The Unified Endpoint Management Mindset: How to Prepare for the Future of IT

UnifiedEndpointManagement

Note: This blog is the seventh in a monthly co-authored series written by Charlotte O’Donnelly, Research Analyst at Blue Hill Research, and Matt Louden, Brand Journalist at MOBI. MOBI is a mobility management platform that enables enterprises to centralize, comprehend, and control their device ecosystems.

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) has the potential to revolutionize the way enterprises approach the complex problem of managing not only traditional wireless assets such as tablets and mobile devices, but also laptops, desktops, and next-generation IT categories such as wearables, sensors, and Internet of Things (IoT)-networked devices. As such, UEM has earned its place as a noteworthy enterprise mobility buzzword.

What does UEM encompass, and how can your organization seek out a solution that uses automation and a technology-first, software approach to support the future of enterprise IT? In this blog, we break down the buzzwords to explain the core value that is delivered when organizations manage their IT assets with a unified, comprehensive strategy rather than taking a siloed or departmental approach.

What is UEM?

Simply put, UEM unites all IT assets and endpoints within a common, centralized, and software-driven management platform that uses technology and automation to track, manage, and optimize an enterprise’s entire IT portfolio. UEM platforms help unify and support an enterprise’s program resources, policies, and technologies, and address the need for a single source of truth by bringing a wide range of IT assets into a centralized platform. Through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Software Development Kits (SDKs), UEM platforms integrate with a wide range of management tools, existing enterprise software systems, and third-party technical platforms to better control and drive value from IT assets. At its core, UEM is about viewing all IT assets as part of a broader business strategy, rather than a separate technology category.

The UEM Benefit

Adopting a Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) platform provides numerous key benefits, including:

  • Single-solution architecture: A single, software-based platform creates a high degree of corporate visibility and enables employees to access corporate IT usage, expense, and optimization data.
  • Ease of onboarding: A UEM platform allows organizations to push out device requirements, policies, applications, and environments, meaning devices go from out of the box to in use faster and with greater standardization.
  • Security: Similar to onboarding, UEM platforms enable organizations to provision corporate security policies such as encryption, multifactor authentication, applications, and security credentials remotely and before the device is in the hands of the employee.
  • Visibility and improved management: Through a centralized platform for all IT endpoints, enterprises have a single source of truth for monitoring inventory, usage, expenses, security, and potential points of failure. This visibility provides not only opportunities for cost savings, but also the ability to troubleshoot, diagnose, and resolve issues remotely.
  • Prepare for the future of mobility: As IT evolves and organizations increase both the volume and scope of devices under their management portfolios, UEM platforms offer the benefit of complete IT lifecycle automation by addressing the ongoing break/fix, replacement, and upgrade needs of IT technologies.
  • Unified corporate IT environment: All prior UEM benefits mentioned deliver the single greatest advantage of this approach when combined: the creation of a unified corporate environment in which experiences are standardized, managed, and optimized across the organization both on corporate networks and remote devices.

Transitioning to a UEM Mindset

Framing UEM as a new way to think about IT strategy can benefit all organizations, regardless of whether they decide to adopt a UEM technology solution or not. For those organizations that prefer a higher degree of human support and service rather than technology automation, a UEM “mindset” can still provide value – even if there is no UEM platform being leveraged. The UEM approach is simply a move toward creating a more standardized and comprehensive IT environment that is managed and optimized across the organization. It better prepares enterprises for next-generation devices and technology-enabled processes.

In the early days of enterprise mobility, organizations generally took a siloed and departmental approach to procuring, managing, and replacing devices and services within the enterprise. Companies quickly realized, however, that there are cost savings and efficiency gains to be had from approaching mobility at an organization-wide level. The same is now being seen across all of IT.

Time has become an increasingly scarce IT resource, and thus increasingly more valuable. Organizations seek to assign IT time to higher value tasks than sorting through bills or providing generic helpdesk services. Just as organizations have done with mobility, viewing IT as a strategic differentiator or a means of generating value (and even profit) for the organization can enable an enterprise to achieve synergies, efficiencies, and long-term evolution in its technology strategy.

Organizations that approach IT asset management through the lens of UEM are better able to plan for long-term, strategic uses of technology and transition to new business models driven by Machine-to-Machine (M2M) or the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

From expense management to managed mobility services to UEM, enterprise mobility now includes a much broader range of devices and services than past definitions. Regardless of whether your enterprise utilizes a single software platform to manage all IT devices and endpoints or a combination of in-house and third-party solutions, a UEM mindset can prepare your business for the next generation of technology enablement and create a culture in which technology strategy is synonymous with business strategy.

About Charlotte O'Donnelly

Charlotte O'Donnelly is a Research Analyst at Blue Hill Research supporting written and research topics in mobility, IoT, and technology expense management. She is primarily responsible for surveying the market and reporting on significant trends and developments from market leaders in this space. Charlotte also supports the analysis, writing, and creation of client deliverables, multimedia assets, and internal initiatives. Prior to Blue Hill Research, Charlotte worked in mobile technology and financial services consulting. Charlotte has a background in business, technology, and law, and is passionate about the intersection of these subject areas.
Posted on July 25, 2017 by Charlotte O'Donnelly

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