Don’t let legacy apps block you from Windows 10 modern management.

Windows device management is changing enormously and possibilities are huge. One of the reasons is because Windows 10 is completely different than its predecessors, and is considered to be more of a mobile Operating System. Also, the broader devices environment is changing as we all know. You most likely have seen the “old vs new management style” of Windows devices in organizations. The old school consists of:

  • Corporate owned devices, most of them Windows desktops, Active Directory joined, Group Policies, SCCM managed, on-premises, locked down, business only purpose,

The new school consists of:

  • A mix of corporate and personal devices (Choose your Own/Bring Your Own), a mix of Windows/IOS/Android devices, Azure AD joined (where possible or necessary), managed via an Enterprise Mobility Management solution, on- and off-premises, more open/light way management, mix of business and personal use.

EMM vendors see a huge opportunity for their products to play a big part in Windows management within organizations, and they are right in doing so in my opinion. With EMM you can check all the boxes of the new way of management: 1 platform for managing different flavours of devices, corporate and personal owned, light way management, most times offered as a SaaS service etc. Bottom line, less device management, more app and data management for different kind of devices.

So, what’s keeping you from going to the bright side, the new school, the modern way of management? Many customers are using or investigating EMM products for the traditional mobile device- and application management, many customers are looking at content/data security but some customers are hesitant to use EMM for the Windows desktop/laptop devices, even though the world is changing, as mentioned before. Maybe they would like to use it but apparently there is a blocker (besides that change always is scary : ) That blocker, in my opinion is : legacy Windows apps.

Legacy Windows app can be difficult to manage. Most times they are 32-bit also or even worse, 16 bits, you deal with manual patches, difficult configs, multiple MSI’s etc. Tools like SCCM can be used to deploy those apps, just fine. Another way, maybe even additionally to SCCM, to optimize the desktop and/or app management, customers have been moving/looking at Server Based Computing and VDI. With those platforms you make management better, easier and maybe more efficient for some use cases. However, you don’t deal with the real problem: the apps themselves.

EMM tools are for light way/light touch device and app management. They cannot do all the fancy things SCCM can (MSI chaining, prioritizing order of install, pre- and post scripts), and they shouldn’t. The new way of management is just different. Take a good look at your legacy apps. There are may options nowadays: app vendors also have SaaS services, or a hybrid solution like Office365, or, change your apps/vendors and go for a competitor. I’m aware it isn’t easy but I remember a customer who mentioned an app, used by 5 users, 16-bit, no new versions, hard to manage and keeping them from upgrading their standard OS. An incredibly expensive app. Rip off that band aid, go through the first pain and in the end, life will be better. Seek the solution where the problem is. Maybe switching to a modern approach is a great moment to evaluate your app landscape. I am a firm believer in the modern management way with physical mobile devices managed by EMM. I believe that way will save a lot of management time and cost (imaging-apps-user setting solutions) and will increase user experience. SBC and VDI are great solutions to specific use cases but can be slowing you down in modernizing your apps and in worst case, keeping you from moving to Windows 10 and modern management.