In endpoint management, the less you’re noticed by end users, the better that you’re doing at your job. And when you’re a global Private Equity firm with only nine IT pros to service hundreds of employees in multiple departments across two continents, successfully keeping under the radar is even more difficult.
Our Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) as a Service offering presented this small, but wide-reaching group of IT professionals with the perfect opportunity to:
- Offload many of their tedious yet essential tasks
- Focus more on money-making tasks and processes for their company
- Still keep end users happy and stay successfully behind the scenes as a result of effective endpoint management
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A Global Private Equity Firm With Less Than a Dozen IT Professionals
This global Private Equity customer employs just nine IT professionals to service 12 offices and 350 employees in Europe and Asia.
The team was “drowning” in maintenance tasks like application packaging, imaging, and updates. A lack of deep expertise in MECM/Intune resulted in under utilization of these powerful Microsoft tools. Non-standard device provisioning had also lead to an inconsistent OS environment and inefficient troubleshooting. There was no automated provisioning capabilities outside of their main headquarters, so too many hours were spent on manual provisioning.
The firm was looking to delegate some of those tasks to a third-party contractor to help relieve the pressure and reallocate their time. They were also going through a merger at the time, so senior IT professionals wanted the team to be able to focus more on business application and processing tasks specifically to make it as smooth as possible.
A Loaded Bench of IT Pros For Hire
The firm narrowed their contractor choices to two, including Model Technology Solutions. They’d worked with both before in different capacities. After meeting with both contractors, they ultimately made the decision to go with Model for several reasons:
Expertise – Part of the mission at Model Technology is to hire the best talent in endpoint management and pass that expertise on to our customers. This level of talent was apparent to the venture firm, giving them greater confidence in our ability to implement their UEM.
Honesty – Model’s goal is to stick close to their core areas of expertise, never failing to over-deliver on projects that they pitch, and never claiming abilities they do not have. This transparency goes a long way towards inspiring confidence in clients, including this Private Equity firm’s decision to move forward with UEM.
Automation and Standardization With (Mostly) Their Current Tools
Once the decision was made, Model and the IT team began meeting weekly to hash out the logistics of the project. Model immediately identified multiple areas where automation could be improved, specifically around device provisioning.
The Model and the firm’s IT team ultimately decided to:
- Improve automation around computer naming standards and remove the human error potential in computer naming.
- Automate the manual steps through a new MECM Task Sequence deployment process. This process would account for core and ancillary applications, driver sets for multiple models, language packs for global locations, and Co-Management configurations for Intune managed Windows Update for Business and automatic enrollment in Defender for Endpoint.
- Establish global deployment servers to ensure the provisioning process could be standardized across the organization.
Through the entire discovery process Model attempted to engage the desktop support team at the firm. Model suggested using MECM/Intune to implement most of these improvements. There were several questions as to whether MECM could provide some of the needed functionality. However, Model knew it could. With Model’s reassurances, the team decided to move forward primarily using the Microsoft software suite the firm already knew and owned.
The firm’s IT team also requested that deployment be done using SCCM online, and Model was easily able to accommodate this request.
Once the plan was established, Model began automating processes one by one, including:
- Packaging of applications
- Scripting of custom desktop configurations and computer naming standards
- Packaging drivers sets and language packs for each supported model
Model also leveraged their in-house Dynamic Deployment Interface (DDI) software. This software allows for the dynamic provision process to be driven by decisions made at the outset of the deployment.
Model also implemented:
- New PXE based deployment services at the global locations for consistent provision across the firm.
- Patch My PC for third-party application updating during and after device provisioning.
A Standardized Dynamic Deployment Process & Feelings of Camaraderie
The end result of the app deployment project was a standardized, structured, automated, and dynamic deployment process that could be used across the entire firm. This process:
- Reduced the time to provision from days to hours (in many cases, less than an hour)
- Created a more consistent infrastructure and endpoint environment
- Reclaimed time for desktop techs to focus on business-oriented tasks
- Increased speed of deployment for getting end users up and productive and decreased time to market
According to the VP of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure, as a result of this project he “hasn’t touched” Windows imaging in a year and a half.
“Model completely stepped in to take care of all the updates and testing that was lots of work for me,” he said. He is also no longer the bottleneck for his team or end users, and he can focus more on the tasks he wants to focus on.
The VP of Cybersecurity also said that as a result of Model’s engaging the firm’s support and IT staff in the process, they’ve experienced a renewed sense of buy-in and teamwork at the company.
“Model really made them feel a little more empowered to request change,” he said, “and to be part of the testing of updates and new features and new software.”
Continued Partnership For Better Endpoint Management
But the projects did not end there. The firm has continued to delegate tasks to Model Technology Solutions, including:
- Redesigning their disaster recovery strategy
- Various automation and cleanup tasks
- Ongoing support for their endpoint management
Model now meets weekly with the firm to ensure satisfaction and assist with any other necessary tasks they may need to delegate.
In the end, Model’s involvement has resulted in:
- A standardized deployment process
- Increased patching compliance
- Improved security both objectively and as a felt-sense
- End users remaining happy and, for the most part, “blissfully ignorant” to the behind the scenes happenings in IT
- The ability for the IT team to stay lean but effective
…and, most importantly, the senior IT staff being practically and mentally freed up to focus on the tasks they wanted to focus on: building a better, more-profitable business, and learning how to leverage IT services to be a part of that.
Our Maturity Model Assessment
Are you a Private Equity or other business in the financial sector looking to implement UEM or just improve your endpoint management? We’d love to help you orient yourself.
Model is currently offering a comprehensive maturity assessment. This assessment is an excellent first step toward implementing Unified Endpoint Management. This assessment will allow you to identify key security holes and areas for improvement that you could use to free up time and capital like this venture firm did through UEM (plus get a bunch of other benefits!).
As a part of the assessment, Model Technology Solution will assess your infrastructure through the lens of our proprietary maturity model. After the assessment is complete, Model will provide a prioritized list of projects to improve your maturity in different areas. This list can be used to decide which projects to tackle first (and last) and also to identify the most cost-effective projects to undertake.
Want to learn more about this assessment? Visit this link to learn more.