Rapid business growth is a universal goal, but the inability to scale infrastructure and resources can easily become a growth inhibitor. Whether it’s e-commerce, CRM or deploying and managing employee devices, growth places strain on IT resources, with employees, endpoint devices and operating systems growing faster than IT staff.
With every new period of growth or technology shift, IT is often tempted to respond with new processes or point solutions targeting specific platforms or endpoint management functions. While these solutions may tick the boxes on current needs, this approach leads to unnecessary complexity in IT over time, or limitations on adoption of new productivity tools by end users. Soon, IT will spend more time putting out fires than supporting growth.
It is important to ensure that flexible processes and infrastructure are in place to scale the business with control over the most critical configurations. Focusing on a solid foundation of endpoint management can help make even the most complicated device environment simple — for now and for the future.
Focus on Scalable Solutions
In periods of rapid growth, the normal strain on human resources to deploy and manage devices is amplified. Manual processes and the pressure to keep up leads to disorganized purchasing and deployment decisions with very little thought given to standards, security or long-term management.
It’s important to invest time and resources in developing a solid foundation that will allow an organization to both grow and change over time.
Platform-agnostic client management capabilities reduce IT complexity and increase visibility over a device, app and user landscape that, by business necessity, is becoming more diverse and complicated. A solid foundation of endpoint management will include the built-in flexibility and automation to help a business scale when it needs to, with security and control built into every end-user device.
Lean on Automation
In every business, there are repetitive processes that take valuable time away from supporting growth or, worse, lead to burned out IT staff, frustrated employees and unhappy customers. The first step is to identify where these repetitive processes live in IT, which could be:
- Deploying new devices, operating systems or patches
- Tracking or managing software licenses
- Setting up and verifying the integrity of encryption and other security layers
- Deploying applications based on specific user roles
- Responding to help desk tickets/troubleshooting
Occam’s razor informs us that the simplest solution tends to be the correct one. In IT, automation is as simple as it gets. Look to automate as many repetitive or time-consuming processes, ideally leveraging as few solutions as possible to get there. Thankfully, we now have options such as zero-touch deployment and unified endpoint management that allow IT to provision and manage devices and applications based on users and roles, rather than by isolated device types.
Automation also applies to application self-healing, ensuring that critical applications remain installed and correctly configured, whether they are removed or corrupted unintentionally or maliciously. This automated application integrity provides the continued health and performance of devices needed to improve employee uptime and reduce IT support tasks.
Support Productivity for IT and End Users
While automation is great, the big-picture view must also consider network load times and employee productivity. IT teams don’t want to push out an update and crash their network during peak work times. They also don’t want to miss any critical updates for devices that are off the network or on an unreliable connection. Look for solutions that backup their automation with persistent delivery features and no requirement for end-user interaction to ensure devices remain compliant without impacting productivity.
Of course, employees don’t actually care about the latest patches or OS upgrades. What they care about is getting the apps and content they need to be productive. Frustrated by waiting for IT to respond, users often find their own solutions, leading to “shadow IT” — the installation of apps and services that are unmonitored by IT.
To ensure employees have the correct (and correctly configured) apps, resources and tools to support their productivity, focus on solutions that allow employees to download what they need, whenever and wherever they need them. In today’s highly mobile workforce, this “just in time” access to resources helps improve everyone’s productivity and eliminates shadow IT.
Our business, after all, is not IT; it is transportation, communication, insurance — our business is the business. Simple, automated, multiplatform endpoint management enables IT to empower user productivity. By doing that, IT is no longer an impediment to rapid growth, but an active contributor to it.
Tim Williams is vice president of global marketing and product strategy at FileWave, whose 20-plus years in multi-platform endpoint management and endpoint security includes leading global sales, marketing and product management teams at Netopia, Altiris, Symantec and HEAT Software, among others.