The melding of mobile and desktop management can help IT manage people and applications instead of just devices themselves and a new option combining two platforms could do just that.
MobileIron's new integration with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), a popular desktop management tool, will give IT administrators a complete view of all endpoint devices from the SCCM console. Admins can take security actions on devices from the console, including locking, unlocking and wiping.
MobileIron is the first EMM company with an integration into SCCM that allows mobile device management directly in SCCM. JAMF Software's Casper Suite, which offers management of Macs and iOS devices, features an SCCM plug-in that exports hardware and software inventory data on devices from JAMF's server directly to SCCM.
Device information can be exported from MobileIron's enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform and displayed in the SCCM console, including application inventory and settings, policies for that device set by IT and alerts for the user. The integration allows SCCM administrators to do this without needing to log in to the MobileIron graphical user interface.
The integration with SCCM should help forge deeper relationships with current and future customers, said James Gordon, vice president at Needham Bank in Needham, Mass., a longtime MobileIron customer.
Jon Howesystems architect, Parata Systems
"I'm optimistic with this integration … both for security and user experience," Gordon said.
The integration with MobileIron's EMM is also a good sign that Microsoft and its new CEO Satya Nadella seem to "get" mobile, he added.
Industry observers earlier this year felt Microsoft had its mobile work cut out for it, with one calling it a "headless horseman" around mobile. The company wasn't offering a specific platform for mobile management. Since then the company introduced its own Enterprise Mobility Suite and a version of Office for Apple's iPad, showing more flexibility working with competing tech companies.
SCCM has such a large footprint within organizations already (a recent Adaptiva survey of over 100 administrators showed 80% were using SCCM), it became a logical place for Microsoft to integrate with an outside mobility vendor, said Jack Gold, analyst and principal with J. Gold Associates in Northborough, Mass.
Mobile, desktop management meet
The news continues the trend of vendors bringing mobile and desktop management capabilities together.
VMware's AirWatch recently added more management capabilities for Macs. Moka5 and Dell have taken a containerization-like approach to PC management, in which IT provisions a separate work container on personal PCs.
The move toward unified mobile and desktop management was inevitable thanks to the proliferation of mobility, Gold said.
"Companies don't want these unique siloes for devices," he said.
Breaking down those siloes could be part of the appeal of MobileIron's integration with SCCM.
Administrators shouldn't look at individual devices through an SCCM infrastructure, but rather at people and the applications they are using, said Jon Howe, systems architect at Parata Systems, a pharmacy automation technology provider in Durham, N.C. and a MobileIron customer.
"That's the way things are going, and that's the most efficient way to do anything," Howe said.
The SCCM integration for MobileIron is free for MobileIron customers. A demo of how the integration works can be found here.