops connected to 802.11 wireless, and with shipped hardware configurations including Windows* 10 and 250-nit LCD screen brightness. Testing results as of August 2020, and do not guarantee individual laptop performance. Power and performance vary by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more at Aternity Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Case Study

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