June 20, 2022

How endpoint modernisation helps IT work smarter, not harder.

Mark Pattie
Modern Work Practice Lead
Working smarter, not harder is all about better utilising your time so you can devote your energy to the important stuff. It’s about replacing habits that have you repeating tasks one way, even though you have access to tools to do them an easier way. For IT teams, it’s about introducing ways to be more efficient and more effective. The good news is that endpoint modernisation is one of the easiest ways to achieve better efficiencies.

Let’s cut to the chase – when we say endpoint modernisation, we’re talking about device provisioning and management. I’m going to show you how you can cut out a big chunk of the provision process to introduce new economies and efficiencies by transitioning away from traditional on-premises solutions. It’s time you considered using hybrid or cloud-first approaches, like Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM).

Let’s begin with a short history lesson.

Since 1994, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) has been the preferred solution when rolling out devices across an organisation. Almost all IT administrators are familiar with it, and it has worked well. However, SCCM has always been on-premises. Not only must IT manage a suite of servers, provisioning also required someone sitting in the office to image new devices before handing, or shipping it to the user. The rise of cloud solutions and hybrid workstyles has only served to make these processes feel very outdated and incredibly inefficient.

When 2011 rolled around, Microsoft launched Intune, a cloud-based solution for mobile device management (MDM). Over time Intune accumulated functionality to bring it to what it is today; the cloud alternative to SCCM. One of the stand outs being its remote provisioning capabilities that allow vendors to ship devices straight to the end user, with device set up largely automated once the user connects to the internet. It cuts out a lot of the ‘middle layer’, which is ultimately cost and time.

Endpoint Manager for modern management

Rumours that Microsoft would cease development of SCCM in favour of Intune were quietened when, in 2019, Microsoft announced it had packaged these two well-known administration tools into a new solution called Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This solution also includes Desktop Analytics, Autopilot and Azure Active Directory. It’s a unified web-based administration console, meaning the capabilities of each solution can now be controlled in one central place. Along with the ability to co-manage, these on-premises and cloud-based tools allow IT to provision, deploy, manage, and secure all new and existing endpoints – desktop and laptop computers, and even smartphones.

For companies that are already using Intune, the solution remains the same apart from an updated management experience.

Reviewing the business case for modernising endpoint management

Reducing software licensing costs

If you are using Microsoft 365 E3 or Microsoft 365 E5, you are already paying for Endpoint Manager as it comes bundled in your licenses. If you are using a third-party device management technology such as AirWatch by VMware, you are again paying for functionality you already have with MEM. Either way, switching to Endpoint Manager becomes easy to justify on licensing alone. You are already investing in the solution, even if you aren’t using it.

However, making the switch isn’t about simply reducing licensing fees. The business case also rests on the value of employee time – the positive is you’re moving to a largely automated process, but on the flipside there’s retraining and upskilling – and other less quantifiable costs, for example, productivity losses caused by security breaches. We’ll cover these next…

Freeing up IT resources

Think about the time it takes to configure a new endpoint or to set up a new user on a laptop, multiply that by the number of devices, and apps in use across the business and you are probably into 4-digit numbers. It takes up a lot of IT resources. In fact, a 2021 Total Impact study of Microsoft Endpoint Manager by Forrester Consulting* found that it takes a combined total of six hours to get a new employee up and running. The same study found that by automating workflows, Microsoft Endpoint Manage resulted in:

  • 25% less time spent by both users and IT admins on device provisioning, by supporting:
    • Faster, smoother provisioning and upgrading of remote devices compared to on-premises approaches
    • Saving time monitoring and facilitating planned application, security and OS updates and reconfigurations
  • Users contacting the helpdesk less – fewer support tickets to tackle in a day
  • Support tickets being resolved faster due to the simplicity of the solution

It’s not just IT who saves time either. End user productivity improves with Endpoint Manager too, a quantifiable benefit given the loss of time at scale. New employees don’t have to wait around for IT to image and configure their new device, their device is simply shipped to them and all they need to do is sign-in and the device will self-configure. Additionally, security patches, application updates, and configuration changes are automatically pushed to devices as part of break-fix, maintenance and scheduled updates, further reducing the need for downtime. It’s beginning to sound like a no-brainer really.

Improving security with trusted Microsoft capabilities

We don’t need to hammer home the costs of a security breach, What is important to note here is that Endpoint Manager leverages Microsoft’s enhanced suite of tools for identity and threat protection, and information protection and compliance. These advanced security features work together to provide organisations with an enhanced security posture, reduce the threat of a security incident, and remove the burden of managing multiple tools for security teams. Forrester quantifies this value as adding $1.2 million to an organisation’s bottom line*. There is also the ability to expedite the installation of zero-day patch updates – whether it’s part of a Microsoft update or another security application – with ease.

Choosing a one hundred percent cloud-based model

Endpoint Manager provides the option to move all your management to the cloud and save the hardware and maintenance costs associated with on-premises solutions. That means no more server management, Microsoft takes care of that. Plus, the evergreen nature of the platform with ongoing development and support ensures the solution is always up to date – new features are rolled out as they are released.

We’re often asked if it’s an all-or-nothing transition. Simple answer is, no, you don’t need to move to cloud immediately. With both SCCM and Intune available within Endpoint Manager – with the combined management console – you can introduce Intune’s cloud provisioning for all new devices, then bring your existing devices across at a later date. This can be at the point of a device or server refresh, or a major update – allowing you to transition away from traditional on-prem SCCM at your own pace.

Accelerate your journey to modern endpoint management with Data#3

Register your interest below to participate in an interactive workshop and pilot program – Endpoint Management Launchpad. Allowing you to test drive modern endpoint management in your own environment, and see the tangible benefits it brings to all staff by:

  • Gaining insights into the Endpoint Manager platform and features
  • Experiencing Endpoint Manager configured in up to 10 devices
  • Building a plan to transition from your current state to modern endpoint management

Get in contact with our team to learn more about how Data#3 and Microsoft Endpoint Manager will help enable streamlined device management and security across your organisation.

Contact a modern work specialist to find out more or register to participate in an Endpoint Management Launchpad pilot program.

* Forrester (2021), The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Endpoint Manager [ONLINE].