How to ensure productivity in the remote office

Outdated hardware, high administration costs and a lack of client stability can make remote work a challenge for admins. The Intel vPro® platform also ensures productivity in the remote office.

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Remote work is a megatrend that pervades all industries and countries. All companies are affected; even those that have hitherto been reluctant to work from home have had to switch to teleworking during the pandemic crisis. According to experts, this trend is likely to continue in the long-term.

Now that remote work has become part of the mainstream, it has also become a key priority for IT. However, practical experience over the past few months has shown that remote working initiatives can’t function effectively without additional support. On the contrary, both end users and IT teams have had to struggle with weaknesses and issues across a whole range of areas.

For example, many employees now find themselves working with old and poorly performing client devices. This outdated hardware costs the user a lot of time, patience and productivity, even when running simple office applications. Bring in video-based communication, and these slow devices fare even worse. Good connectivity and high performance are crucial for a smooth, high-quality experience, and these older devices can’t supply what’s needed. Meanwhile, executives looking to run more complex analytics or AI tools need compute resources that old, outdated hardware cannot supply.

These bottlenecks reduce the work performance of employees. In a Forrester survey on behalf of Intel , 75 percent of employees in medium-sized companies reported productivity problems due to inefficient processors. This disruption could easily be prevented by providing employees with modern, enterprise-class PCs and laptops, built to cope with the higher requirements of the remote office and ensure that end-users can work as effectively and productively as possible.

Remote maintenance

Old and failure-prone PCs and laptops can also turn into a nightmare for IT managers and admins. Upgrades and repairs can be expensive, and some can only be maintained with great effort - especially if replacements or parts are not available on-site. When employees are working in the office, IT support might be two rooms or floors away; any problem can be fixed within hours. This isn’t the case in the home office, where a new part might not be available for days, and where the end-user might not have the experience of expertise to fit it.

This makes simple, comprehensive remote management essential, because only a well-maintained PC delivers secure and stable operation every day. Malfunctions and other defects can be diagnosed and remedied at any time via remote maintenance, and this should be possible regardless of the system status - even if the operating system has crashed or been damaged.

Remote maintenance functions on suitably powerful clients now enable IT teams to remotely diagnose and resolve computer problems and implement the right fix. For example, on PCs with the Intel vPro® Platform, IT can use real-time telemetry analysis to quickly diagnose any hardware or software issues and take any appropriate action. Forrester reports in its study that working desktop management can reduce the PC maintenance costs by up to 70 percent.

Ensure stability

With remote management, the IT department can also ensure that remote clients remain stable. Due to the large number of software updates and driver incompatibilities, managing company PCs in today's IT environment has become highly complex. It is possible that drivers may differ from those in previously qualified systems, which complicates the management of standard configurations (images) and increases the costs for hardware support.

A corporate PC image requires extensive system testing and validation; it’s the only way to ensure driver compatibility and guarantee that applications will function properly. This qualification process can take up to 90 days before the images are deployed across the enterprise.

Frequent driver and software updates also necessitate retests to validate the updated configurations. For IT teams, this could entail the planning and implementation of a new rollout, which in turn can be very disruptive for employees. However, these challenges can be mastered with a PC platform that ensures stability through extensively tested components, where enterprises know there will only be limited updates over a certain period of time.

The vPro platform ensures efficient remote working

With its vPro platform, Intel has developed a comprehensive corporate solution that guarantees the triumvirate of performance, administrability and stability for remote work. In order to deliver fluid, high performance, the vPro Platform combines top processors from Intel with wireless and wired high-speed network technology, Thunderbolt interfaces as well as Intel Pro SSDs or Optane memory for fast data access. The fast-reacting systems increase the productivity of all employees, especially those who have more complex tasks to do away from the office.

To aid the management of remote systems, Intel has developed Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) A central component of the vPro platform, Intel AMT® allows the computers to be booted, diagnosed and repaired remotely. The administrator can access the BIOS and the screen content of the device remotely, even without switching on the PC. This means, for example, that damaged operating systems or defective hard drives can be identified and, if necessary, repaired.

Meanwhile, the stability of remote systems is ensured through the Intel® Stable Image Platform Program (Intel® SIPP); a crucial element part of the Intel platform which supports IT in managing hardware lifecycles. By ensuring that components don’t change for at least 15 months – or the next platform release – Intel® SIPP helps businesses avoid potential software or hardware compatibility problems, while streamlining the process of creating and deploying PC images.

Overall, the use of the Intel vPro platform significantly reduces the effort required in the remote administration and maintenance of end-user devices, resulting in fewer support requests and work interruptions and significant reductions to management and maintenance costs. 

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