January 15, 2020: It’s time for Windows 10 modern management!

Now that Windows 7 is (mostly out of the way), this is the next big Windows project.

Windows 10 has been out for four and a half years, but it was just yesterday that Windows 7 hit end of life

Today, it’s a new day. With Windows 7 out of the way, it’s time to explore modern management for Windows 10.

Why now?

As exciting as modern management is, it just wasn’t practical to move to it at the same time as migrating to Windows 10, as Gabe wrote back in 2017.

Even though the 7 to 10 migration was supposed to be way easier than the previous XP to 7 migration, it was still a huge project. Companies had their hands full dealing with all of the changes. Why add to that workload?

So, most enterprises took their time migrating to Windows 10, doing everything the “old” way, as Brian observed.

I’ll also re-iterated what I wrote yesterday, which is that Windows 7 is still going to be around for while thanks to Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop entitlements and Extended Security Updates.

But looking forward, this is one of the big inflection points for EUC in 2020. The Windows 7 end of life means that it will be time for companies to shift gears from just getting to Windows 10 to figuring out how to modernize its management. 

Modern management is useful

Having spent the 2010s following the mobile device management and enterprise mobility in detail, I’m excited to see the many beneficial MDM concepts come into the desktop world.

Some of these concepts are already in place, and some are going to take a lot of work to perfect, but just stop and consider all of the benefits of modern management:

  • Stateless devices
  • Built-in attestation and trust features, to verify the integrity and security of hardware, operating systems, and apps
  • Automatic device provisioning
  • Remote management, including location tracking and device wipe
  • Frequent OS updates
  • Apps that are installed directly from the cloud, are easy to install, and don’t conflict with each other
  • User data, settings, and personalization features stored in the cloud
  • Devices with built-in biometrics and security keys

On top of these device-centric features, performance, UX, and security analytics and benchmarking tools that are also considered parts of modern management.

The changing landscape

Modern management is also interesting because of what it means for market. There’s Microsoft’s move to combine SCCM and Intune into Microsoft Endpoint Manager on one side, and VMware’s Windows 10 management progress on the other.

Over the next few years, there are a lot of important stories to follow, and customers will have to decide how they approach modern management. What will they do with SCCM? Will customers try co-management, or transition via attrition? Will MSIX app attach and remote apps delivered via WVD have the effect we hope they do?

Final thoughts

Okay, so if you just decommissioned your last Windows 7 machine yesterday, maybe you should take a nice vacation before you tackle modern management.

But today is a symbolic and real turning point that we’ve been thinking about for quite a while—the beginning of a new era.

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So I agree that this has to occur; but.. here's a problem. Customers are forced to retire Windows 7 BEFORE their MDM infrastructure is even ready to take on Windows 10. So, now you have nearly 90-100% of environments doing Windows 10 the "old way" .. then.. if they want to do Windows 10 + MDM the right way, they actually have to (basically) do a complete re-wipe and re-deploy the MDM way. That transition will generally take most companies years and years. At least 1.5 years of MDM planning then at least another 1.5 years of rip and replace "MDT style to MDM style" rollout. We can be optimistic.. but I think that's my realistic ballpark.
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