You may have seen my earlier post about unified endpoint management or UEM solutions and how cool it would be if we had just one product that does it all. The truth is, even if a workable UEM solution were created, it might not be for everyone. How would you know if that central UEM solution is right for your organization?
How many tools are you actually using today to accomplish what a UEM solution would address? Are you already addressing issues that a UEM solution would solve? Do you need to? And, of the solutions you’re using today, have you identified what you like and don’t like based on what is actually required by your organization? In some midsize and most enterprise organizations, there is available staff to actually document all your needs, research available solutions, evaluate and demo some, and finally choose the best fit for your IT requirements. This isn’t so common in smaller companies, with less than 200 seats, say, which leaves them under served in this area, for example.
What if the UEM solution you find is great when it comes to mobile device management (MDM), but terrible when it comes to patch management? Or, it gives you the centralized, single image management that you’ve been looking for, but fails miserably when it comes to device driver management? You’re now committing to ONE tool when it turns out you may only need a piece of it, or better yet, you need it to do a bunch of things really well.
Or, what if you aren’t really all that concerned with inventory or patch management because you’re OK having your users run Windows Updates themselves or don’t have thousands of employees where the scale dictates you need to keep track of everything? Now you have a tool that supposedly does a bunch of stuff that you don’t need, probably costs a ton, and not enough staff to make it all work. For me, the staff piece is quite often overlooked by organizations. You have to have the people with the appropriate skill set and time to actually test, learn, setup, maintain, and use these tools on a consistent basis.
Like they say, funny how if your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. If you’re framing a house, absolutely, grab that hammer and smash some nails. If you’re demoing out a kitchen, be sure you have a sawzall handy. Fixing IT issues isn’t really so different.
So when you start hearing all the buzz about unified endpoint management and wonder whether it’s the right fit for your company, be sure to take the time to evaluate your IT needs and requirements. Evaluate the size of the team that you have to support the use of the tools, as well as what it takes to keep all your users productive on a daily basis.
Treat your IT tool portfolio like a product management exercise, where the goal is to build the minimum viable product. Put down the minimum, bare-bones, pieces of functionality. Identify what you absolutely have to have. Trim out everything you can. Once you have that dialed in, work toward the whistles and bells you’d like to have and make your IT life easier and more enjoyable. List out what your organization needs to be more efficient 12, 24, and 36 months from now. Then go further and make a 5- or 10-year plan.
Once you have that plan, once you have a MVP for managing your users, compare that back with a UEM solution and a situation where you have best-of-breed for each scenario you’ve addressed. Demo products. Gather feedback from those that are impacted by their trial use. Ask around in forums. See what your buddies who you trust in the space do. Be pragmatic. Then, go for what fits your organization in terms of functionality, supportability, cost, and effectiveness. It is a balancing act and you have to make some tradeoffs.
Be reasonable. Even if that means you do nothing for the next 24 months. Don’t get bogged down with all the hype and work on what is going to improve the efficiency, security, and productivity of what matters most to maintaining a profitable business.