Workspace ONE Assist: Is it Worth the Investment?

When I think about Workspace ONE Assist, the latest additional to the Workspace ONE toolbelt, I have to ask if it’s worth the money similar to Mobile Flows. Many of us are asking that question where it can be potentially a 6 figure investment, depending on your device count (roughly 10-12K for 1000 devices over 3 years). The spirit of Workspace ONE is being a one-stop-shop for Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) end-to-end. This is a concept they are building on every year with newer advancements in Workspace ONE intelligence and other components. Let’s take a quick look at the experience that Assist gives us today.

How does WS1 Assist Work?

Let’s start with how WS1 Assist works. The nice thing is they offer a full SaaS solution, which is ready to go as soon as your licenses are turned on. We aren’t going to focus on the On-Premise version, but just on the concepts behind it. As you can see from the diagram, it is powered by many of the technologies you have in place today.

The flow is as follows:

  1. The admin clicks the Assist button to queue the command.
  2. The console sends the command to AWCM which sends it to the agent on the device.
  3. The agent confirms the command.
  4. The session is created.
  5. The session URL is sent to the console.
  6. The remote management service on the device requests the session URL.
  7. The admin joins the session
  8. The device joins the session
  9. Data travels back and forth as the remote management session occurs

Now that we understand how it works essentially, let’s see how the service works on both iOS and Windows.

How Assist works on iOS

Using Workspace ONE Assist on iOS is broken into two parts: (1) the admin starting the workflow and (2) the user starting the broadcast. Let’s first show how the user starts the broadcast, which you can see in the demo below.

I think it’s important to show how to broadcast before showing the regular demo because it can be confusing if you haven’t done it before. The iOS experience is relatively easy, but can be very powerful with some of the great tools that we will cover in the second demo below showcasing how WS1 Assist can provide tremendous value to your users.

The Workspace ONE Assist Experience on Windows 10

The iOS experience for WS1 Assist is nice, but the experience you get in Windows 10 is a major game-changer and a HUGE improvement over SCCM. I think what I enjoy most about it is that you don’t need VPN anymore. You can do all of it over the internet with the ability to run scripts, copy and upload files, and walk your users through difficult technological challenges. Imagine all of that without needing to host an appliance or needing someone to jump on VPN that kills their internet throughput.

Some Impressions After Using Workspace ONE Assist

I have some thoughts after looking more at Workspace ONE Assist that I wanted to share since this article isn’t particularly long to begin with. A few of the areas that I don’t love as an administrator (since these aren’t user issues but more usability from the technician/engineer/whoever) are:

  • Usability is a bit peculiar. I found that some of the navigation and way it operates is very non-intuitive. The top one I noticed is how you upload files. We need to design products with an ergonomic mindset.
  • We should also be able to transition between devices e.g. switch from someone’s PC to their iOS. Working that into the UI would be much easier and deliver an improved experience.
  • Full Screen and resizing don’t need two separate menu buttons. That’s a bit of overkill.
  • The logs section and the information section should be switched. An “i” is ALWAYS information, but probably a preference in my eyes.

Final Thoughts

One of the things that I really love about WS1 Assist is its potential as a teaching tool for remote workers and people in general. Using a whiteboard provides an opportunity to help others understand things much easier. Personally, I think WS1 Assist’s core audience are those great small to medium businesses with 1K-2K devices. That cost is very doable, but I could see larger companies opting for the cost reduction that Bomgar provides.

By no means am I bashing WS1 Assist in any way, but I do think similar to Mobile Flows it has some challenges getting the proper ROI for enterprises. Many companies are employing a technician-based licensing model, which is far more cost-friendly. My hope is the great product management team behind WS1 Assist will improve that as time goes on because they are building something exciting that will improve our remote working toolbelt in our pandemic world.

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