July 21, 2022

 

"Computers would be great if it weren’t for all the users.” That comment was made to me many years ago by a more seasoned IT colleague, who spent a lot of his time cleaning up device management messes. But some things never change. Many IT organizations still hold that view, and set up end user devices so that employees can't do anything that conceivably might lead to a security or functionality problem. The limitations they place on what users can do can impact employees’ ability to accomplish their work. On top of that, this creates tension and angst, and leads many employees to rely on workarounds, which impacts their productivity and subverts IT’s original intentions.

It’s time to move away from the assumption that users are the problem. Rather, technology is there to improve the capabilities and output of each person. When the tools to manage their device experiences get in the way, it's time for IT to take a fresh look at how it’s doing its job.

Of course, it’s critical to make sure that every device is under the enterprise's control — compliant, secure, in alignment with policies and licensing, and so on. But IT end user management must be handled in the context of the user experience. Today, that means recognizing that employees have become sophisticated technology users in their personal lives — they have their favorite types of devices and usually have preferences, habits and practices based on their preferred platform. Also, it requires acknowledging that the traditional IT environment of enforced conformity will no longer work for organizations that want to recruit and retain the best employees, who therefore are increasingly letting users pick the device that works best for them — whether Windows, Mac®, or touch devices like the iPad.

This all translates to IT tailoring management practices to the various systems.

Making device management work for users

It’s not an easy task. Since each platform has its own unique requirements, capabilities, and management best practices, IT must be well-versed in multiple architectures and management systems. This becomes especially challenging in security, since, for example, Mac best practices and effective controls are completely different from those used for Windows, and products which work for Windows are often very poor choices for Mac.

This, together with the challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled device management engineers, means organizations are often better off using managed service providers. In fact, Gartner noted in its 2022 Worldwide IT Spending Forecast that “staff skills gaps, wage inflation and the war for talent will push CIOs to rely more on consultancies and managed service firms to pursue their digital strategies."

DXC is innovating in device management: we focus on continually evolving configurations and the user experience, with device choice at the core. When companies adopt modern best practices for platform, applications, and security, users will experience less friction in performing their everyday activities, growing the productivity of the organization in the process. We build and integrate device management technologies to deliver industry best practices to customers, refining solutions as new capabilities and functions become available for different platforms. This is especially important with the rapid evolution of the MDM protocols and declarative management emerging on macOS and other Apple® platforms.

Through standardization, automation and innovation, DXC's Modern Workplace solutions give an enterprise's users a consumer-like, high-performance experience, while providing the control and assurance the enterprise needs for Mac and Windows devices. (You can learn more about DXC’s global Apple managed services here.)

Embracing a user-first philosophy that recognizes the trade-offs between risk, security and productivity, and evolving company device management practices to ensure the best possible experience, is critical for modern IT device management. An advantage of having a partner such as DXC deliver end-user management for your organization also frees your internal IT team to focus on business innovation as your company pursues its transformation journey.

About the author

About the author

Steve Hultquist is responsible for DXC’s Apple partnership. He has provided executive leadership as a CIO and CTO at emerging technology companies, run a small consulting firm, and worked with industry leaders in network engineering, software development, and cyber security. His passion is delivering excellent user experience starting with offering every user the choice of device which works best for them.