Before I peel into Microsoft’s Managed Desktop (MMD), I think it’s important to understand the potential value of intelligent data and the power of what can be done with the data in the form of AI and ML. So, while applications and devices typically provide the appeal on the surface (pun intended), the charge that Microsoft can inject into a service pivots completely around taking action on intelligent data. Steve Duplessie explains this concept well in his blog, “The True Value of SaaS and Managed Service Offerings.” He writes, “It’s not what they ‘do,’ it’s what they ‘could do’ that makes them so valuable.”
I don’t speak with many businesses that are in love with managing their desktops and laptops. On top of the difficulty and responsibility of that task, teams are then further burdened by the significant spike in security threats that range from nuisances to events that shut down businesses. So, what makes MMD valuable? In order to paint this picture, we have to assemble these primary pieces from Microsoft:
- Active Directory and Azure AD identity and access management.
- O365 productivity applications.
- Windows 10 operating system.
- Surface devices.
- Intelligent Security Graph.
If any of these pieces failed to produce intelligent data, MMD would flop. However, MMD isn’t about the latest Surface hardware specs or Windows 10 features; MMD is entirely built to deliver a predictable user experience. An experience, in fact, that is generated from the inertia created by the data collection, artificial intelligence, and machine learning that Microsoft can apply to the data, resulting in a reproduceable service for businesses.
The intelligence that Microsoft captures is put to valuable use for its customers as it can automate policies, keep up with the wild pace of updates and patches, and frankly take the responsibility off the plate of the IT organization. MMD isn’t going to be a perfect match for every employee, but in its initial state, MMD is an attractive offering for employees who have a predictable environment and are going to be pleased with a consistent user experience, hardware refreshes on a more regular basis, and a secure operating environment. IT organizations also potentially benefit from wiping their hands free of mundane tasks and risks that keep them up at night.
How businesses deliver an employee’s digital workspace is changing. This transformation is driven by consumer experiences, an expanded IT security perimeter, and the economics of managed service offerings. I’m sure MMD will set off some sparks in the industry, and will also raise interest among business professionals who rely on Microsoft to get work done.