Many business and technology leaders are asking themselves and their teams about Microsoft software for mobility management. Whether you manage just a few endpoints in a small-to-midsize business (SMB) or thousands of them in a large enterprise, the question doesn’t lend itself to easy answers.

Prowess Consulting engineers have spent the last six months down in the trenches with Windows Intune, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Microsoft System Center as mobile device management (MDM) tools.

Cut Through the MDM Confusion

We follow the solution changes and know the configuration options, so we want to help you navigate the complexity. We believe our perspective on the MDM question is unique for a couple of reasons:

  1. We develop and support our own image management and deployment tools
  2. We stand up infrastructure and then test software on it, including Microsoft mobility software, in order to verify and validate, and then to help industry leaders go to market.

These two facts give us a bird’s-eye view of industry trends and bring us into contact daily with IT professionals and business leaders like you. What we’re hearing is that many don’t understand the Microsoft solutions or how to use them, or that you have System Center but don’t know why or how you would use it for MDM.

One size does not fit all: Enterprise and SMB questions

Microsoft and other vendors are answering simple questions such as “Do we need MDM?” and “What does your MDM solution do and what are the benefits?” They can’t help it—that’s what marketers do.

But business leaders like you are asking far more complex questions. Small business leaders, who might be both the CEO and the IT department, want to know when the low-cost tools are good options and when a larger investment makes more sense.

Enterprise leaders want help weighing various configuration options against costs and opportunities to add value, taking into consideration their current solutions, subscriptions, strategies, and skillsets.

Time to Take Another Look at Microsoft MDM

Over the coming months, we’re going to help you answer complex questions about enterprise and SMB deployment of MDM software. We’ll provide guidance that is rooted in experience and technical expertise with Microsoft software, including System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite.

Our posts will include tips and configurations that our engineers verify, some of which might not be available anywhere else, along with analysis and insight to help inform answers to complex, strategic questions.

Our goal is not to be Redmond cheerleaders, but to help you understand what you can do with Microsoft’s MDM offerings—and to know when you might want to look elsewhere. We’ll show you the why as we unravel the what and the how so that you can make the best possible decisions for your business.

10 Approaches to Business Problems Offered by Windows Intune and EMS

Here’s what we plan to cover:

  1. Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager: Can you right-size it for your business?
    System Center Configuration Manager is a sophisticated, capable suite intended for enterprise device management. But you might not have to go all-out; less-ambitious configurations and options are available for SMBs.
  2. The why and how of single sign-on (SSO)
    SSO can vastly simplify and de-clutter your employees’ and IT admins’ jobs, and it doesn’t have to be painful to set up. We’ll show you how to configure simple SSO through integration of Microsoft Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Office 365, and Windows Intune.
  3. Cross-platform policies for smart phones
    Say goodbye to solutions that require you to manage all mobile devices with one set of policies. Windows Intune and EMS let you create device-specific policies for Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and Windows 8.1 phones.
  4. How can we simplify device deployment?
    You can also leave behind the painful task of time-consuming, manual configurations. We’ll show you how to create and deploy policies to easily set up VPN and wireless configurations for multiple platforms using Windows Intune and EMS.
  5. Which is best for my business—Windows Intune, or Windows Intune with System Center Configuration Manager?
    Windows Intune is a high-quality MDM tool; but when you add it to System Center Configuration Manager, it’s … well, hold on to your socks. We’ll show you the striking differences in capabilities with the joint solutions and how to weigh your options.
  6. Android devices are flooding the network. What’s a simple way to manage them?
    IT pros can manage Android devices using Microsoft Exchange Active Sync (EAS), including remote wipe. Learn if this Android management method makes sense in your organization.
  7. Rights management: there has to be a simpler way.
    Possibly. Microsoft EMS can make rights management simpler compared to the process of creating roles and policies through Windows Server.
  8. What is Workplace Join, anyway?
    There are a few tricks you should know that will make Workplace Join easier to use, and there’s a bonus. Did you know you can use Workplace Join for an added layer of security on Windows 8.1 and iOS devices? Learn why you should and how to do it. Also see our previous Workplace Join post here.
  9. How can I use encryption and remote wipe with the Microsoft solutions?
    Learn how to encrypt Work Folders on mobile devices and how to remotely delete the folders and all contents. The encryption is non-intrusive because it can be automatically removed when data is copied off the system by an authorized user. Learn how to apply this encryption efficiently in SMB or enterprise environments.
  10. If I’m not ready for System Center Configuration Manager, am I done considering Microsoft MDM?
    If System Center Configuration Manager is more than your business needs, check out Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials with Windows Intune. We’ll show you how to stand up a simple and robust MDM solution using software you probably have, and will demonstrate the easy integration between Windows Intune and Office 365.

While there are no easy answers to the questions you’re asking, there are answers. We believe our experience-based guidance will help clarify your options, both in terms of strategy and deployment. If you are considering a Microsoft MDM solution—and there are very good reasons to do so—bookmark this page and follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss any updates.

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