Microsoft Teams With Partner Lakeside Software To Tackle Windows 10 Support Challenges

As Microsoft moves to a Software-as-a-Service model for Windows 10, it could be inundated with support calls from customer IT departments trying to ascertain the source of glitches.

That's because when software is running in the cloud, and not in the customer's data center, IT departments don't have the same visibility that they're used to.

To address this situation, Microsoft is teaming up with Lakeside Software, a partner based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which specializes in software that analyzes telemetry data to diagnose issues with software that's running in the cloud.

[Related: 10 Scenes From Microsoft's Windows 10 Launch Party]

Sponsored post

Microsoft earlier this week chose Lakeside Software as a partner for its upcoming series of Windows 10 events, titled Ignite Your Business, which are set to kick off Nov. 3 in San Francisco.

Tal Klein, vice president of strategy at Lakeside Software, told CRN that the rapid adoption of Microsoft's Office 365 suite has brought these SaaS support challenges to the fore.

"Microsoft is getting inundated with support calls from enterprise customers. When you move Office to the cloud, IT departments don't have the visibility they'd have if it was running in the data center," Klein said in an interview.

Lakeside Software's flagship product, called SysTrack, is installed on endpoints within a customer's organization, where it collects telemetry data and makes it available to IT departments.

Klein said SysTrack can determine whether issues with a slow-performing SaaS app are related to hardware, networking configuration or a faulty software update. This, in turn, shortens customers' support conversations with Microsoft, he said.

"As businesses increasingly use SaaS apps, the endpoint is really the only point of view into what's going on, because IT controls less of the infrastructure," Klein said.

SysTrack works by figuring out the last event that happened on the endpoint before the user experience began to deteriorate, like a faulty update. Klein likened SysTrack to an endpoint equivalent of a black box recorder on an airliner.

This is an especially important function because Microsoft is now installing Windows 10 security updates automatically, although business customers will still have a degree of control over when they're applied.

With past versions of Windows, IT departments decided if and when to install security updates.

"As Windows moves to a SaaS model, IT has less and less visibility into whether the latest security update caused a conflict on the endpoint. They don't have visibility because they didn't push the update," said Klein.

Klein told CRN he believes this is a shrewd move on Microsoft's part. "IT should not be in a position to hold back security updates, unless it will break something," he said.

Klein said he expects Microsoft's support for Lakeside Software's SysTrack will open up conversations with new kinds of customers. Until now, he said, the primary use case for SysTrack was continuous visibility into what's happening in IT environments.

"Windows 10 moving to a SaaS model is a big shift for us," Klein said.