Yesterday at TechEd Europe Microsoft unveiled more of its plans for Intune, the Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Office 365. There’s a lot to like—especially with regards to mobile app management and the Office mobile apps—but naturally to get the greatest benefits out of it, companies will have to be dedicated to doing everything the Microsoft way.
There are still a few more announcements pending in the coming weeks and months, but now is a good time to take stock of Microsoft’s EMM efforts. I had a chance to talk to Brad Anderson yesterday to get more details. (His blog posts are here and here.)
How Intune stacks up
Intune and the Enterprise Mobility Suite are looking looking pretty good now. Whereas a year ago Intune was barely on the radar in the EMM space, it is now (or will be soon be as more features roll out in the coming months).
- It does full MDM for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
- It’s integrated with SCCM.
- It will soon have managed browser, PDF viewer, AV player, and image viewer apps.
- App wrapping is coming out soon.
- Users will be able access corporate resources from the Company Portal Apps, including internal web apps, cloud apps, remote desktops, and native mobile apps.
- The full Enterprise Mobility Suite, with Intune, Azure Active Directory, and Azure Rights Management Server will enable an impressive set of integrated capabilities, including identity management, single sign on, and conditional access policies.
The key difference
The major differentiator for Intune is that it will be able to manage and integrate with the Office mobile apps. This is obviously super attractive for companies that want to have “real” Office apps instead of third-party document viewers and editors. Intune will be able to wipe corporate data from the apps and control document sharing and cut/copy/paste.
This should be attractive for ISVs, too. As I’ve mentioned frequently, one of the issues with app-level MAM is that there are several competing ecosystems from different EMM vendors. This can be challenging for ISVs that try to accommodate all the different ecosystems, and it can be limiting for customers, too.
It’s true that Microsoft is creating yet another one of these ecosystems, but this one will be “the one with the real Office apps,” making it more attractive for customers and ISVs alike.
We’re still waiting for all the Office apps to come out on Android, but according to Brad, that should be coming soon.
The other thing the Intune still needs is a new mobile email app, as the current ones are woefully out of date. No replacement has been announced, but it’s pretty easy to read between the lines and assume that one is coming.
Office 365 + MDM
Also announced at TechEd Europe was that Office 365 will include MDM, via an embedded subset of Intune capabilities. Administrators will be able to set conditional access policies for Office 365 as well as selectively wipe corporate data. (There’s a fuller explanation of what is and isn’t included in Brad’s blog post.) The more advanced Office app management features will require Intune, but naturally there’s an upgrade path.
(On a related note it turns out that Office 365 is not needed to manage the Office mobile apps—the advanced controls will be available for companies that use on-premises Office 2013, too.)
All of the integrated capabilities of the Enterprise Mobility Suite are quite impressive, but customers do have to be ready to use the cloud. Microsoft puts a lot of effort into making that as painless as possible, though.
One caveat is that in order to manage Office apps on iOS devices, the devices must be enrolled in MDM. I think this could be a detriment and should be removed, as there are many scenarios where companies do not want to manage users’ devices.
But overall, Microsoft is clearly on the verge of being a top EMM vendor. There are a lot of companies that are used to buying a lot of Microsoft’s products, and they’ll be in good shape.