In organisations across most industries, the end user IT landscape is more complex now than ever before. This level of complexity has been increasing for many years, but the pandemic has accelerated the changes taking place.
Those changes mean the end user IT landscape now covers an array of devices, platforms, systems, workstations, processes, and people, with locations that can be anywhere.
There are multiple tools available for managing the modern dispersed end user IT landscape, but the one that is generally regarded as top of the pile is Microsoft Endpoint Manager (otherwise referred to as Intune). Gartner, for example, ranked Microsoft as the leading provider of endpoint management tools in its most recent (August 2021) magic quadrant for unified endpoint management.
What is it about Microsoft Endpoint Manager that is pushing it ahead of competitors like VMware? Is Microsoft Endpoint Manager the solution for your organisation as you look to modernise your IT, particularly in relation to the Windows operating system that is currently deployed?
Microsoft Endpoint Manager – In Brief
Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) started off as Intune, a replacement product for SCCM, the deployment system and configuration manager. Despite this, the limited features available in early incarnations of Intune meant it was primarily used for mobile device management.
The platform has evolved considerably since then. As a result, it now has extensive Windows system and endpoint management tools and features.
This has led to an increase in the adoption of MEM to the point that MEM is fast becoming the device and app management tool of choice for organisations operating modern desktop solutions, including VDI and DaaS.
It is particularly advantageous for organisations on a path to either Windows 10 or Windows 11. A crucial reason for this is the fact that MEM supports a range of Microsoft package types, both modern and legacy. This includes MSI, MSIX, and the App Attach container VHD.
Meeting the Challenges Faced by Organisations Today
Traditional endpoint management processes and tools worked well when devices and people were connected to the corporate LAN. The increasing shift to cloud technologies rendered that traditional endpoint management approach ineffective, as endpoints are now on the internet, i.e., they no longer need to be connected to the corporate LAN.
This switch to the cloud offers significant productivity, cost, IT infrastructure, and collaboration benefits, but it also means endpoint management must be done a different way, i.e., via a tool like MEM.
In simple terms, if a device is connected to the internet, MEM can manage it. This includes controlling how endpoint devices are used and how they are accessed. Security protocols can be implemented by MEM, and administrators have greater oversight of all IT endpoints.
MEM also enables Autopilot builds, where the provisioning of new devices is an automated process, including sending the right settings, policies, and apps to a new machine. With Autopilot builds, IT staff don’t even have to look at the new device being provisioned, let alone touch it. Everything is automated and remote.
Endpoint devices can be wiped using MEM, too, and new operating system builds can be installed. Also, updates and patches can be sent to endpoints at scale, both quickly and reliably.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Access Symphony, and Access Capture
Both Access Symphony and Access Capture can be linked directly to Microsoft’s APIs to fully integrate them with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This will further enhance IT endpoint management in your organisation, as well as giving you greater oversight, control, and capabilities, particularly in relation to rapid and at-scale app repackaging and deployment.
While MEM is widely regarded as the leading device and app management platform, adoption is still in the growth phase as cloud-based IT environments mature.
The release of the latest Windows operating systems, the increasing use of hybrid work arrangements for employees, the cost savings that MEM offers, and the operational efficiency of the platform, particularly when integrated with Access Symphony/Capture, mean adoption of the platform is predicted to increase considerably in the short-term.
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