In a previous post I talked about technical, people, and cloud computing trends in corporate IT.  The practical impact of these trends means that the shift to a “bring your own device” (BYOD) or “choose your own device” (CYOD) enterprise workforce is here to stay.  These trends place a lot of responsibility on IT departments to support this development – and it’s Microsoft’s job to support every aspect of these trends.

To make the most of this technical shift, IT teams need to do three key things:

  1. Empower users
  2. Unify your environment
  3. Protect your data

Like many of you, I spent last week at Tech Ed North America, and, as I shared in my keynote, we announced a ton of new and exciting capabilities across our products that will enable each and every one of these technical trends. 

When I think of Empowering Users, I do so from the mindset and perspective of both the IT team, and the people using these devices.  I want the users of corporate devices to have simple, reliable app and data access on any of their devices in any environment.  I want the IT teams that support device users to enable this kind of access while managing risk, protecting corporate information, and staying compliant.

So what makes these solutions so important to both users and IT teams?

The importance can be boiled down to one word:  Efficiency.  These solutions enable IT teams to deliver a pre-configured experience that has been fine tuned to increase workforce productivity – across form factors, infrastructures, and environments.

What enables this type of integration is the IT department’s ability to do three fundamental things:  Publish services, set requirements for access to these services, and then provide the means for users to opt in to these services.

A lot of this productivity will go underutilized, however, if it doesn’t extend to the mobile experience.  As noted in my earlier post on this BYOD/CYOD topic, the most essential element for mobility is allowing the workforce to use their personal devices for work by offering an “opt in” to IT services while allowing IT to set standards that must be met in exchange for that access.  One example of this is Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) which enables devices to synchronize a user’s inbox, calendar, and other items with their Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox, while applying device configuration settings (e.g. requiring a password or PIN to satisfy IT requirements). As you saw at TechEd, we’ve moved well beyond EAS with deeper management capabilities supported directly within Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, and iOS, while continuing to make it easy for people to connect their devices to corporate resources and install apps. It’s a win-win for device users and IT

Over the next few weeks I’ll discuss in depth the awesome new functionality we’ve built into Windows Server, System Center Configuration Manager, and Windows Intune.

With this thorough integration between Windows Intune and Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, I’m excited that IT teams have a powerful single management solution for PC’s and devices.  This single solution is an absolutely unmatched source of simplicity and efficiency for enterprise IT pros, and the sheer volume of problems solved by this allow IT teams to focus their time and energy on the core needs of their business.

All of this allows for some major cultural and behavioral changes regarding how device users get data, and how IT pros protect that data.  Device users now comply with IT policy in exchange for access to corporate data, and those users self-serve to get the published corporate apps and data their jobs require.

To see these principles in action, check out Molly Brown’s demo during my keynote at TechEd (skip ahead to 37:50), and also watch the IW demos during the TechEd Foundation Session (starting at about 19:00).  During that Foundation Session, keep an eye out for the work-folder opt-in (24:45), and the iOS opt-in for registration (28:15).