Efficient and Intuitive | Application Management (Level 5)
By Jason Rutherford
Published March 30, 2022
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to Model’s approach to Unified Endpoint Management Application Management Level 5. This is part of the Maturity Model series on Unified Endpoint Management. Today’s post will cover:

  • A definition of Unified Endpoint Management
  • A brief review of our proprietary Maturity Model
  • An brief explanation of what it mean to be a Level 5 in your Applications Management

What is Unified Endpoint Management?

The standard definition of Unified Endpoint Management is…

…a single platform for management of devices such as phones, tablets, and desktops supporting many different use cases.

At Model Technology Solutions, our definition expands on this a little bit.

Model’s Definition: A collection of processes supported by technology for the management of devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops supporting many different use cases coupled with well-defined processes, molded to your organization’s security and application needs, to enable productivity while reducing potential security risks.

Our definition, in addition to the platform, also includes processes that take into account your organization’s security needs, application needs, and personas. The ultimate goal of Unified Endpoint Management is to enable productivity while reducing any potential security risks and minimizing costs, and the processes that you implement are as much a part of that as the platform that you use.

Our Maturity Model

Model Technology Solutions uses a proprietary Maturity Model to assess and rate infrastructure maturity in the sector of Unified Endpoint Management. Our Maturity Model is made up of 5 phases:

  • Initial
  • Repeatable
  • Defined
  • Managed
  • Efficient

In moving through these phases, you start with beginning to recognize a need for endpoint management. You then improve incrementally, eventually establishing a single platform for management of all of your endpoints, configurations, and associated processes.

These phases are accompanied by five categories that organizations can be ranked for. Those categories are:

  • Management Infrastructure
    • Things like Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, and Endpoint Manager
  • Configuration Management
    • Security baselines or device provisioning and de-provisioning
  • Updates and Service Management
    • Monthly processes, operating system versions, testing and validation procedures
  • Application Management
    • Application installation processes or the delivery automation assessment of your applications
  • Endpoint security

Today’s post is focusing specifically on the Application Management category Level 5 maturity.

Application Management Level 5

Level 5 is the gold-standard for Application Management maturity. For an organization to be at a Level 5 in Application Management, there must be some key characteristics in place, including:

  • Packaged Applications
  • Role-based software deployments
  • Optional applications available via some type of portal, with or without approvals and workflows as-required
  • A well defined set of processes for introducing new applications into the environment, updating existing applications, and retiring applications from your organization

We’re going to cover those features below.

Packaged Applications

Everybody has heard of packaged applications, but what benefits does this feature offer an organization?

Firstly, you have insights into application storage locations. If you have custom or store purchase applications that are pre-configured with installation options and data locations, or if your applications are storing data somewhere on your system or in your infrastructure, you have insight into exactly where it’s all being stored.

You also have insight into security settings. You know whether security settings are managed internal to the package of the application or external via group policy or maybe Intune. Actively managed version control and actively managed functionality control are two more examples of this feature.

Packaged applications also improves efficiency. Being able to identify how many apps you have in your environment that have the same functionality cuts costs and reduces redundancy. A lot of times, organizations which aren’t that mature yet have multiple platforms or software to do the same work. This often wastes a lot of money that could be saved if they had a better handle on their applications. In a Level 5, you’ve got it streamlined down to just the necessity or core applications required for your business to function. You don’t have multiple apps and app licenses for single purposes, for example PDF creation, CAD drawing creation, etc.

Role Based Software Deployments

There are multiple different departments in your organization, and each of them have different requirements for software. For example, someone in human resources will not need Adobe Creative Cloud, but somebody in marketing and communication will in order to create marketing material. Expensive licenses will be managed effectively in Level 5 maturity.

Optional Applications

Intuitive software portals for optional applications is part of Level 5 of Application Management as well. Oftentimes end users will want to download optional apps. A storefront or software portal is one way to accommodate for this need.

However, as IT pros, when we design software portals for consumption by end users, we often don’t think of the user experience first. We think of just publishing applications and the technical details.

However, today there are many tools available for publishing intuitive application portals that make it easy and intuitive for an end user to install an approved application that has the functionality that they need. Some examples of these tools are software center, the company portal, and integration with the Microsoft store for business.

Maybe your end user doesn’t know the name of the application, but they know what it does. In your portal, that app should be able to be tagged with metadata like “create pictures”, “run plant floor machine”, or “run printer”, so that it can be found easily in the situation that a user is trying to identify the app by its use.

Additionally, the software portals present it to the end user and then allow for automation on the back end for approvals. Software applications that cost a lot of money might require an approval from a manager or somebody in IT. This process should be easy and contained within your portal.

Ultimately, as IT pros, we need to be thinking about and improving user experience at higher levels of maturity. Whatever that process looks like for your organization, in a Level 5 it is well defined and automated to the best of the ability of your team.

Well-Defined Processes

Speaking of well-defined processes, having them for all of your Application Management tasks is a key differentiator for Level 5. Generally speaking, there are three categories for processes as it pertains to Application Management:

  • Deploying new applications
  • Updating applications on a regular cadence
  • Retiring applications

If you really want to improve your maturity, tools are only part of the solution, and not the most important part. Too many organizations try to fix process problems with new tools or software. More often than not, it doesn’t work. Your processes for these particular Application Management tasks need to be well-defined, documented, and communicated out so that everyone can follow them. Then you can incorporate improved tools as a part of that process.

Benchmark Your IT Maturity

Are you interested in benchmarking your Application Management maturity in order to improve? If so, we’d love to provide a custom assessment for your company through our IT Maturity Health Check service. This assessment will benchmark your organization’s maturity in all of the different categories by level and identify the most essential & cost-effective areas for improvement.

This process will either:

  • Validate that you are on the right track and putting effort, time, and energy into the right element for their endpoints
  • Show you exactly where you should invest your time resources to get your endpoint management infrastructure further down the line

For example, maybe your Management Infrastructure is a Level 2 maturity and your Endpoint Security a Level 5 maturity. That means there’s likely some areas that you can improve your Management Infrastructure very quickly without a lot of cost that will lead to great results.

The commitment for the assessment are one short pre-engagement questionnaire and two 90 minute meetings. The cost of the Maturity Model Assessment is $3,000. For organizations who spend tens of thousands of dollars on IT projects, knowing which projects to undertake for the most return could easily save you ten to twenty times that number in dollars spent on low-priority and low-payout projects.

The output of the assessment is a findings and recommendations report which will contain all of these reports.

If you’re interested in going through the IT Maturity Health Check, visit this page to learn more and get in touch. You can also email me directly at jason@model-technology.com.

Thank you! See you in the next post!

Article By Jason Rutherford
Managing Partner – Model Technology Solutions With over 21 years of Enterprise IT, Jason’s focus on people, process, and delivery has shaped Model into the organization that it has become today. His approach to creating a consulting organization focused on creating IT efficiencies has led to strategic partnerships with Model’s clients. He believes in strong community support and that knowledge sharing is a critical factor to success.

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