On March 23 of this year, our team delivered the first commercial release of Windows Intune, a subscription service that offers PC management and security through the cloud along with upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise and future versions of Windows. Less than seven months later, the next release of Windows Intune is now available!
We spoke at WPC and again last month about what you could expect to see in this release of Windows Intune. Benefits include software distribution, remote tasks, read-only access, and enhanced reporting (see Windows Intune on Springboard for a full list of features); all of which are designed to simplify PC management while ensuring PCs are operating at peak performance from virtually anywhere.
Click through the screenshot gallery below!
Head in the Clouds
Organizations are thinking more and more about how they can integrate cloud solutions into their businesses to save money and increase agility. In fact, in the May 2011 report, “Forrsights: The Software Market In Transformation, 2011 And Beyond,” Forrester Research, Inc. states that companies are getting serious about cloud, with an expected 50 percent or more adopting some software as a service in 2012 and beyond.
Our vision for Windows Intune is big – we want to take the best of the capabilities delivered through our on-premises solutions (like System Center Configuration Manager with Forefront Endpoint Protection, System Center Essentials, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, and Windows Enterprise management and security features) and enable them through the cloud. Eventually, Windows Intune will deliver more management capabilities than the on-premises solutions but with less cost and higher productivity.
As we continue to evolve Windows Intune to meet the changing needs of today’s businesses, this next release demonstrates our commitment to rapid releases and marks the next step in our wave of innovation. We’re focused on enabling these emerging workstyles – helping users complete their jobs from virtually anywhere, at any time, while still satisfying the IT professional’s need for management.
Staying true to our vision for Windows Intune allows partners to feel secure in the product they’re offering to their customers. Chris Hertz, founder and CEO, New Signature, says, “This release builds the trust that Windows Intune will grow with my customers that the Microsoft product team is sticking to a rapid deployment cycle and are committed to delivering real business value.”
Who’s Adopting Windows Intune
As we’ve seen with customers like Save the Children, Windows Intune helps deliver the essentials of management and security for unmanaged or lightly managed PCs, mobile or remote employees working off the network, and so forth.
“Software distribution has always been a painful, manual process. IT staffers literally walked around to peoples’ desks to get the job done. With most of our folks working in the field, we had a lot of people with outdated software and no hope of standardizing everyone on the latest programs,” says Ken Supersano, Senior Director of Technology at Save the Children. “All that’s going to change with this release of Windows Intune. Now that same IT staffer is just a couple of clicks away from distributing software to anyone, when and where it’s needed. It’s going to be game changing!”
We’re also hearing that Windows Intune delivers big tech results with low investment, and is saving customers substantial overhead.
Stan Massat, Information Systems Manager at California Strawberry Commission, explains his business needs, “We’re a small organization with an enterprise mission. We had the PC management needs of a larger business but not the IT resources to match them. Now, using Windows Intune, we’ve fully met this challenge.”
Thomas Castleberry, COO at SkyWire Media, expects big savings with Windows Intune: “The software distribution feature in Windows Intune will save us an estimated $10,000 in software costs because we can retire third-party tools we were using for this purpose.”
Windows Intune is helping customers in the education sector as well. Winchester College deployed Windows Intune for its security benefits, and got much more! “We began this venture thinking of Windows Intune as a way to protect our computers from malware. The built-in PC management tools were additional bonuses that made the solution a must-have for Winchester College,” Damian Digby, ICT Systems Manager for Winchester College.
We are also proud to announce a new incentive for partners influencing the deployment of Windows Intune purchased through an existing Enterprise Agreement. Partners will receive 12 percent of the Windows Intune fees during the first year once the purchased licenses are deployed. However, if partners have a new Windows Client Enterprise Agreement, we have a special promotion until June 30, 2012, where partners influencing the deployment of Windows Intune Add-On licenses purchased will receive 50 percent of the year one Windows Intune fees. These partner fees will be back-dated to July 1, 2011.
And of course, partners will still receive 12 percent of the first year’s subscription fees for each new Microsoft Online subscription and an additional 6 percent of the subscription fees during the first year and onward for each subscription that remains active.
With Windows Intune, New Signature is able to significantly growing their customer base and profit big, Chris Hertz explains, “With Windows Intune, we’ve seen 25 percent higher profit margins. Our revenues are up 50 percent year over year. We can onboard customers more quickly and we are getting rave reviews. It’s been a huge win for New Signature.”
The Path to Windows 7 and Beyond
As we’ve mentioned previously, your Windows Intune subscription gives you rights to the most current version of Windows so you can standardize on one version and give your employees the best and the most modern Windows experience. Today, this means you can move off Windows XP and on to Windows 7 Enterprise to take advantage of those benefits immediately. Support for Windows XP comes to an end in April 2014, making the move to Windows 7 a real and pressing issue for most businesses. Windows Intune can help you.
And with Windows Intune, you have the option to purchase the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) for just an extra dollar per PC per month. In addition, tools like Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP), Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT). You can read more about the importance of moving off of Windows XP now and tools and resources available to you in Rich Reynolds’ blog last week.
How To Get Windows Intune
So you’ve decided you want Windows Intune, but how do you get signed up? Depending on where you are in the process, please follow this guidance to receive the latest release.
- Current Subscribing Windows Intune Customers: We will begin updating your account to reflect the new features and improvements in the following weeks and anticipate all updates will be completed before the end of the calendar year. No action will be required of you. Two weeks prior to your update, you’ll see an alert displayed in the Windows Intune administration console indicating the exact date and time when your subscription will be updated. You will continue to go to https://manage.microsoft.com to log in to the administrator console.
- Windows Intune Beta Customers: The beta service will conclude on November 17. After this date, you will not be able to access your beta account and all account data will be deleted. We highly recommend that you remove the client software and restore computers to their pre-beta state. We encourage you to sign up for this next release and become a Windows Intune customer.
- New Windows Intune Customers: Sign up here to try or buy the latest version immediately. If you’d like to get in touch with a Microsoft partner to help navigate the Windows Intune waters for your business, visit the Microsoft Pinpoint site for a full list of partners in your area. If you signed up for a trial before October 17th, your trial will not be moved to the new service. In order to experience the new features and updates, please sign up for a new trial of this latest release. We encourage you to uninstall any previous trial clients you have deployed.
- Windows Intune will be available in the same 40 countries as the beta, you can see the full list in our FAQ. Check out the infographic below to see what Windows Intune can do for you!
Thank you again for all your feedback, support and questions about Windows Intune! We are looking forward to hearing what you think of our newest release and how it’s being used within your business.
Tags: MDOP, Deployment, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, Windows 7 Enterprise, Customers, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, MDT, IT Professionals, Springboard, Business, Forrester, ROI, Windows Intune, Cloud, IT Pro, PC Management, Forefront, California Strawberry Commission, New Signature, Intune, SkyWire Media, Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, Save the Children, Winchester College, MAP, ACT, Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit