Two years ago we were in a right pickle. We’d bought one of the leading mobile data management (MDM) systems and, as we’ve all come across from time to time in our careers, it was a system that had never really got buy-in, wasn’t delivering to its full potential and either needed re-implementing or changing. We really needed to do things right with patching, access management and visibility of our mobile estate. The opportunity to get it sorted out presented itself when we made a strategic decision to move to Microsoft E5 licensing and the next phase of laptop rollouts to support flexible working.
Now two years later, we have over 1,400 devices fully managed via Microsoft InTune. It’s revolutionised our entire approach and capabilities with MDM. Our provisioning time for a Windows 10 laptop has been slashed thanks to Autopilot and White Glove, and our security has been improved multi-fold through the centralised management of patching and application deployment. We can make changes and then ripple them out across 100s of devices with ease. We’re using Intune for Android smartphones too, which has solved our historical problem with keeping them up to date and compliant with the requirements of Cyber Essentials Plus.
Yes, it’s taken time and effort to achieve, and it’s not been without its challenges, especially because we were at the forefront of adoption in the early days, and some things just didn’t work reliably or changed quickly. We’ve worked in partnership with a great integrator, Sumillion, and we’re now planning zero-touch deployments by shipping equipment direct to new starters a few days before they join – that’s adding value and forward thinking.
How many times have you heard about the panacea of automated build and fully-centralised management, only to find out that it’s really hard to do? In my mind, we’ve cracked the challenge that historically was only achievable for large enterprises with thousands and thousands of devices and large specialist teams.
When the pandemic hit, thanks to the capabilities we had with InTune, we rolled out 100s more laptops with ease, and we even renewed the phones of all our maintenance and repairs staff during the height of the pandemic to enable them to be digitally connected to Vivid. And the best thing is that we did all of that without any compromise to our IT governance or security.
With the combination of InTune, Windows 10 and the capabilities of Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection, we now have the assurance that we are properly protecting our customers’ data across all our devices, wherever they are used. We’ve significantly reduced another attack vector that those ‘bad actors’ are constantly trying to exploit. And we’ve delivered a whole load more value to our staff in order to help them provide the best possible service to our customers.
Mark Wilson is the head of IT at Vivid Homes.