Mobile Mentor’s award-winning Zero-touch provisioning
Mobile Mentor beat out dozens of entries from around the world to win the end-point management category at last year's Microsoft Partner Awards.
How did they do it? By having a single-minded focus on Intune, Microsoft cloud-based management tool for mobile devices, which is increasingly being used to provision, manage and secure fleets of mobile devices for workers.
“We don’t have split loyalties between vendors,” says Jared Pedersen, Mobile Mentor’s New Zealand Head of Sales.
“We love Microsoft and are unapologetic about it.”
A former Microsoft partner manager himself, Pedersen said he watched on in recent years as Intune came of age as a sophisticated product, moving into the upper right-hand square of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, which benchmarks endpoint management offerings.
In 2020, Gartner categorised Microsoft, VMWare and IBM as “leaders” in the endpoint management space.
“Six years ago, people would have thought you’re crazy if you built your business on Intune,” says Pedersen.
But that’s exactly what Mobile Mentor did, prioritising Intune over endpoint management systems such as VMware’s Airwatch and MobileIron, which was bought by software maker Ivanti.
Now Mobile Mentor offers customers an easy way to migrate from those platforms to Intune.
“We believe Intune is the platform for modern endpoint management,” Pedersen concluded.
“And it certainly helps to have all the wood behind one arrow.”
With operations across New Zealand, Australia and the US, Mobile Mentor has a diverse range of customers including US healthcare provider Mayo Clinic, with 53,000 users, through to US Coast Guard and New Zealand Defence Force.
But it was a smaller project with the Nashville, Tennessee-based aged care provider Alive Hospice, that saw Mobile Mentor take out the award from Microsoft.
“It was serendipitous,” Pedersen admits.
“We didn’t know Covid was coming, but we were in the process of setting up Alive Hospice with zero-touch provisioning.”
It sounds perfect for a socially distanced world, but what exactly is it?
“Instead of having all devices, centrally imaged, controlled and distributed from the IT team in whatever location the headquarters is, imagine those devices being sent directly from the hardware manufacturer to the end-user,” says Pedersen.
“Then you can bring down all the configuration through the cloud and do all of that through the Intune portal. As long as you have internet connection you can bring all that content down onto your device and have it ready.”
Intune can also be used to monitor and manage large fleets of devices and comes into its own for de-provisioning devices. You can do a remote wipe of a device when an employee or contractor leaves the organisation.
For Alive Hospice, which had to reinvent some of its treatment practices as the pandemic hit, quick access to technology allowing mobile care workers to do their job was essential.
“A lot of their patients are being looked after remotely out of the home,” Pedersen says.
“They were able to use Teams to give staff as well as people in their care connection and to get remote assistance. It worked out really nicely for that customer.”
A fast-growing niche
Mobile Mentor’s niche, one that the pandemic has helped turn into a high-growth industry, is helping organisations manage the “endpoint ecosystem”.
“It goes beyond just Microsoft laptops and Windows 10. It includes the Android, iOS, all of the tablets, the Mac OS, anything that your staff might be using to get the information to do their job,” Pedersen says.
“A company might have 300 users on laptops but have 600 staff in total. So they’ve got all these frontline workers who don’t use a laptop to do their job, but they carry a phone every day.”
Mobile Mentor doesn’t play in server management, software development or business intelligence so likes to partner with those who do, adding its expert knowledge in endpoint management,” says Pedersen.
We aren’t, for instance, a Sharepoint specialist, so we will partner together on RFPs (requests for proposals).
“The partner gets the data up to the cloud, and then when that data needs to be accessed via the endpoints, that’s where we could come in.”
Pedersen’s highlight from the announcements at Microsoft’s Inspire partner conference last week was the public preview of the Teams Walkie Talkie app for iPhone and Android devices, to help frontline workers communicate.
Says Pedersen: “It’s leveraging the best of Teams for people who are out and about with a hardcover, ruggedised device.”
This story first appeared on Umbrellar Connect on July 23, 2021.
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