If you're like most directors of IT, maintaining uptime is priority #1. Outages are the stuff of nightmares. The word "upgrade" causes cold sweats. Adding more infrastructure takes a committee to cautiously review, scrutinize and manage the project.
So you spend an inordinate amount of trying to reduce risk to uptime. Teams are tasked to maintain vigilance. You do upgrades and patches on Friday @ midnight when traffic is low. That's the norm. And it works, right?
IT directors tell me that managing update pushes (usually for Citrix and VDI) consumes increasingly more and more resources, especially their most valuable resource, time. Are you staying late, working off hours, all to stay current and maintain 99.999% uptime? Do you miss your family time? More importantly... does your family still miss you?
Maybe these Three Steps can reverse the trend of this "norm".
Step 1. Consider getting off the Hamster Wheel of Death.
You upgrade to get new features. You forklift to get new features by replacing EoL components. You count the days to the next upgrade and forklift. You basically plan your team's life around patches and EoL schedules - especially EoL schedules for Microsoft Windows Server and Citrix.
However, compare that experience with that of your smartphone and personal applications.
- Apple updates its software multiple times a year. 1 click upgrade to new features.
- Dropbox updates constantly. You just get new features. Nothing to do on your part.
- Even Microsoft has indicated that Windows 10 is the last "version" of Windows. New features and releases will be delivered as updates.
So while manual upgrades give you the ability to control the upgrade timing and process, it also consumes valuable resources - time and people. But what if you didn't spend resources with upgrading complext software to get new features? What high value projects can your team be solve to grow the business?
Step 2. Consider that the tsunami of devices will win and defeat any device management strategy.
10 years ago, you bought everyone their devices and managed it. Now, 80+% of the devices in the world are not "managed" in the traditional sense. So, a traditional strategy of managing devices with an EMM/MDM will always be playing catch up.
Consider these three truths:
--- Market forces are creating a tsunami of device.
Let's face it. Apple, Samsung, LG, Google, and Microsoft are geared to bringing new devices to market every few months. They can introduce device 10X faster than you can roll out a device management strategy, complete software compatibility testing, and load software on everyone's smartphone, tablet, and laptop. If it's new and released on Amazon or at the AT&T store, it's going to show up on your network.
--- Users are productive from anywhere.
Think of all the home PCs, Macs, iphones, Android phones, iPads in the hands of your end users, consultants, and contractors. And that percentage is increasing. The users of these devices are not upgrading based on a schedule. Chances are, your users don't want your device management software on their home iPad.
--- Managing a device is not the same as providing secured access to productivity
Device management gives IT control over a device, it doesn't ensure that users have access to what they need to be productive. 10 years ago companies used BES to control and deliver email. In 2015, the vast majority of companies use EMM/MDM to control and deliver email. Why? Because controlling the device doesn't mean that a user can get to internal web apps or CIFS.
While device management strategy falls under the catagory of "how we've always done things", it will ultimately consume your most valuable resources to fight off the tsunami of devices. So you could fight the tsunami or you could adopt device agnotics strategies like a Workspace which would free up your resources.
- Always up to date. No patch Tuesday. No forklift. No staying late on a Friday night.
- Scales instantly. Need to add 10 users? Need to add 10,000? Same amount of work for IT.
- Frees up your most valuable resources - time and people - to focus on solving high value problems to grow the business.