[In today’s post Josh Pointer captures the Configuration Manager buzz at MMS 2009.]
What a week… That’s all I can say after spending 5 days with some of my favorite people on the planet and sharing with them the future of Configuration Manager (or at least parts of it). Sometimes I forget how invigorated I get just by spending the week at MMS with our best customers. It always sends me back to work on the following Monday with a lot of energy to pass on to the team. It also gave me a lot of joy to know we are building the right product to solve the needs of not just today but tomorrow. I have to say my single most happy moment at MMS this year was after the “State of the Union” session and one of the guys we had in a focus group last year came up and said “that is so cool – last year we were kicking this around in a focus group and this year we are seeing it in product.” Now that to me makes it all worthwhile knowing we are taking the feedback and generating a product that solves problems for IT Pro’s.
I spent much of my time that week meeting and chatting with a lot of customers. It’s clear that a lot of people are moving fast to Configuration Manager 2007 it was also clear from the questions that Windows 7 is making its way pretty fast into the enterprise. Also, I met with a lot of customers that are at the early stages of working with Configuration Manager 2007 R2 mostly for the App-V technology focus of that release.
We coined a new key word for Configuration Manager at the conference this year as we started to show off parts of Configuration Manager v.Next: “User Centric”. As discussed in Bill Anderson’s chat during Brad’s keynote it really comes down to one main thing: How do we enable user x to get application y in the most efficient way possible? Today our job as IT Pro’s is about finding where we think user x is going to be and trying to get the application to that device (and sometimes we succeed). When that device that user x was on dies or gets replaced we completely loose user x and anything that was relevant to that person. So how do we shift the focus of management from device to user but still allow all the controls necessary to manage devices as well. Lots of products including our own provide facilities to be able to target software to a user but it’s all the barriers to doing that, that typically prevent the act from being successful (don’t install it on this server farm, don’t install it on this secured machine). Sometimes where the application doesn’t belong is just as important as where the application does belong.
We also introduced a new persona that we aren’t typically used to dealing with in the IT world. The end user is the primary driver of revenue for a company and they are radically changing for our customers. Digital Natives are certainly beginning to show up in the workplace. These are folks that have had a computer their whole life and are very comfortable with technology. They represent the next generation of the work force which over time will be an even larger change than gen x and the baby boomers was. They expect that they can work wherever they want, and they can use technology to solve many of the issues they may have at work. The mantra with these folks is ‘give me what I need when I need it on any device’. So we have begun to build a product that enables the IT Pro to handle the many complexities of these Digital Natives and their needs without making all the explicit actions that have to occur in the product today. The goal here is that the only explicit decision an IT Pro needs to make is “user x gets application y”.
So we showed a bit of these capabilities at MMS and the response was overwhelming. People were excited to see the change in the product and the Digital Native was definitely resonating with what people are seeing in their environments. After Brad Anderson’s keynote it took me close to an hour to walk what should normally take about 5 minutes just answering questions from excited folks about the future direction of the product and it’s abilities to solve those problems. It was awesome!!! As MMS closed down last week and I headed to the airport I realized something and smiled. I was thinking these guys haven’t seen anything yet. We have only showed them a small portion of what’s to come. I kept thinking “man we are going to blow their socks off at IT Forum in Berlin this year and do it again at MMS next year!”
Group Program Manager
System Center Configuration Manager
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