Today’s employees are increasingly mobile and use multiple devices to complete their work. They want a seamless experience across all devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
This means supporting more operating systems and increased complexity for IT departments, blurring the lines between traditional and mobile platforms. As a result, IT has to give ‘untrusted’ mobile PC devices ‘trusted’ access to corporate IT services, as well as manage mobile PC devices with multiple device management solutions.
Overall, this has consequences when it comes to workspace management: traditional technologies don’t entirely cover today’s reality and that’s where Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) comes in.
Managing through a single pane of glass view
Gartner has responded to this development with the recent announcement to cease its Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools. Instead, they will focus on UEM, which integrates substantial functions of the PC administration with the capabilities of enterprise mobility management (EMM). This allows IT departments to manage all devices for their entire lifecycle in the same way with the one central platform through a single pane of glass.
Oliver Bendig, CTO of workspace management provider Matrix42 and my colleague, recently said the shift towards UEM is being driven by smartphones and tablets gaining traction in enterprises over the last few years to the point where traditional device management solutions no longer suffice.
“So far, we’ve been able to manage this new endpoint diversity using solutions we already have: client lifecycle management for traditional devices such as PCs and laptops and enterprise mobility management for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.”
He added: “But the boundaries between these two worlds are blurring: hybrid devices or convertibles – like the Microsoft Surface Pro – can’t be assigned clearly to either of these two worlds.”
Not only is IT being asked to get a handle on the multitude of devices in the workplace, but they also must contend with operating systems such as Windows 10, which runs on any type of device – making it more than just a hardware management issue. That is why the new, integrated approach that UEM brings is needed.
Gaining clarity in a blurred workplace device landscape
The number of challenges presented by the blurry endpoint landscape can no longer be tackled effectively by single-purpose solutions. Using a combined approach with client lifecycle management (CLM) solutions and mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) creates a headache for administrators, forcing them to navigate two different products.
Instead, UEM recognises the common need across all devices for IT admin to be able to automatically deploy workplace software while equally recognising the distinction required for managing different devices. But isn’t that the same thing as combining the two solutions? Not exactly.
As Bendig points out: “It’s no longer the endpoint device that dictates which management technology to use. Instead the choice is contingent on the task the administrator plans to execute on the device.”
Putting the user in the device driver’s seat
If the focus is no longer on the devices, where does it lie? The answer is simple: the user. How an employee uses a device at work and what software or apps run on it is very specific to their role.
In this context, the focus shifts to how can IT give employees access to what they need to do their job efficiently and productively. Easy: put the control in their hands through a self-service portal.
For example, the sales representative himself can take the necessary steps to protect corporate data by remotely locking or removing data. In addition, users can customise their software configuration via browser or app, and are automatically provided with the same configuration across all their devices without interacting with the IT department.
Instead of focusing on service desk calls, IT can focus on making a better user experience for all – making a clear picture out of all the endless dots.
James Johnson, Country Manager, Matrix42
James Johnson is UK country manager of Germany-based workspace management solutions provider Matrix42. With 19 years of experience in the IT industry, Johnson has previously served as managing director and founder of South African ICT services and solutions organisation Orange Street Software, senior account manager at Datacentrix and account manager at First Technology.
Image Credit: Palto, jannoon028, alphaspirit /Shutterstock