Microsoft Intune MDM: Thinking about the Future of IT Support & Work/Life Balance
I have been playing with Windows Intune at work the last two weeks just kicking the tires as part of an internal test and its really stunning how much faster and easier to use it is than something like System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). I ran a command in the Intune console to run a PC refresh and the test laptop rebooted within 30 seconds and started rebuilding it. After that, I joined it to Azure Activity Directory and after applying all of my policy I had previously configured without it prompting me, installing the security configuration that I had assigned it and the applications I had required to the laptop, including Chrome, Spirion, Microsoft Office, and others. This definitely feels like the future and put a big smile on my face. I can see in about 5 or 10 years the market share of Windows Server diminishing as more IT departments more to the cloud.
Yeah, I know there has been a lot of heartburn in the IT community about Microsoft coming for people’s jobs, but maybe because I’m a hybrid role that deals with end-users as much as I do servers, I see this a boon to my time at work, giving me back valuable time to introduce better security measures and educate my end-user on what technology we already have. If you subscribe to the Office365 blog or YouTube page(I highly recommend you do to just keep up…links posted below), there are always new features across Office365’s services. Microsoft is continuously updating the desktop clients, web apps, mobile apps, etc across iOS, Windows, Android, Mac, and web browsers. I struggle every month just to introduce a fracture of the features we get through Office365 to my end-users.
For example, I have just started pushing Microsoft To-Do to my coworkers now that they have a Mac app and excellent iOS apps. As a college we have about 50% share in Mac versus PC and Microsoft To-Do integration with Outlook flagged items and the ability to share lists with coworkers no matter the device they happen to use has really caught the attention of my coworkers, especially people who manage a lot of projects who I have introduced to Microsoft Planner. By not spending so much of my time configuring servers and patching them, it’s freed me up to teach them about those tools. Security and compliance are of vital importance as one of my primary job functions, but why not delegate that to Microsoft’s teams of engineers who work on that full time when I could be providing top-notch security, compliance, and enhancing people’s day to day lives by exposing them to technology they did not even know we had access to?
I’ve always worked in IT departments with just two, maybe three IT staff. I see the move to the cloud as a great thing for smaller departments, especially those people who yearn for a better work-life balance. Oftentimes, bosses who do not work in IT do not understand all the extra (often not compensated for), time we dedicate in the after hours or wee hours of the morning to maintaining, preparing, and securing the backend gears of an organization. One of the reasons I left my previous job was because of burnout. I didn’t realize it at the time, but working as a junior system administrator + backfilling desktop support tickets + working maintenance windows + always being on call 24/7/365 was just exhausting. We were a telecommunication company stretched across 5+ states so there was ALWAYS something going on. I used to get 200–300 emails a day that I didn’t necessarily have to reply to, but out of habit I kept an eye on them to get a pulse on the coming and goings of my coworkers because I could always anticipate trouble tickets or phone calls based off of what Operations or Inside/Outside plant were up to. Its well-known that IT staff are often overworked to the point of exhaustion and its also known that a person who is exhausted does not perform as well as somebody who is well-rested.
Maybe I’m an optimist, but I just see moving our IT operations over the cloud as a win-win in the long term. I don’t see things getting easier or less complicated to be honest. if anything, it's the opposite. I’m doing more and more for my end users from data management to cloud applications to SharePoint forms for HR and other operations to hosting video services in the cloud. I’m going to be going to focusing on Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft Intune, Windows Admin Center, PowerShell, SharePoint Online, Cyber-Security, Office365 , Surface devices for Creatives, and more. If you’re in Orlando feel free to reach out, I’m always welcome to making new friends in the industry. I look forward to seeing what other technology that I can embrace going forward to may and my end-user’s lives better.
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