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Breaking Up with SCCM Is Hard To Do

It's no secret that Microsoft wants enterprises to migrate all their PC users to Windows 10 as a service and to move to its new modern approach to configuring, securing and managing those systems and the applications associated with them. This year's launch of Microsoft 365 -- a subscription service that bundles Windows 10 licenses, Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) service -- is the strongest sign yet that the company is pushing IT pros away from the traditional approach of imaging and managing PCs with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) in favor of Microsoft Intune in EMS.

While many IT pros have embraced the new modern systems management model, others are bemoaning it and quite a few remain unsure, according to a spot survey of Redmond readers over the weekend.

Nearly half, or 48 percent, of Redmond subscribers who are planning Windows 10 migrations said they intend to continue using SCCM to configure, deploy and manage those systems, according to 201 respondents to an online poll. Yet 31 percent are undecided and only 4 percent have decided on Microsoft's EMS offering. And while 9 percent will use a third-party MDM/EMM/MAM offering, a near-equal amount will implement a mixture of the aforementioned options.

While 19 percent responded that they plan to use Microsoft 365 where it makes sense, only 10 percent plan to use it enterprisewide. A formidable number, 42 percent, said their organization has no plans to use Microsoft 365, while 28 percent are undecided.

As Intune takes on more automated deployment capabilities, organizations upgrading to Windows 10 -- which they must do by 2020 -- may find SCCM becoming less essential in a growing number of scenarios. Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice president for enterprise client mobility, drove that point home during a keynote session at the recent Ignite conference in Orlando. "One of the big things about modern management is we are encouraging you to move away from imaging," Anderson said. "Stop maintaining those images and all of the libraries and drivers and let's move to a model where we can automatically provision you from the cloud."

Anderson estimated that SCCM now manages 75 percent of all PCs, hundreds of millions, and continues to grow by 1 million users per week -- hence the point that this change is going to happen quickly. Microsoft continues to upgrade SCCM, and has moved from its traditional release cycle of every two to three years to three times per year, and its current branch model with new test builds for insiders issued every month. Microsoft also now offers an SCCM co-management bridge and PowerShell scripts for Intune.

Organizations have various decisions to make, and there are still many moving parts. Which is why despite the fact that 600 million systems now run Windows 10, many organizations still haven't migrated or are only in the early stages of doing so.

Join MVP and longtime Redmond contributor Greg Shields, Enterprise Strategy Group Senior Analyst Mark Bowker and me tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT for a Redmond webinar: Microsoft 365 for Modern Workplace Management: Considerations for Moving to a Post-SCCM World. You can sign up here.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/04/2017 at 1:10 PM


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