Over to the not so Dark Side

So yes, I have ordered an iPhone. Lets get this out of the way, in the past I have referred to Apple products as “toys” and “entertainment devices” and always considered Microsoft as the leader in business software and productivity platforms. And they still are. But they have made a change in strategy with Windows 10  mobile that leaves its current users in a holding pattern while they “re-trench” and attempt to leap frog Apple and Android by envisioning a future where your phone IS LITERALLY a PC (check out this video to see what I mean  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCJ9pYuxDNc).  That’s cool but its a few years off. My months with the Windows 10 Lumia 950 XL has shown this device to be a prototype. I mean it works its just not stable enough right now to be a daily driver. I am responsible for a business that needs productivity and stability today.

Fortunately Microsoft has also shifted in this regard and many of the products I used on its mobile platform will be there when I move to the iPhone. Office, OneDrive, Office Lens, One Note, Bing, Cortana, Skype for Business, Sway, MS Health (still connects to the Microsoft Band), Translator, Channel 9 are all there. I can still even connect to my Xbox and play Halo Spartan Assault (when I am home of course!). This wasn’t true 2 years ago. Under new leadership Microsoft has embraced the present by developing more aggressively for Apple and Android (Apple makes me less nervous than Goggle regarding data security) while seeing if they can get a jump on the future of mobile where you plug your phone into a monitor and its also your PC. They have also started to integrate these other OS’ into the Microsoft infrastructure so these devices can be secured and managed by our networks. So the tide has changed and in this case its a good thing; at least for right now. I’ll be using and playing with the Windows 10 Lumia in the background and seeing what develops. Could this be a use case for clinicians in the future? Carrying a device is such an issue in the clinical setting BUT if that device were the size of a phone and we provided docks they plugged into for a full screen experience when needed, yeah I could see that working. We will see.

But for now, I’m getting an iPhone.


The Red Pill and down the Rabbit Hole

In my last post I mentioned using the clip from The Matrix as a metaphor for the class we put together to introduce those in our training session to what was ahead of them. No we wouldn’t be providing psychotropic drugs or plugging cables into their brains (yet!). We did however want them to see that they would need to look at their world and their work differently. The class would be demonstrating navigation and how-to’s with our desktop and productivity platform. But more important was to teach the concepts of leveraging the tech to become more efficient. Efficient first at the level of personal productivity and then extend that beyond to their departments and product lines. We pressed the cost of migrating them stating we didn’t want to hand off “a thousand dollars worth of equipment only to be used for email.”  We highlighted the investment made by the organization over the last several years in software licensing and infrastructure. Then, we reinforced the value the organization could realize IF there were adoption of the tools we were reviewing and the automation available to users across the system.

The users in the class received their devices 1-2 weeks prior to class. We assigned them a set of YouTube videos on Windows 8 to review along with their device prior to class. We also encouraged them to go out and get their own case or cover of choice. This gave them a bit of time to familiarize themselves and put their own touch and style in getting used to transporting and carrying around this portable “desktop.”

One of the things the team assisting with the training noted was the anxiety present in the users on deployment and at class time. Our initial sessions were comprised of all senior leaders and physicians. These folks were used to being competent and decisive in every aspect of what they do. They were also all “digital immigrants,” somewhat familiar with computers but only the very basics and they were getting ready to go into the deep end of the pool. To address the anxiety and allay the fears we made the training relaxed, personal and fun. While there was an agenda, it was more of a guide. We worked to limit repetitive “click here, tap that, open that, type this” series of lessons. We were very unscripted and went where we felt the class lead in terms of interest and need.

To lighten up the day we used a number of humorous videos to relax the group and break the monotony:
Blue Pill/Red Pill – Class Introduction and concept discussion.

Paper still has Some use – I argue during class that every print out not only cost money but initiates a manual process that could be automated. This video helps poke fun at the concept of all things being digital.

Medieval Help Desk – Funny take on converting from one medium to another. In the case of this video, from scrolls to books.

Conference Call in Real Life – Used as an intro to the Lync/Skype training section.

Our class outline flowed as follows:

  • Device overview
  • Windows 8 Concepts and Navigation
  • Security Essentials
  • SharePoint
    • My Site
    • Storage
    • Sharing
    • Work Flows and Automation
  • Office 2013 concepts and tips
  • OneNote 2013
  • Lync/Skype

Overall the day started out awkward and tense but by mid day the groups got into a grove and by days end they were usually out of control. In a good way!  Users would start experimenting with the things they had learned. They were moving documents to SharePoint, using the pen and practicing with OneNote, or playing with features they didn’t know existed in Office. The most distracting (and humorous) practice were users deciding to make a Lync video call in the middle of the session! For many this was their first introduction to desktop communications and video conferencing was too enticing to wait on. We simply lost the class for 30 minutes but it was good experience and great fun. In fact after a few classes, we ended up moving Lync (eventually Skype) to the last session of the day.

Since our start two years ago we have held a dozen classes training over 200 users, established our automation and efficiency platform and set a standard for end user technology in our organization. We are continuing to refine the program and adapt to changes such as upgrades in the tools. Since we started we have upgraded hardware going through Surface Pro 2, 3 and now 4. Moved from Windows 8 to 8.1 and now 10. We have upgrade from Lync to Skype, SharePoint 2010 to 2013 and have tweaked a number of settings via SCCM (System Center Communications Server) and AD (Active Directory). As our users learn and apply the technology they challenge us back so IT is learning and growing with its user base.

Ultimately the desire is to innovate our processes to enable more efficient, safer, cost effective care for our patients. This enables those overseeing those processes with the tools and guidance they need maximize efficiency and even redefine how they provide services and meet requirements in this rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Thanks for checking in and blessings to you all!



Red pill or Blue pill?

Just over two years ago I started an effort to train my organizations leadership team on Windows 8. At the beginning of the day-long session I show a film clip from The Matrix. In it, the character Morpheus gives the character Neo a choice between taking a Red pill or a Blue pill. Take the Blue pill his life stays the same and he continues a rather tortured existence knowing there was more to his life than he was experiencing. Take the red pill and his eyes would be opened to the true world around him and the power he possessed. Oh, and he would have to fight against the forces trying to keep the world at the status quo. Of course the metaphor I was trying to share was give me your day, invest some interest, and what I show you could change the way you work and by nature the way the organization functions. You will come to understand the tools we have at our disposal, use them, gain efficiency and start setting standards across your departments for your team members to do the same. In this way, we will shift how things get done across the enterprise.

I’d like to think my clever presentation grabbed their attention and was sufficient for helping motivate them. It likely helped that for months our CFO was explaining how the changing reimbursement model across the health care industry was going to decrease stay and incentivize us to actually drive SOME patients and revenue out of the acute setting. Bottom line, you need to figure out how to manage on smaller margins and higher regulation. In other words, figure out how this new world impacts your services and how to be more efficient.

OK ready for your Red Pill now?

The Hook: So this all started months before with a presentation to our Senior Leadership team. I started with some bait. Everybody likes to get a new device. With the release of Windows 8 we started to see some early entries into hybrid laptop/tablet device space. I started taking units we were given to test, to leadership meetings with me and giving previews and planting the seed about mobility and efficiency. Then, during the budgeting cycle I proposed to refresh all SVP and VP devices with a Hybrid Windows 8 device. We had selected the Dell XPS 12 and then just before the program launched also included the Surface pro 2 which had just released as a choice to the user. This was also new for the team. Previously, there was a organizational standard and that what you got. Moving forward, they actually got to select what felt best to them. The XPS was a bit more like a laptop-like while the Surface more like a tablet and had that pen.

The Deal: recognizing the opportunity at hand I pushed for a commitment for the leadership team to adhere to some requirements.

  • They had to give up their current desktop device within 30 days of being trained on the new device.
  • They could only use that device as their PC. If they had offices at multiple sites or had to be mobile they had to take their Windows 8 device.
  • Remote Access would be enabled and limited to VPN client installed on the device.
  • They had to move the last 6 months of active documents from the network share to their SharePoint My Site
  • They had to create or update a departmental SharePoint site.
  • They had to give up any in office printer and only use shared devices if they had to print.
  • All future meetings had to be set up as Lync/Skype meetings to allow an option for remote attendance.
  • Any further utilization of this hardware and associated platforms had to be accompanied by a business plan. Directors who plan to extend this in your departments, demonstrate how it was going to improve your operations and better yet improve quality or save costs.

The Outcome: So I received support from Senior Leadership and we were ready to start our implementation. Tune in in a few weeks to see how we approached training and what the state of affairs are today.

Thanks everyone and blessings to you all!