Any organization evaluating how to invest in their Enterprise Mobility strategy needs to approach each of the MDM vendors with a really simple question: “Why should we choose your company?” These questions should be frank and incisive, and you should have a lot of them. And you should expect answers that satisfy the specific needs of your business.
In this post I’m going to start a conversation I hope we can continue in detail: Why should you choose Microsoft?
Our Commitment to Partnership
When most organizations audit their list of strategic partners, Microsoft is usually on the list. Our place on the list is because of things like Windows Server which forms the backbone of nearly every enterprise infrastructure on earth. Microsoft is on that list because Active Directory is the authoritative source for corporate identity. We’re on the list because System Center is the most commonly used management tool in the world – managing 50% of all Windows Servers in the enterprise, and 70% of all enterprise PC’s. Microsoft makes that list because Office has been the program open on most PC’s during the quantum leap in human productivity we’ve seen over the last 30 years. And, much more often than not, those PC’s have been running Windows. Additionally, Microsoft operates a massive, globally distributed public cloud with accompanying worldwide support personnel.
Historically speaking, Microsoft has done amazing work integrating these products (from a technical standpoint) and making them broadly available (via the Enterprise Agreement). Looking to the future, a recent survey of enterprise CIO’s by Piper Jaffrey found that Microsoft was ranked the “most indispensable ‘mega-vendor.’”
As we continue to invest in our platforms, and with our intense focus on enabling the best enterprise mobility user experience for both IT and end-users, our value to CIO’s and infrastructures will remain. The past is not always an accurate indicator of the future, but, as I look at our established and trusted presence in so many enterprises, and as I look at our aggressive plans to build end-to-end solutions that empower IT Pros – I think our answer to “Why Microsoft?” is the best in the business.
Architecture Really (Repeat: Really) Matters
Microsoft, as an organization, is committed to learning. There’s no shortage of commentary about the money we put towards R&D and deeply mastering the technology we package. We are also fast learners and, when appropriate, fast followers.
From my role within the company, I get to see some pretty amazing things taking shape here at Microsoft. I get to see the details of what we’re learning from our telemetry, as well as the concrete principles we’re learning from operating 200+ at-scale clouds services. The amount of usable data is so vast that this blog simply doesn’t have room for it.
The single most important thing we’ve learned is how to deliver new value and capabilities on a daily basis, and how to connect this cloud value to the on-premises products you have already been using for years.
In today’s marketplace – and certainly in tomorrow’s – agility will be any organization’s single most critical capability. Not only should you plan to make your own organization more agile – you should demand that your partners are, too.
This is why architecture matters so much.
Right now, the things we’re building into the SaaS offerings you see from us (products like Azure Active Directory, Azure RemoteApp, Windows Intune, Office365, etc.) are sets of many loosely coupled services that can all be updated independently. This architectural approach enables many teams here at Microsoft to rapidly innovate and continuously integrate their innovations into the service you have deployed. That means you get regularly updated, new value on a regular basis – potentially every single day.
Our approach to locking on this type of architecture came about very carefully. When we really did our game-theory work on how Enterprise Mobility would be delivered in the future, it became clear that a platform supporting mobility needed to be just as fast-moving as its end users. That meant our mobility solution would need to be a cloud-based service featuring deep integration with the on-premises SCCM product. That’s exactly what we’ve built.
The SCCM+Intune connection allows you to build upon the foundation you already have while building a bridge to the future.
What we already have in market is the ability for our teams who focus on Enterprise Mobility to rapidly innovate a particular service and then automatically deliver that new feature directly to your on-prem SCCM without you needing to update your SCCM infrastructure.
In the previous post I noted:
This cloud-based advantage is also a huge help when it comes to managing the modern mobile devices. All of these new mobile devices were built to consume cloud services and their value increases exponentially when they are attached to the cloud.
When you use a cloud-based service for your Enterprise Mobility solution, these devices can be managed and updated from anywhere on earth as long as they have an internet connection. These updates can be extended without the need to setup gateways that expose servers in your datacenters, and every aspect of the admin role becomes progressively less cluttered with these chronic, manual tasks.
Delivering policy from the cloud does not mean all of your administration has to be from the cloud – we think about Intune as the edge to your SCCM deployment. Intune provides a global, highly available solution for your mobile devices which is connected back to your on-prem SCCM deployment. All your administration and reporting can then be done from the SCCM console.
Intune was built from the ground up as a pure SaaS offering that’s composed of many loosely coupled micro-services that can all be updated and improved independently. Our architecture will truly enable us to provide value every day. Theirs will not. Other MDM vendors are hosting their on-prem products and then talking about them as a hosted service. From an architecture perspective, that doesn’t check out and it’s not what the market requires. Architecture matters.
The importance of dynamically architecting Enterprise Mobility solutions will only grow over the next year as our customers and partners see the pace of innovation we deliver from the cloud – via Intune – connecting back to your SCCM infrastructure and console.
Building the Most Comprehensive Solution
This section heading isn’t hyperbole; Microsoft has built the single most comprehensive solution on the market, bar none.
The proof behind this statement is really simple and it’s not debated by any of the other vendors: As noted above, Microsoft’s mobility solution brings together the long-term, best-in-class investments we’ve made in Windows Servers, System Center, Active Directory, and Office – and we apply that value across Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
If you have any doubts about how serious we are about this cross-platform approach, I encourage you to try Office on the iPad and see just how amazing the experience is. Of all the times I’ve had an exec ask me if we’re serious about being cross-platform (and I can’t count how many times this has happened), the iPad experience has answered all their questions. To see it in action, skip to Julia White’s demo at 1:37:48 in the TechEd 2014 keynote. The functionality and the UX for both end-users and IT Pros is something that no other MDM vendor is even close to providing.
This cross-platform philosophy is also seen in the 5+ million downloads of the Remote Desktop app from the iOS, Mac, and Android stores. Even better than that huge number are the fantastic ratings the app has in each store.
We clearly understand your expectations for these solutions: You want them to be deeply integrated, interoperable, and intuitive. We’re hard at work on this and we will continue improving the existing solutions that cater to these needs.
Currently, I’m responsible for a cross-company team that Satya is holding accountable for delivering the things you need “to enable your users to be productive on the devices love while helping you keep the company secure” – so this topic is never far from my mind. As you’re developing your Enterprise mobility strategy, look closely at the integration features offered by MDM vendors, and compare them relative to the integrated solutions that we have in place across SCCM/Intune, AD/AAD, Office/Office 365. This integration is available now across all the devices your users want use.
This end-to-end, cross-platform, app-centric functionality represents a fundamentally new Microsoft, and I love the work we’re doing.
- Read the post “5 quick Wins for Implementing Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Vision (+learn how to do it!)“ by Simon May to find out about some practical ways to immediately provide value to your organization, like “Know your users devices with Workplace Join” or “Be better than passwords with MFA.”
- Try it yourself: Take the “Modernize Your Device Infrastructure” learning path on the TechNet Eval Center to learn how modernizing your device infrastructure lays the foundation to empower Enterprise Mobility and test drive the software through evaluations and virtual hands-on labs.