ESG's Mark Bowker discusses the challenges of connecting remote employees during times of social distancing with Brad Peterson of Workspot.
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Mark: Hey, Brad, how's it going? How's everything been?
Brad: Well, considering, it's been crazy but good in a good way, you know, for many companies, it could be an up or, it could be a down. For us, obviously, we're delivering, you know, cloud desktops, and so, the demand couldn't be greater, and opportunity to help folks couldn't be greater right now.
Mark: Yeah, no. I totally agree. You and I have been in this industry for a while, and it's been a lot of, you know, educating the market for a year, conditioning on certain feature, product, and all of a sudden, bang, this couldn't be more top of mind as people are working at home. I'm curious, have you found people, were they prepared, or not prepared, or various different degrees?
I'd love to hear a little bit of insight into that.
Brad: Yeah. You know, we actually have experience with both really. Because we have a lot of customers that were thought leaders in this space, and they came to us early on over the last few years, and they said, "You know what, we really need to extend our on-prem data center into the cloud." And one of the great ways to do that is to just start moving cloud desktops up into the cloud. As soon as you move the cloud desktop up there and a user, you start moving the data up there and other services as well, and you get that really, you know, productive experience because it's low latent, it's a super-fast connection, and you're working away.
So, these were thought leaders that started to dabble in this, and effectively they found use cases and then applications in parts of the world and in certain employees and off to the races. Now, once the shelter in place really came in and we got locked down, those folks working with us, they were able to push the button and just launch hundreds or even thousands of desktops or workstations anywhere because the architecture is set up for that, right?
Then, you know, on the other hand, we had people, like, coming to the webinars that I do every week to hear those stories going, "You know what? I'm not prepared." And, "How do I get prepared?" And so, we brought our customers online in these webinars to share how they prepared themselves, and how they sent their employees home in a productive way. And it isn't too late.
We can actually bring you right in, listen to exactly what our customers did, and get you all set up, and that's what we've been doing. So, it's been a mix of both.
Mark: One thing I've observed is some folks were pretty prepared at home, right? Some people are very set up in an office environment, like I have here, have all my big screens, my cameras, everything I need. Other people left work on a Friday, left their laptop behind and didn't really have anything when they went home. Have you been able to help customers, you know, I'll say have the proper kit at home or kind of have the proper home office environment?
Brad: Well, you know, kit, I think is the right term, right? Because, yeah, BYOD has always tested the organization. Is it secure enough, right? And oftentimes, like, VPN off of someone's home machine, it's like, "No, thank you." Right? In our case, it's a little easier because we don't actually need a VPN connection off of a machine to actually connect to a cloud desktop.
For us, it's just a Workspot client. It's an executable that forms a proxy connection into the cloud, and it brings pixels back and so on. So, it's not insecure in any way. And so, yeah, BYOD is supported across our customers. Now, it's BYOH, right? So, it's the notion of bringing your own home, and that's it. So, everybody now is working from home.
I know you're a work at home veteran, but I'm not. I used to go to the office all the time, right? And so, that's the same with a lot of our customers and their employees. So, imagine a kit, a BYOH kit, push a button, and it shows up. And so, we're partnering with some folks that do DaaS, but it's a different kind of DaaS. It's desktop as a service, but it's the laptop, like, a surface all configured and sent to you and supported. And then we, of course, do the desktop in a cloud.
And so, when you combine those two together, you get double DaaS. And you push that button, and a super cool device with some monitors shows up, and it's got the Workspot client, you click it, it goes into the cloud, and you have your full workspace up there, and you crank, and you crush, and you access your data and your apps.
Mark: Do you think "double DaaS" or any of the work from home is going to stick, or do you think people will, you know, things get better, people will rotate back to an office environment?
Brad: Well, we're doing a lot of surveys on this as well, and we are finding that, where it hadn't been tested, it hadn't been expected that folks could be productive from home. In fact, one of the surveys is, "What's your biggest concern with folks working from home now?" Oftentimes, it's security, but that was second place. Now, it's productivity. Do they have the technology, and can they be productive? So, our CIO's and our executives that are thought leaders in this space, as are customers, are finding that they will.
The other thing is they're finding that they're saving a lot of money here as well. They're productive at home, and they're not going to actually have to expand the lease space, so they don't have to grow that. They're going to have more flex desking and hoteling in their offices. And everyone also has realized the savings and travel costs. And so, there's going to be a blended mix of extending the BYOH, traveling less, saving money, and increasing productivity in this whole new world.
Mark: Yeah, no. I see similar things. I'd say there'll be extremes on one side or the other, but I think you're right. There's going to be a mix where people realize and take this experience, and take what's good of it in being able to work in different ways, and I think really positively impact the way a lot of employees like ourselves can work.
So, I look forward to kind of keeping in touch, Brad, and, you know, learning more how Workspot is helping, and learning more of just generally how customers are planning for the future. So, thank you very much for taking the time with us today.
Brad: Thank you, Mark. It's been great.