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Workplace Reimagined 2023: ThunderCat’s Paul Ghattas, Dell’s Matt Bragaw on provisioning new employees for hybrid success

By leaning into automation and cloud for provisioning technology, agencies can improve the onboarding experience and heighten security too, explain experts from...

How skillfully an organization onboards people has a big impact on new employee job satisfaction and even longevity.

Why? Because a positive onboarding experience will help new employees get the sense an agency has its act together and that it cares, said Paul Ghattas, a solutions architect at ThunderCat Technology.

During Federal News Network’s Workplace Reimagined 2023, we asked Ghattas and Matt Bragaw, solution principal for federal services at Dell Technologies, to share advice on what agencies need to consider tech-wise when onboarding employees to work in hybrid environments.

A big component in onboarding is provisioning — equipping employees with the hardware and software they’ll need to become productive, Ghattas said.

Make tech provisioning less complex

Bragaw added that the latest provisioning systems can automate the selection of tools for a given employee based on job, location and other factors. That automation combined with a self-service component can speed the onboarding process for the employee and the agency, he said.

ThunderCat and Dell have teamed up to provide a service that gives agencies this commercial grade provisioning capability through a FedRAMP-certified instance of Microsoft Autopilot.

“It’s going to create a really great opportunity to create automation, and to dramatically lower the cost of provisioning and also improve the user experience while doing so,” Bragaw said told. “I think people are going to adopt it very quickly, once it’s available for all federal customers.”

Ghattas added, “You can provision your Autopilot for the devices that your users need. And everything just comes as it is supposed to without any manual calls.”

Make the user experience comparable everywhere

This approach, coupled with cloud-centric hosting of applications and data, ensures that employees have similar experiences and capabilities whether working at home or in the office, Ghattas said.

“You can provision your Autopilot for the devices that your users need. And everything just comes as it was supposed to be, without any manual calls,” he said.

Ghattas noted that in-office meeting participants will use their own PCs, just like those teleworking. Everyone uses scheduling and meeting platform tools provisioned from the cloud.

Ghattas and Bragaw said use of a standard technology onboarding strategy does more than provide employees with a good user experience. It also helps the agency protect its data and other assets by using personas to match IT provisioning policies with specific job and work habits of categories of employees.

Bragaw said personas consist of two parts.

“One is something more central to the agency … that’s role based and about its rules and applications — stuff employees need to do their job,” he said. “The other side of that is behavior. Are they remote? Are they moving around in a single building? Are they going out to remote sites?”

Bragaw added that “this behavior element really informs a lot about what the user needs from a device from a collaboration experience — and is really, really important for reducing costs and improving user experience.”

Because the persona includes a user’s expected behavior, the system can detect and flag anomalies as a way to ensure both user and data security. The use of artificial intelligence capabilities to help with provisioning and heightening security is possible through Open AI on Azure, Ghattas said.

“That is also FedRAMP-authorized. It allows all your sensitive, unclassified information to be secured in the environment.”

To watch and read more from 2023 Workplace Reimagined, visit our event page.

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