Gearing up for a truly Unified Endpoint Management system
For decades Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) have helped enterprises manage hundreds or thousands of systems including asset management and security management solutions. But of late, enterprise users are no longer confined to desktops and laptops, but also smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. To address this need, there has been a separate category of solutions such as EM+S, Airwatch and XenMobile – called Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). We believe that enterprises need to start preparing for a convergence of these two categories of solutions soon.
Already a host of features on EMM solutions require parallel configuration changes in Microsoft SCCM or AD servers. Also, EMM solutions have not entirely matured and have challenges given the multitude of devices and OS versions that they need to support. But the direction of travel seems to be clear as Microsoft released Windows 10 in a Software-as-a-Service model as an evergreen Windows feature (always up-to-date).
Eventually enterprise IT managers would see that they are performing similar activities on two families of devices (desktops/laptops running Windows OS/MacOS, mobile devices running Android/iOS) – security updates, provisioning/deprovisioning, pushing apps etc. It is but reasonable to expect Microsoft as well as other solution providers to converge these products into a single platform. And that would be truly ‘Unified Endpoint Management’.
What about Internet of Things? This paradigm doesn’t change much for IoT devices, or does it? One would expect that current EMM vendors would include support for IoT protocols as well soon (e.g. Citrix’s acquisition of Octoblu) and bring them under the single umbrella of ‘endpoints’ to be managed. Please don’t be surprised if your coffee machine / board room AV systems are activated when they detect your presence. At that point, they will no longer be run by the building facilities manager, but by your enterprise IT using their ‘Unified Endpoint Management’ platform.