How to manage devices differently at scale Shifting from traditional device management to mobile device management

In today’s landscape, technology is changing how we collaborate, communicate, and even the spaces in which we work. We also live in a mobile society and computing has become ubiquitous. Satya Nadella stated in his book Hit Refresh, “We live in a world of mobile technology, but it is not the device that is mobile. It is you.” How any organization manages this environment, culturally and systemically, is changing rapidly. Though the IT division may be the technology enablers, remember that everyone within every organizational division, including IT, needs to change the way they work.

Back When I Was Younger....

Gone are the days when your desk was overrun by a large tower, CRT monitor, with a wired keyboard and mouse. I remember the first change with this setup was the movement to a flat panel display. That flat panel display added space and enormous clarity to what was being displayed on the screen. Soon after that bluetooth was introduced and allowed keyboards and mice to be wireless. Mice ran on rollers with a little rubber ball rotating against the tabletop and would later evolve to use optics to provide better accuracy to the end user.

Our kids will never know this experience.

Managing Devices Historically

In large enterprises, we have traditionally managed devices top down, with compliance as the approach. This allowed for security models to be enforced and provided efficiencies for the technology department to manage mostly on premise devices and users. I think it is important to note that devices and users were managed here because the workplace was also one at this time was typically restricted to "on-premise" work.

So What Happened?

Fast forward to the mid-2000s, and we introduce mobile computing and social media. A world of information accessed through the internet becomes freely available, and also we begin to work differently.

This culture shift requires us to look at also shifting to how we manage devices. Staff have personal devices that continuously have access to organizational data, and when provided with corporate mobile devices, still desire to work from anywhere, anytime. Devices and information need to be managed outside of your organization. So let's take a look at the shift that needs to happen.

So many things are wrong with the traditional way:

  • the device takes much time on task for the technician to complete
  • the device is only as good as the date/time the image was created (no updates, etc)
  • the image of the device isn't tailored to the user (personalization)
  • If the management software is limited to on-premise, managing of the device only happens on-premise as well

Shifting to a cloud-first, mobile-first environment means managing devices everywhere. It also begins shifting some of the low level tasks for the end user to complete. Think about this, everyday, you access your mobile device. You access social media, applications, and other collaborative tools that increase your digital literacy with every experience. You slowly become a data driven decision maker naturally. If you know something relevant as your organizational login, and it could empower you to provision your new device, wouldn't you take advantage of that? Let's use your smartphone as an example. If you are like me, it changes every year or so. When I get the new one, I just enter my iCloud credentials and the cloud does the rest for me. That is how it should be now in the enterprise as well.

We are in the middle of this transition at Omaha Public Schools. That transition is moving us away from an on-premise system to the cloud. When the user places their files into the cloud, in our case OneDrive, dependency on the device begins to lessen. That shift allows more collaboration for the end user as well as the ability to access their information anytime, anywhere with data security still being maintained.

Below is a video I made of my experience with Fresh Start in Windows 10. It is a model of resetting a device and not re-imaging the device. The time involved was a little over eleven minutes. The IT Department can now execute this via Microsoft Intune or locally to easily prepare devices for re-use by removing all applications, settings and files - this can either happen in Fresh Start or Autopilot.

As technology continues to change how we collaborate, communicate, and even the spaces in which we work, we must also look at changing how we manage these resources. The transformation of IT workloads to cloud is one of the most significant shifts in recent history. We need to continue to shift our approaches to meeting our end users needs as technology changes how and where we work.


Created with images by Valerie Potapova - "keyboard with phone and tablet pc on wooden desk" • wittayayut - "Close-up of ancient old and obsolete personal computer home use on old table wood. Obsolete technology concept." • Aleksandar Radovanov - "photo blue screens in computer room"

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