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Endpoint Management is Important in Today's Distributed Work World

March 02, 2023

By Bill Yates - Communications Correspondent

Hybrid work is the future of work. Ever thought about what it will take to successfully manage all your endpoints 10 years from now?

IT professionals from multiple vendors think about managing endpoints all day, every day. At The Future of Work Expo 2023 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a group of knowledgeable IT executives presented their opinions on why endpoint management has become such an important issue.

The discussion was the second of the conference on the topic of how IT departments can keep pace. This part of the conversation focused on ways to manage the ever-increasing number of endpoints in todays distributed work world.

"If your endpoints suck, nothing else really matters," said discussion moderator Jon Arnold, president of consultancy J Arnold & Associates.

All the panelists agreed.

"You can't get away from having a good quality piece of hardware delivering your information," said Mike Moncivias, director of solution architecture for service providers at Poly.

Arnold called Poly, now owned by Hewlett Packard, "the king of endpoints" due to the wide range of audio and physical devices the company sells.

Quality means that all of your products work together, said panelist Ross Hubble, product manager for global CAaS provider Sangoma. "It's important to maintain synchronic development across all these endpoints," he said.

For example, Hubble says most people have three communications devices on their desktop: computer, mobile phone and work phone. All of your communications packages need to function on each of these devices to maintain business continuity, he said.

"Everything is so agile today, said panelist Todd Ketterman, executive technology strategist at technology product and service provider CDW. “People expect it all to work.”

Ketterman said he loves Apple products because he can dip into the Apple store for repairs or replacements due to his service contract. That's the kind of experience people expect these days.

"As-a-Service offerings are going to continue to drive business," he said.

Moncivias echoed those thoughts. "Device-as-a-service is starting to be standard," he said.

Ketterman agreed that DAS is the new wave, but it won't be one-size fits-all.

With the service model on the rise, clients want to be able to measure the end-user experience across thousands of endpoints, Ketterman said. Arnold pointed out that the services offered have expanded greatly due to the developments of networks and devices, particularly from a monitoring standpoint.

"Clients can now look see data from a wide range of perspectives," Moncivias said. "They get usage figures, headcounting technology to see who's in a room where. They can even get air quality readings."

"Yeah, customers are asking for crazy stuff," Hubble said. "It's anything they can think of."

Ketterman said that's why defining your persona in the workplace is an initial need. Defining your needs allows you to develop the proper set of technological requirements, he said.

Arnold said that once DAS is implemented, the next step appears to be offering data-as-a-service. Moncivias says Poly captures all the data that travels over its networks, but only uploads to clients the portion of data they've asked to see. The analytics are done by the client.

"Here's all the data, you do what you want with it," he said.

Ketterman said the challenge for many companies is switching operational models to incorporate as-a-service products. "How does your organization dial into the as-a-service model?" he said. "It takes a lot of prep time."

Switching to an as-a-service model can be painful, Moncivias agreed. "The customer has to be prepared to ingest it," Moncivias said. "It puts a stress on a business that didn't know they had."

Hubble says that's where the monitoring comes in. "You used to be talking about plug-and-play," he said. Now, with multiple devices running on multiple platforms, end users have more difficulty diagnosing tech issues. "We need diagnostics so the user never has to fix things," he said.

To conclude, Arnold had one final question for the panel: Is there a market for all those refurbished phones you just replaced?

"Oh yean," Moncivias said. "There's always a market for refurbished phones." He said Poly takes back any of their products, because they like to strip them down for parts that are re-usable. Supply chain difficulties and all that. But that's a subject for another panel.

Edited by Greg Tavarez



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