Another side of device management

Usually when we talk about device management we focus on security and corporate compliance. But there is a different aspect to device management more than just the security story, and that is what we will explore today!

I’ve been working with mobile device management and cloud-based device management for the last 10+ years now, and the way I got into the game was through managing iPhones. This was the time before ABM (or what we who have been around a while call DEP), meaning that users needed to enroll their devices themselves, sometimes on-site IT helped them out. But his meant that we needed to convince the users to enroll their device and work a lot with “what’s in it for me”. And that is what we will explore today. 

What’s in it for the end-user to have a managed device?

A corporate device

There are probably as many definitions of a corporate device as there are companies out there, but most companies at least have some sort of policy what is expected of you as an end-user using the device(s) your company is providing for you. This usually boils down to that you need to make sure that you are up to date, you that you are not doing illegal stuff and that you are only using licenses software (there are probably a 1000 more things but let’s keep it simple).

When you think about it, this puts a lot of responsibility on the end-user to know what software is okay to install, how to get updates and what you are allowed to do on your computer. This also puts a lot of responsibility on the end-user to configure their device for Wi-Fi, VPN and eventual passcodes.

You might be seeing where I’m headed with this.

Device management is something that we have done for I don’t know how long. It was probably around to some extent even before I was born in the late 80s for PC, and gotten really good at managing Windows based stuff in a corporate setting. 

But today we are seeing more than Windows. We have macOS, iOS/iPadOS, Android, Linux, Chromebooks. The list is growing and looking at the customers I’m working with so is the pressure on IT to actually support multiple platforms in one way or another.

A common way that I’ve seen way to many times is that Windows device and maybe iOS devices are managed. But way to often all other devices are left unmanaged, like macOS (which for some reason sometime are considered as “executive computers” which makes it even more strange to not manage). To be fair, this is not as common anymore, usually some kind of tooling is used to some extent.

Being and end-user

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of an end-user. As we stated above, we need to:

  • Keep our computer up to date
  • Only install licensed apps
  • Somehow connect to the corporate Wi-Fi
  • Make sure we have encryption enabled on our device and back-up the key
Smooth sailing for an IT pro, maybe not so much for your regular end-user who is not an IT expert, they just want stuff to work so they can do their job.

And this is where we are getting closer to my point. Device management solved all of this for the end-user. We as administrators define all settings, take care of updates, publish applications, and push out settings for the Wi-Fi. We also encrypt and back-up the key!

The point I’m trying to make, that there is an end-user layer to device management. A bit of “what’s in it for me”. Security is important, but if the end-user doesn’t gain anything from having a manage device, then their perception of having a corporate device is that it’s a dull and boring device which is QUITE different from what they use at home. Looking at how we manage devices in a modern way, the device isn’t that different anymore. 

We sign in with Windows Hello/biometrics/PIN. We download updates from the internet. We can browse the web using the browser of our choice. We can install the apps we need from a trusted “store”. And we can be connected to any network doing so.

My point

So, what is the point I’m trying to make?

Well, device management is not only about security and corporate compliance. A big part of it is also making the life of an end-user simpler by providing them with key features and functionality, making it possible for them to focus on what they are best at, which isn’t necessarily IT. 

If we provide the end-users with an awesome experience, they will be more pleased with their work device. Who doesn’t want happy end-users?!

Let’s all remember that there is someone who will use the devices we provide, and that we are not only securing them we are also providing them with an experiance!


  • Ola Ström

    Ola Ström is a Microsoft MVP for Windows 365 from Sweden and he is one of the first expert contributors in this community. Make sure to follow him as he guides us in the world of Windows 365 and Microsoft Intune!

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