Impression of the exclusive Matrix42 Customer Round Table 2016

Last Tuesday we offered an exclusive round table for Matrix42 customers working with Empirum in our headquarter in Frankfurt. We initially invited all existing customers registered at the Matrix42 Marketplace at least subscribed products from the client management, compliance or service management category. Interested customers then needed to apply for this exclusive workshop with the senior management and product team. We offered two days with two focus areas:

  • November 22nd: Client Management and Unified Endpoint Management
  • November 23rd: Service Management and Compliance

The reason for the application is simple and candid: we wanted all customers to have the chance to exchange with the senior management and product team. I was honored to host this event for our costumers throughout the day by moderating and organising the Empirum and Unified Endpoint Management workshop.

 

matrix42-customer-round-table-2016-hagridThe picture shows our group split into three to generate insight of challenges in a gallery walk (Image credits to Oliver Klünter).

What happened and who participated?

Overall eleven customers exclusively joined our workshop this day and we discussed their daily challenges and impressions working with our products. It was clear, not all applicants were able to participate – but at least everybody had a chance to.We invited customers from all segments starting with 300 devices up 10,000+ devices and multiple locations which were a good representation for our customer base. Listening and networking were main goals for the product managers this day. We presented our actual backlog, discussed and validated it by writing down the major challenges of them.

What’s next?

The next step for us is to reorganise our product backlog and enrich the epics with more details. The good news as well, we are going to solve important challenges for our customers in the rest of this year and 2017. If you’ve missed the Matrix42 customer round table in 2016, don’t worry, there will be another one next year. We also think to increase the frequency for such an event. There will always be a good mix between customer events, individual interviews and talks as well as customer surveys to provide your feedback. We love to here from you!

ROTI (Return On Time Invested)

This day was really excellent for us, the outcome was worth more than the time spent on the workshop. After the Matrix42 Customer Day in Hamburg and Mainz this really was an important event for us to gain more customer insights and feedback.

Have a great week!

Patrick

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Matrix42 EPE 4 click like clockwork – 30 releases in 2016

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Since February 3rd 2016, we now shipped up to 30 releases with the Matrix42 Bootimage Upgrade To EPE 4 to ensure OS installations with the latest and greatest hardware with Intel Skylake architectures. The EPE releases click like clockwork not because of challenges with the EPE, but due to the reorganisation in production to agility. We are able to ship each increment to our customers – and that’s exactly what we do from day one on. We wanted to give our customers the chance to use new features instantly and give us feedback about it. I’ve perceived the feedback from the Matrix42 Customer Day in Mainz, that this was not clear to our customers and a release each week was to much. That was the reason, why we’ve changed the release cycle in a timeframe between one to four weeks.

I’ve posted the article “Microsoft Windows 7 Challenges for Enterprises and the Hardware Dilemma with Intel” before, please have a look at it for further details and background.

Latest EPE releases

With the release today, we deliver PXE Self Provisioning in the familar way. The feature set works now a little bit different because of the boot menu on the client, so we do have one manual selection more, but the main benefit comes with existing functionality of self provisioning familiar with EPE 3. You are now able to use Self Provisioning for UEFI and BIOS devices with the EPE 4.

With the release of version 4.3.x we also support PXE secure boot for 64bit clients. This version supports virtual guests on Microsoft Hyper-V hosts Generation 2 too. We also added the latest Linux Kernel in 64bit, so kernel parameters for the Microsoft Surface 4 and Surfacebook are no longer needed. There might be more hardware models where no kernel parameters are needed like e.g. the Lenovo Carbon X1. I highly recommend testing your convertibles or tablets with the new version.

Matrix42 Hardware Profile Editor

At the Matrix42 Customer Day in Mainz, we proudly announced another tool to simplify the hardware profile and driver view with the tool [Technical Preview] Matrix42 Hardware Profile Editor. The tool is only supported now for Empirum 16.1.1 and higher, but we are working on this tool in parallel to finally release it for all Empirum version 16.x. We’d like to point out that the Matrix42 Hardware Profile Editor isn’t replacing the driver management in Empirum, but helping to simplify search and adding drivers to hardware profiles. We’ve planned to deliver a new version of the driver management in the first half of 2017. Since then we hope the Hardware Profile Editor is helping you in your daily business.

Powerpoint from the Matrix42 Customer Day 2016 in Hamburg

In case you’ve missed my session about “Best Practises for the OS Installer and EPE 4” from the UEM breackout sessions, I’d like to share it with Sliedeshare. It is in German only, apologies for the English audience.

Call to action: Get in touch!

I hope this post was valueable for you. Please leave a comment or try to connect with me for further conversations.

Thank you very much for reading and all the best,

Patrick

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Impressions of the Matrix42 Customer Day 2016 in Hamburg

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On Oktober 27th I had the honor to represent Matrix42 for the second Customer Day in 2016 for the track “Unified Endpoint Management” – in short UEM. The day started with the keynotes from our new CEO Oliver Bendig and Nico Pfaff who is leading the German business. The house was fully booked with a beautiful audience of Matrix42 customers.

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The customer day had four different breakout sessions after the keynotes and presentation of the Fraunhofer Institut:

  • Unified Endpoint Management
  • Enterprise Service Management
  • Cloud and Mobile
  • Hands on labs

Together with my colleagues Oliver Klünter and Matthias Vogt, we where driving this day with a lot of interesting sessions for our customers and had one customer presentation from Meko-S, how their experiences have been, how they are managing PCs and mobile devices with Matrix42. Oliver and me had to joined sessions about client and mobile device management, where we tried to show how to use our products and what is possible. Of course we gave and outlook of the current and upcoming initiatives to show our customers the value of our products.

The most valuable time of the day was in between the session while receiving direct feedback from customers.

Overall, we perceived really valuable feedback from our customers – a great day! I am really thankful for all the conversations and this experience. Especially the days since then I had such intense customer conversations which led to real value for both sides.

If you missed both events in Mainz and Hamburg, there is still another chance next year 2017 or please apply for our Customer Round Table in November.

Thank you and all the best,

Patrick

P.S.: Credits and many thanks for the photos Madelyn Hernandez and Fabian Henzler.

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[Repost] 16 Mobile Theses

Today I read an older blogpost from Benedict Evans and I am so impressed, that I’d like to share it within my blog. It is a must read from my perspective for all people working in the IT today and builing software. Benedict Evans was painting a market picture in the end of 2015 of IT trends about mobile, PCs, IoT, Cars, Watches combined with all big players. He supports his theses with fundamental posts and data from him and A16Z, that I highly recommend reading and following his blog.

Original blog post from Benedict Evans: 16 Mobile Theses

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Malteser Social Day 2016 – thanks for this great experience

Since the last three years Matrix42 is volunteering once a year for the Malteser Social day. This year we were volunteering at several projects and we had the pleasure to organize a festivity for elderly people at theSankt Katharinen und Weißfrauenstift Frankfurt-Niederursel.

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The day started at 10am with setting up the room with tables, chairs and decoration. During this process the local TV station came along with filming our work during the day which was broadcasted at hessenschau the same day. At 11am we did a short breakfast break with the final instructions for the day. We decorated the room, prepared the food and drinks. The first clients arrived before 1pm and were able to choose the best seats for this day.

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The entertainment for this day started his show directly after the official salutation of the institution and the Malteser official. The Italian musician was great in entertaining the people while we were serving the meal and drinks to the people. We also had enough time to talk to the people and listen to their stories which was the best experience. At 4pm the first clients left the party and we started to wash the dishes and clean the room. Our service included serving food and drinks, as well as clearing the tables and good conversations. We helped the people getting back to the transportation and cleaned up the room and dishes. At 5:30pm we had a short debriefing with the organization hosts and received a thank-you gift for the day.

The biggest gift of that day was participating the social day, having the possibility to volunteer for elderly people, the conversations and getting in touch with them, being part of them for at least some hours and listening to their stories. Thank you very much for having us and the possibility to give back. It was a marvelous day and absolutely one of my favorites.

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The Solution with Criticism

Criticism -useful or ignoring

Criticism -useful or ignoring

As this might be coincidence or destiny, Seth Godin always inspires me in my daily life:

Being a sensitive person, criticism hits me sometimes like being caught by a train. Working on software products and building features is a creative work (or art) with the goal to do something that matters. My impulse is naturally intrinsic oriented and connected with my sense of efficiency.

Seth shows a great solution how to deal with criticism:

The solution: Create work that gets criticized. AND, have the discernment to tell the difference between useful criticism (rare and precious) and the stuff worth ignoring (everything else).

I am very thankful for this daily inspiration and can only recommend his work and blog, he touches my heart and soul while reading it.

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Microsoft Windows 7 Challenges for Enterprises and the Hardware Dilemma with Intel

End of Intel Skylake Support for Windows 7

There is a lot of noise about Windows 10 and the upcoming release on August 2nd this year. Microsoft is still trying to push Windows 10 into their customer base with free installations, in order to hit their self proclaimed goal to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by mid 2018, which is unlikely to happen. Even with the Windows 10 1511 release which was more business focused enterprise customers started to pilot the version. Ed Bott from ZNET explained the issue with Windows 10 quite well:

According to Microsoft’s stats, 96 percent of enterprise customers have Windows 10 pilot programs going on. Actual adoption of Windows 10 in the enterprise, however, is still a tiny number. That reflects the traditionally conservative outlook of those customers and represents both an opportunity and a threat to Microsoft, which doesn’t want to see Windows 7 turn into another XP, hanging on well past its sell-by date.

So Windows 7 is still the real world for enterprise customers and this won’t change that fast.

Intel Skylake added another dimension to the dilemma of the hardware ecosystem, Ed Bott reported, especially to the Microsoft Surface line:

“I can report that it does indeed show off Windows 10, including its occasional frustrations and aggravations.”

Most of the problems that plagued those early adopters have now been fixed, and based on my experience with devices from other manufacturers, Intel’s Skylake processors can shoulder much of the blame.

That’s exactly what I experienced since the beginning of 2016. We had a tremendous feedback from customers about their challenges in setting up Microsoft Surfaces and “Surface-like” hardware. Since the release of those devices, “owners of the Surface Book were reporting serious bugs, and it was several more months before a series of driver and firmware updates fixed most of those issues.” The implementation of UEFI stack especially what was needed to manage those devices within the enterprise network is so buggy, that not only Microsoft and most of the hardware vendors shipped an extensive amount of firmware bugfixes for OS deployments in enterprises.

But it didn’t stop for hybrid devices only. As Windows 7 is the standard for enterprises, enterprise customers are challenged to buy Intel Skylake hardware and manage it through their locations. Mid-March 2016, Microsoft and hardware vendors were pushed by their customers to redefine the early statement about the commitment of Windows 7/8.1 and the support, which can be found here: Windows 10 Embracing Silicon Innovation. This also led to a common website of Microsoft with their OEM hardware partners for Intel Skylake systems supported for Windows 7 and 8.1Only specific new Intel Skylake devices will be supported to run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 until July 17, 2017.

End of Intel Skylake Support for Windows 7

What does this mean for you? Obviously, Windows 7 is from October 2009 and has problems to run on hardware build in 2016 due to missing drivers. This affects not only the operating system Windows 7, but Windows PE as well to deploy it. I really recommend to check your hardware vendor for necessary drivers. The same review should be about your hardware model, is it really recommended to run Windows 7 on your device? We found out that not all drivers from the OEM hardware vendors are really good to be used for both stages Windows PE and Windows operating system. Not all drivers which are recommended by your hardware vendor are implemented clean. Our experiences with customers were that they have used HP drivers for Windows PE to deploy hardware from vendors like Dell or Lenovo. From my perspective this really sounds weird, but as it worked for some of them, maybe it might be a solution for you as well.

What’s next from hardware vendors? Dell confirmed their plan only to accept hardware configurations for Windows 10 and downgrades till mid-August, max. late August 2016. After this period only Windows 10 configurations with secure boot enabled are accepted by default. Other hardware configurations will lead to a build-to-order. Windows 7 as an OEM will be expire October 30th 2016 at Dell. Lenovo and Fujitsu won’t be that restrictive as Dell is, especially with their secure boot options.

What’s does it mean for Windows 7 and Intel Kaby Lake? Intel Kaby Lake will hit the consumer market in October 2016, enterprise lines are planned for January 2017. As mentioned by Microsoft and Intel Windows 7 won’t be supported any longer on Intel Kaby Lake:

Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel’s upcoming “Kaby Lake” silicon, Qualcomm’s upcoming “8996” silicon, and AMD’s upcoming “Bristol Ridge” silicon.
Read more at https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/01/15/windows-10-embracing-silicon-innovation/#PPOetWI074gqJvKP.99

This might be the opportunity for AMD or Qualcomm to fill the gap of running Windows 7 on new hardware, but this is only speculation and rumors.

Recommended actions:

  1. Pilot Windows 10, if you haven’t already started. I hope you are not one of the 4 percent😉.
  2. Get executive management attention NOW! The situation is getting more and more mission critical as hardware vendors won’t support Windows 7 any longer. Align your workspace strategy.
  3. Plan how you migrate to Windows 10 and what’s needed to operate it within your company. You won’t need to migrate all workstations by once but make sure how to run them in parallel and when it might be a good time for a replacement. As you are already replacing existing hardware based on leasing try to run them on Windows 10.
  4. Check your hardware vendors for alternative configurations and make sure you’ll get the right and enough hardware (and especially drivers), if you’ll stick with Windows 7.
  5. Start evaluating virtualization technologies again. Maybe some applications are worth to virtualize. Microsoft is bundling App-V into the upcoming Windows 10 Redstone release. If you haven’t experimented with application or desktop virtualization, this might be a good starting point.

Something to add? Please share your opinion and experiences, I’d love to hear about it.

Cheers,

Patrick

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