Episode 43 – How to gain insights into Teams performance for remote workers

On this week’s show Jay and I are joined by friend of the show Jean-François Piot from GSX solutions to discuss one of the problems we know many people rapidly deploying Teams, or seeing more usage of video, are struggling to get ahead of at the moment.

With people rapidly being shifted to working from home we know that use of video in Teams calls has increased massively – mainly because you’ve got a mix of people who didn’t work from home now needing to, but also because people who traditionally worked from home are also making more video calls as well.

As we discuss in the show, working under quarantine or lock-down isn’t like normal working from home because we can’t just pop out for lunch or go and see friends and family after work. With many schools closed, parents with kids don’t even get the school yard chat with other parents in the morning. So as humans we need to see other people hence why people are making more video calls – to get more of a connection with other people.

Of course, even if you had planned your Teams deployment – this wasn’t part of the plan – any calculations you might have done, based on what you’d seen with Skype or other technologies probably didn’t factor in COVID-19 – and although Microsoft 365 and Teams is cloud-based, you still need to support people working remotely who are having a sub-par experience.

So we thought it was worth asking experts in monitoring client-side Microsoft 365 performance, GSX Solutions onto the show, as like many companies they have been making their products available for free for companies dealing with COVID-19 and their solution is one of a small number useful especially if you want to be able to gather enough information from remote worker’s devices to understand where problems might originate from and solve issues:

Our show notes from the episode:

  • There’s been a shift in the way people work over the last month – what are we seeing in terms of the types of connection they use and how do we identify and solve those kind of problems, like dodgy wifi, mobile connectivity, VPN issues or even the kids using Netflix and video quality suffering?
  • What are the more unusual scenarios outside the home we are seeing or didn’t plan for? Have we seen extensive use in healthcare or for other key workers using Teams out and about in buildings and other locations where Teams hadn’t been pre-planned?
  • Are there other scenarios we are seeing issues with, like rapid VDI deployments, or in education with both teachers  – and pupils or students using Teams for the first time, many with devices that they’ve had to bring themselves?
  • What has the impact been of rapid Teams deployments with customers we know? How has that impacted planning done up front, or where there has been no planning? What does usage look like compared to usage just a few months ago – are people tending to use video more, and why?
  • How do we use tools like the Call Quality Dashboard to gain insights and what is the limit of what we can identify using the tooling in the box?
  • What is the value of using tooling like GSX’s in the current situation with COVID-19? What types of workers, such as VIPs can be targeted with software that can provide client side insights?
  • What is the free offering from GSX, what are it’s limits and what is the best way to gain benefits from it?

As regular listeners might know, we don’t do any sponsored episodes on the podcast – but we do chat to experts from various companies, and as I’ve reviewed the GSX products in the past and think they are good, we asked them on the show to talk about their free offer of GSX Gizmo Work-from-home, which provides 30 days of monitoring of up to 100 client machines and is available until August. We hope it might be useful. You can find out more by speaking to GSX via their website.

You’ll find Episode 43 above, and at our podcast site, on iTunes,SpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherGoogle podcasts and you can subscribe with your favourite podcast app using the feed. If you’ve got any suggestions for what you’d like to hear on the next shows, let us know. You’ll find us on Twitter as @SteveGoodman and @jaywyn