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When the word ‘device’ is brought up within the context of end user devices, which of these images springs to mind? An iPhone? Dell, HP, Lenovo Laptop? A MacBook Air? What about a Dell PC workstation? Or even the new Surface units issued to the entire team? How is ‘device’ viewed in your organisation?
When it comes to endpoint management of devices, many businesses treat mobile devices, like phones and tablets, in isolation to the rest of their fleet of more traditional devices like Desktops, and Laptops. What I find even more disconcerting is that the words ‘mobile devices’ quite frequently mean ‘mobile phones’ in the vernacular of those in the industry. Businesses treat the management of mobile phone rather differently to the management of the larger portable devices. And these again, are treated somewhat differently to the fixed infrastructure Desktops and Macs. So why is this segregation of devices so prevalent? When it comes to endpoint management, why can’t all devices be collectively treated the same way – as something that a business user leverages to conduct his/her daily work. That is what a device is. That is what a device must be. And that is how it must be managed. Why, owing to the form factor or size or portability, are these (end-user) devices managed so differently? Is it owing to the pre-existing solutions for provisioning and management of desktops like SCCM?
Although it might appear trivial, the problem with putting up barriers between mobile phone devices, other mobile devices and larger devices such as desktops is that the IT Dept inevitably ends up with multiple management solutions of different vintages and varying strategies based on the organisation’s needs at the time of deployment.
Instead of focusing on how desktops and laptops are traditionally managed, looking at how mobiles are managed presents an opportunity to review how we manage and provision other endpoints.
At Experteq, we firmly believe in devising a single strategy for endpoint and application management. This results in a single technology solution in most cases, and co-management options in a few others. Regardless, a cohesive strategy must ensure optimal efficiency and a focus on automation, where possible. Newer technologies like Autopilot and Desired State Configuration (DSC) enable IT to mimic in desktop fleet management what they have been doing in mobile fleet management for some time with DEP for iOS and other similar technologies.
In recent years, Microsoft has focused heavily on developing and promoting Intune to collectively manage Windows 10, iOS and Android devices, rather than utilising SCCM with other MDM/MAM tools. I am not suggesting that Intune can fully replace SCCM today but for organisations with modern devices and applications, it is often difficult to justify continuing with SCCM rather than replacing it with Intune.
We recently completed a consulting engagement for a large Government agency who asked the question – “Can we replace our existing SCCM deployment for Windows 10 desktops with Intune and add our mobile fleet?” The answer was not a simple one but suffice it to say they have now set their direction for the future on a single end-to-end management platform using Intune.
Windows 7 goes end of life in early 2020. Microsoft is promoting Windows 10 as a Service due to the semi-annual release model. Unified Application lifecycle management and unified endpoint management become less complex for organisations once they have migrated to Windows 10. When you have decided to migrate to Windows 10, it would be wise to rethink how you propose to manage both after the move.
Is it time for your organisation to rethink how business services that staff use daily are provisioned? Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) and Unified Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) are the discussions more people need to have. Are you having this conversation? Is it time to drop the device segregation walls and cease managing devices in silos? It is time to start devising a strategy to provision and manage devices as a collective, regardless of form factor, location, size or processing power.
Is it time to rethink device management in your organisation?