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October 31, 2011

Deployment Blocker No. 7: Continue to run unmanaged systems

by Shelly Bird

By unmanaged, I mean a system in which users have the right to load any application they want on their local desktop.

If you have an enterprise that is more than a few dozen systems, or you have any important data to protect, the best business decision you could make is to move to a managed environment.  It saves  money and it saves time.

But it isn’t cool to control…or is it?

Think of it this way:  if you had a fleet of company cars, and handed them out to your employees to use, would you permit them to start changing the color, seats, air bags and brakes, or cut off the roof to get a nice cool convertible?  Or perhaps come back into the company car pool having converted the original car to a low rider?

If not, then ask yourself what you are doing with the company computers.  Why be so casual about setting standards for what software runs in your enterprise?

We’ve seen customers who struggled for years to deploy.   My observation is when customers started to make their way towards a managed environment, they abruptly accelerated adoption of new technologies.  These customers, who had always lagged behind by years, were now deploying within six months of release to manufacturer.  Their users were clamoring for the next upgrade.  Moreover, the miracle was that many of these were our largest customers, who had to move to managed out of sheer necessity.  We’re not talking about a paltry few thousand machines, but hundreds of thousands of machines.

Moving to managed desktops can and must be done if you are serious at all about using Information Technology as a true tool.  Managed desktops change the game, allowing you to prove to management that IT isn’t just an equipment distributor, but much, much more.  Managed desktops can establish standards to reform the way business is done.   You can begin to study, respond to, and then help employees work in a smarter and more integrated way.  You can’t do that if the systems are changing beyond recognition, the minute they hit your Ethernet.

The better way:  Use the move to the new operating system as an opportunity to clean house and set new standards.  Do not give users local administrator rights unless absolutely necessary (I will blog later on who legitimately passes that bar).  Make sure you provide users what they need to do their jobs.  Implement as much self-service as possible to allow them to feel that within the boundaries you set, they can still install any application they need at will.

This is part of a ten part series of blogs “Top Ten Deployment Blockers”

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