Since its release 21 months ago, Windows 10 has forced companies to rethink how enterprise mobile management (EMM) is handled in their corporate environments.
Unlike its predecessors, Windows 10 comes with EMM tools, allowing enterprises to deploy and configure PCs and other Windows devices using so called "modern management" approaches that include mobile device management (MDM) API hooks and controls.
Many of the basic application and system provisioning functions required for business laptops and PCs running Windows 10 can now be done through the OS's EMM control consoles, said Phil Hochmuth, IDC's Program Director of Enterprise Mobility.
That means organizations with more recent Windows PC deployments can take advantage of consolidated management tools and unified policy and configuration platforms via unified endpoint management (UEM), Hochmuth said.
"Organizations that still have a large legacy Windows 7 deployment, or rely heavily on legacy Win32/64 applications will require legacy PC lifecycle management and software distribution tools, such as Microsoft SCCM, Quest KACE and LANDESK, among others," Hochmuth said.
The new MDM functions are based on Microsoft's Intune protocol, which was launched in 2011 and enabled UEM.
UEM allows all corporate devices to be managed across a variety of platforms, theoretically, at least, making it easier to lockdown devices and protect critical data.
Dave Johnson, a principal Forrester analyst covering infrastructure and operations, said he's spoken with numberous IT pros who are trying to get their organizations out of the PC management business -- and they're asking if Windows 10 offers enough improvement to allow them to overhaul their PC management approach. In short, they want to know if they can get away with using an EMM platform to manage PCs instead of using conventional tools like Microsoft SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager).
"Over the next five years, we believe that Microsoft Intune and EMM offerings from other vendors such as VMware, MobileIron and Citrix will gradually displace conventional PC management tools like SCCM for PC management in large enterprises," Johnson said via email.
Unlike previous Windows versions, Windows 10 was designed as an OS that gets regular feature upgrades - not just security and bug fixes -- that are handled by enterprises on a monthly basis when "Patch Tuesday" updates arrive. Those once-or-twice-a-year updates have made it more difficult for companies to coordinate which version of Windows 10 their corporate environment uses.