Executives in IT can often be a bucket of nonsense. They often just say: “Blah Blah Blah GET IT DONE!” One of the hottest things that comes up today is the whole Intune vs. your UEM debate. Some people might be getting pressure to move to Intune or move back, depending on your experience. We will talk about the evaluation process. We focus on documenting the requirements, evaluating the requirements, and making a legitimate decision without emotions or nonsense.
How to Figure Out Your Current UEM Requirements
UEM requirements are not as simple as everyone thinks. I like using the persona concept with a slight twist. We will talk about building buckets of requirements to determine what your actual needs are. People commonly just say “I NEED IT NEED IT NEED IT!!!!” It’s nonsensical and I have no need for it. I like to live in a world of facts and logics, which we know many executives may not.
We will cover a concept called Personas, which are fictional characters that are used in user experience design to explain how someone may use a technology. Now, we cover some of the base concepts of these personas to put together our true needs. Let’s get started!
The General UEM Persona
Your General UEM Persona, is a baseline configuration of your environment. Everyone has specific baseline requirements that every user regardless of who they are. We can carve up the general persona into a few categories: Identity and Access Management (IAM), Enrollment, Onboarding, Privacy, and User Experience.
Our user experience focuses on some specific areas. I define user centricity as a design where the user’s experience is at the forefront of your design. This is highly subjective, but just an interesting baseline. We aren’t focusing specifically on the settings, but the concepts. As you will see below, we focus on overall concepts like delivering seamless access to apps and data while focusing on a strong user experience. I keep it somewhat vague because everyone has different needs.
|Identity and Access Management||Enrollment, Onboarding, and Privacy||User Experience|
|-Seamless Single Sign On (SSO)|
– Granting Access to Applications and Configuration
– Provisioning Users and Groups Seamlessly for Application Access
– Certificate and Identity Management
|– Simple and consistent enrollment across device types|
– Minimizing access to user data and putting privacy first
-Integration with other vendors to deliver seamless onboarding experiences
– Supporting multiple enrollment models e.g. COPE, BYOD, Corp, etc.
|– Seamless Access to Email, WiFi, and VPN without user credentials|
-Delivering the same experience regardless of device type
– Technology that operates in the same way that people think
-Seamless security that protects your company without impacting user experience.
We discussed our baseline configuration that people need at our company. People within certain departments will have separate requirements on top of your baseline to be productive. We will cover a few of these common departments and how some of their requirements may differ. The departmental personas and base persona help you build a list of requirements, which we will need to make informed decisions as we move toward a new management platform.
|– HR Apps Grouped Together in an App Store for Easy Access|
– Analytics on New Employees
– HRIS integration and Security with External Access
|– Direct Integration with Adobe’s Suite|
– Support App Deployment of Paid Apps for Graphic Design and License Management
|– Deploy special VIP configurations for Executives|
– Remote Management
– Real-time crisis management of user experience
|– Testing and Deployment of Internal Apps and Tools|
– License Management and Reconfiguration of Development Tools and Products
– Scripting Support
Building your Roadmap
This is a section that I could write about for a few hours, which I will leave to another article. I will discuss it just a little bit. When I think about roadmap, I organize it into a few ideas:
- Process Improvements/Automation
- New Technology
- Expanding on Existing Technology
My suggestion when you build your roadmap, which is a major part of building your requirements is to whiteboard out a few ideas. You should have a list of poorly-instituted processes, new features that you don’t use in your current solutions, and potential technologies to grow your enterprise. A few examples might be:
- PowerShell Scripting certain manual processes
- Adding something like Bomgar to your existing environment for remote management
- Buying Workspace ONE Intelligence for enhancing your portfolio with AI
I cannot stress enough to avoid buzzwords. The biggest issue people run into when building roadmaps is throwing out the sexy words to their executives and then cannot articulate the what, why, and return on investment.
Evaluating your Requirements Against the New Vendor
Once you have documented your list of requirements, it will be time to evaluate both sides. It’s similar to the whole Pro’s and Con’s list. I use a simple flowchart to evaluate each requirement and identify the gaps.
We often get easily lost in the weeds in the political landmines that involve a UEM switch, which 75-90% of the time is driven by executive pushes. You need to make sure that you don’t dig your own grave during this process. One of the ways that we can do this is by evaluating each requirement using my flowchart.
Intune might be “free”, but your ROI might get obliterate by vendor products that you need to invest in to fill the gaps. As an example, remote management might require a vendor, or managing security gaps. Alternatively, you may be able to address certain gaps by writing a scheduled job/script using Powershell against the Workspace ONE or Graph API.
You will find that the deeper you are invested with a particular vendor the harder it is to get out. Anyone who has a contract with Oracle, Microsoft, Citrix, etc. knows that it is like the Mafia. Once you are in, you are in for life. You may be able to get out, but it’s going to have a cost.
Making the Decision
Once you have put together all of your data, you need to draft an intelligent response that isn’t biased or emotional. We all struggle with this, because we’re invested. Usually, everyone is a shill for VMware, Nutanix, Microsoft, Citrix or whoever. That is pretty obvious because you spend hours and hours of your life trying to make something special.
Typically, I will draft something simple. You can reference my blog article about Intune and Workspace ONE as a nice reference point on comparing two products. I also like the RFP templates found here on authoring a good document to provide to your leadership team. The idea is to frame the information in a positive light and sticking to facts.
I try to focus on a few ideas:
- We need to buy these products to fill the gaps
- These gaps are not fixable
- Additional operational overhead
- New features we are getting with the move
- Concerns framed in a positive/optimistic light.
Ideally, you will be able to provide a document that shows what you are gaining, what you are losing, and risks to the ROI created by the move because nothing is really free. We must remember that there is value in a single pane-of-glass solution that is fully integrated. Costs will add up quickly and we should use a solution that works for us. On occasion, we make choices because executives treat analyst reports like they’re the Bible. I would definitely urge you to reach out if you need help writing it, because it can be an art.
In IT, we are struggling constantly with the need to be efficient. This extends to operational efficiency and cost efficiency also. Occasionally, we are going to need to switch directions and do something new. Outside of the obvious technical challenges of switching your UEM, the communication and discussion on viability is hard.
Perception is the real goal as we need to make sure we look like technologists and not a shill for VMware, Microsoft, or whoever. You can always let the data and facts set you free. It’s easy to say you are just a lover of a specific vendor, but if you are just providing hard facts without emotions it’s much harder to dismiss your points.