The “consumerization of IT” has been a big topic for the past two years as netbooks, smartphones, tablets, and new cloud cloud services have proliferated. From a CIO perspective, it has become a delicate dance between two worlds—the old world of standards and IT control and the new world of agnosticism and consumer choice. Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 promises to teach CIOs some new moves to becoming the dancing stars of IT.
Last week at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011, an annual event for IT professionals focused on datacenter and cloud services portfolio management met in Las Vegas, NV. Microsoft unveiled many new datacenter capabilities to help institutions manage dynamic services on-premise and in the public/private cloud. The System Center portfolio has embraced consumerization of IT. System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta 2 highlights some new consumer-centric services.
Faculty and staff use multiple devices to be productive anywhere and everywhere. They have their primary PC, their smartphone, and other mobile devices that connect them to work and home. In the past, IT Professionals focused on managing applications and services on the device. Today, knowledge workers and creators are uber-mobile and device agnostic. An IT management approach that presumes a device-focus is outdated and impractical with modern IT consumers. That is where Configuration Manager 2012 makes a shift to consumer-focused services.
Consumer Software Portal
Configuration Manager 2012 allows IT to provide an Application Catalog web portal and a local client app called the Software Center. Software Center allows users to schedule software update installation at a convenient time before the deadline and install optional software updates. For example, you can configure your business hours and have software updates run outside of those hours to minimize lost productivity. The Application Catalog allows IT consumers to install software assigned to them and products that they have rights for without IT interaction. Additionally, consumers can configure when Configuration Manager can install software on their devices. No loss of productivity or workflow because of an unplanned reboot.
Configuration Manager 2012 shifts to a consumer paradigm with devices too. Software can automatically be installed on primary devices. However, secondary and complementary devices can optionally get a virtual instance of the application so that they can be productive on the go. When you consider the limited hard disk space on new mobile devices and the probability that they may be personally-owned, a virtual application conserves resources, respects consumer privacy, and provides a consistent mobile experience.
Bring Your Own Device
The burden of consumerization is being lighten with Configuration Manager 2012. This release is a reflection of not only IT Professional product feature requests; but also a shift in the socio-demographics of the modern workplace. Faculty, staff, and students are showing up more as digital natives that don’t need IT support as much their digital immigrant predecessors. Configuration Manager is a step to help IT adapt to consumerization and its underlying societal change.
So, let your hair grow out (or grow back.) Tell your IT consumers that you are all about them and serving their need to be productive at work and on the go. Let them know you “get it” and you “care.” Become their number one fan. Then you can thrive on the consumer chaos with System Center Configuration Manager 2012.
Checkout the video for more perspective
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