Mobile Devices and Desktops: Can they be managed together? 

Managing on-premise desktops has been the norm for companies for the past few decades, but with the advent of mobile devices for personal and work use, companies have begun to adapt. The previous device management paradigm serves as a great blueprint for Mobile Device Management (MDM) environments, and raises the question: does it make sense for administrators to manage both desktops and mobile devices together in the same system?

Our answer to this question is yes, but with some important considerations to address; namely, the MDM to be used and the personnel responsible for the joint desktop/mobile device program. There are a few MDM systems that integrate PC and mobile device management well, such as Microsoft’s Intune offering. Intune can be integrated into System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), a Microsoft software that was designed for managing Windows desktops, collating the full desktop/mobile management into one portal. Though the enrollment process for PCs and Mobile devices is still different, they are easier to manage together because they share the similar device actions, policies and configurations.

The second major consideration is determining who the responsible party is for managing the desktop/mobile device program. Large corporations can easily handle this through delegated administration. By having both the desktop and mobile device administrators trained on a single MDM/Desktop portal (like Intune/SCCM above), this becomes a non-issue. However, smaller companies may not have the necessary experience or resources to do this, especially if there’s only one person managing all devices for a company.

This brings up another problem. Should the role of mobility and desktop administrator be given to one person, or multiple? Assuming that the administrators for both desktop and mobile devices have experience in their respective solutions, how much more training would they need to be responsible and up to the task of managing both? For some, this can be daunting.

This ongoing debate will determine the future of the mobile device administrator role in an organization. Now that MDMs are incorporating desktop management features into their offerings, do companies really need to hire a separate person for their mobility needs or can existing solutions and enhanced training offer the answer? The success of your mobility program rests on this.