MobileIron announced on Monday plans to add integration with Microsoft System Center Console Manager (SCCM) as a feature to its EMM suite. The company notes that it is the first EMM provider to do so and that the new feature, which will likely make the company's mobile management platform much more attractive to large IT organization, will be free to all of its customers.
The move is significant for two major reasons. First, it has the power to significantly streamline several areas of IT workflow related to mobile. Second, it reduces the barriers of training needed for many IT professionals to provide support and administration related to mobile devices.
The most obvious benefit is the single pane of glass argument that systems and user administration is best done using a single tool that can provide access to all the common management tasks. Having access to everything needed to do your job in one console simplifies processes, increases efficiency, and can even reduce errors because you become an expert in how to use one solution most effectively. With the growing demands related to mobile being placed on IT departments, all of those are critical advantages.
Although SCCM is often associated immediately with systems administration, however, the tool is typically used in a range of IT job roles - help desk, desktop support, user account management, PC and software deployment, and patch management to name a few.
While mobility management isn't directly associated with all of those roles, it is becoming directly related to some of them like help desk and support as well as user management. In many organizations, even when individuals in those roles are tasked with taking on mobile-related issues, there is often a completely different set of tools and processes that are used compared to support for more traditional systems like PCs. The result is overlap at best whereas at worst disjointed processes in which support calls, security issues, and even entire groups of users fall through the cracks.
None of that is good when workers have already integrated mobile devices into their workflows as much as, if not more than, their PCs, particularly when those users can simply support themselves with whatever tools they can find or procure outside of IT.
The biggest issue here, however, often isn't just that of multiple tools. It's effective training or cross-training around mobile. It's easy enough to train a small team dedicated to mobile, but more difficult and time consuming to also train your help desk and administration teams. If the core tasks they need to do can be done in a tool they already use all day, every day, that becomes far less of an issue.
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