By Chad Basham
I’ve worked in IT for 20 years now and what I like most about this industry is that it changes, almost weekly, keeping me on my toes and learning constantly. While technology never ceases to change, one big challenge IT departments face has remained the same every day I’ve been in this business – convincing the world that they are much more than a desktop management service provider.
Instead of balancing all of the responsibilities that come with desktop management while trying to find the time to focus on how technology fits into the overall business strategy, consider outsourcing the time consuming pieces of desktop management, such as software asset management, desktop deployment and desktop support. It can free your staff to focus on big-ticket items, often for a cheaper price tag than keeping these desktop management services in-house.
The following two desktop management best practices will prepare your business to bring in a partner so the IT team can get to the business of strategy.
1. Determine the state of your environment, inside and out.
The first key to a well-oiled desktop management machine is understanding your needs. That means taking a comprehensive assessment of everything tech-related in your organisation’s domain.
As you begin examining your organisation’s environment, ask these questions:
- Is the environment up to date? Does all of your software—including operating systems—have the most recent, secure patches and updates?
- If you find various versions of software among employees, what’s the reason for the discrepancy? Do certain employees or groups need features only available in older versions? Or is it simply an oversight?
- How do you plan and prepare for your desktop refresh? Is it a well-documented desktop deployment process, or an ad hoc task? Are you and your staff prepared to update your desktop every 6 or 12 months?
- Is your software volume licence up to date? A huge time drain in desktop management is managing and updating complex licensing agreements.
Look to an experienced IT firm that can assist or assume full responsibility for assessing your environment and then help you design your volume licence and desktop support needs based on that assessment.
2. Ensure global and local desktop deployment methods are in place.
You undoubtedly know the Patero principle states that 20% of the work will consume 80% of your employees’ time. With the proper desktop deployment measures in place, approximately 20% of your IT department’s time should be able to cover 80% of your deployments.
After your staff or an outsourced IT firm has assessed your environment, you’ll have the opportunity to manage deployment using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Here’s where you can make 80% of your deployments easily manageable.
And for the remaining 20% of software desktop deployment and system needs? Delegating these desktop management and desktop deployment tasks to an IT service provider with proven methods and extensive experience will help keep your team focused on strategic goals, not one-off software deployments and upgrades.
An experienced IT firm will take critical deployment headaches off your plate, including:
- Packaging and installing software applications.
- Providing compatibility testing.
- Installing security fixes.
- Specifying the desired configuration and upgrading your fleet accordingly.
- Measuring software usage.
- Remotely controlling computers and providing support.
With codified deployment processes and comprehensive IT environment assessment – and the right IT partner – your staff can spend less time on desktop management services and more time contributing to the overall business strategy.
About Chad Basham
Chad Basham is the General Manager of Professional Services for Datacom, NSW. With 20 years of global technology experience, Chad leads a team of solution architects focused on designing agile IT environments that result in more productivity and overall cost savings for Datacom clients. His team’s goal is to help internal IT departments focus on strategy, including creating overall technology roadmaps, designing efficient end-user computer and infrastructure environments, and implementing a variety of vendor solutions, including Microsoft desktop software.