September 22, 2014
By Shann Bosnell 1
As the vice president of technology for a large MSP, like many, I find myself working on weekends to ensure when Monday morning starts I’m ready to tackle the week with clear direction — a few weekends ago was one of those weekends.
Three months ago, I switched from my trusty first-generation Microsoft Surface Pro with 128 gigabytes to a top-of-the-line Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon touchscreen with 256 gigabytes. In many ways this was a clear upgrade, as my Surface was starting to get a little long in the tooth as far as processing power went. (I should also mention at this point that I have a Macbook Air on my desk at work that I use for testing all new products we are looking at rolling out for our customers.)
While in the middle of doing some spreadsheet work, my laptop froze. Not in the blue screen of death type freeze, but the screen simply wouldn’t respond. Odd, I thought, and held down the power button for 10 seconds to do a hard reboot. The screen did turn off, but for some reason the backlight on the keyboard started flashing, as well as the E-ink F keys, and the power button. It looked like a disco. In fact, after doing a Google search on my Android phone for the error, I had learned that the error was actually called the “disco error.” All signs pointed to a hardware failure.
If I were to look at even three years ago, at this point my “catch up on work” may have come to a standstill. But, I have a home desktop. About two years ago, I made it a mandate to ensure our company moved towards the new reality of technology. We as a corporation have embraced the changes that cloud has brought. It took me five minutes to fire up my home desktop, install one of my five instances of Office365 available to me, download the client connector to our main PSA solution and I was up and running. In fact, since we have adopted Office 365, all my files are available in OneDrive. I was able to basically start exactly where my Lenovo laptop crashed since an auto saved copy of the excel sheet was already in the cloud. For me to gain back productivity, I was down for less than 30 minutes. Not bad!
When I arrived at work the next day, I dropped my Lenovo off at our repair depot in the office to be sent out for repairs. Once I sat at my desk, I basically repeated the process I had done for my home computer with my Macbook Air on my desk. I again downloaded another of my five available installs of Office365 on the Macbook, connected my business apps and was up and running.
The moral of the story, I hope, is that even someone who works in technology each and every day — and in fact revels in the “bleeding edge” can fall victim to technology failure. But, by adopting cloud practices into our business, I was able to mitigate downtime to something that was very reasonable. These are discussions we have with our customers and prospects daily. While this is in some ways a small win, it is a conversation I will have with customers moving forward. I know I have peace of mind that if a hardware failure happens in the future, my team can continue to be productive for our business.
One last thing, I would certainly recommend the Lenovo laptop, as any device can have a hardware failure. My team was able to get a replacement motherboard under warranty from Lenovo (great warranty services by the way) and I was up and running by the end of day Tuesday. My real point is that hardware is simply an access device now. Cloud adoption has allowed me to move from three different devices within 24 hours and have well under an hour of downtime. Looking back even three years ago, I would have needed a loaner laptop that would have taken a few hours to configure.
How has cloud adoption changed the way you work in technology? Do you have an examples like the one above?
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