Now that TechEd Europe 2013 is getting in full swing, it’s only appropriate to highlight great partners and customers.  Aston Martin is one of those customers and we wanted to bring you a glimpse of how they use Microsoft Cloud technologies and services like Windows Intune.

Aston Martin sports cars are synonymous with luxury, heritage, and authentic craftsmanship. Alongside these core values comes passion about the cars the company produces: all models are hand crafted using advanced production techniques and technology within a modern environment.   Head of IT Simon Callow, says ‘Aston Martin is about power, beauty and soul’ and from an IT perspective this meant moving from IT being a support function to one that offered advice, strategy and innovation.

Aston Martin currently has 145 dealerships in 41 countries around the world and four global offices, with many employees working remotely.   Supporting these remote workers provided opportunity for Aston Martin to provide innovative solutions which maintained their prestige brand.  One of the first cloud-based projects that Aston Martin had worked on was the deployment of Microsoft Office 365, which delivered cloud-based communication and collaboration tools so to provide remote use to access their email.  The successful deployment of Office 365, gave them the confidence to explore some of the other new products that are cloud-based.

One key challenge for the IT team was to manage and secure global staffs’ laptops, mobile devices, and smart phones, as these employees rarely set foot into the offices. If their devices were running outdated virus signatures and software and they had no way to remotely wipe a device if it was stolen. Employees faced downtime if their laptops required servicing because all we could offer was a reactive support model and it could take days before an employee was back up and running.

To ensure their global employees stay productive no matter where they are or what device they are using, they subscribed to Windows Intune to secure and manage their devices.   When they were investigating Windows Intune they had just deployed Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 to manage the corporate PCs.  Daniel Roach-Rooke, IT Infrastructure Manager highlights “The 2012 refresh year demonstrated Microsoft’s commitment to building interoperable products that just work seamlessly together”.  This set the stage for an integrated management solution. Windows Intune connects with System Center Configuration Manager to give them a single console to manage devices, whether they are on the network or not.

Watch the following video for insight into this solution.

With the new management infrastructure in place Aston Martin get a central view into the health of employees’ remote mobile devices so the IT team can solve computing issues quickly.  The solution also enhances their data security.  The IT team can apply IT governance policies and best practices to remote devices and, because Windows Intune works with Active Directory, they can align remote users’ devices with existing security groups and wipe a phone remotely if it’s lost or stolen. 

Windows Intune tracks and manages almost 700 employee-provided devices, including 180 Windows Phone 8 devices, which are managed using Configuration Manager, accommodating employees’ who want to use more of their own devices at work—while ensuring a reliable computing experience.  The software portal in Windows Intune is vital to their users are able to self-service and get the applications and support they require.

Summarizing the success of the projects to date, Simon Callow highlighted ‘What I want to do with Azure, what I want to do with Office 365, what I want to do with Intune, is to enable the decision makers to make the decisions and to make them quickly , and make them with the right information in their pockets.’

For more information on how Aston Martin is using Windows Intune, read the full story and view the video online.  For more information on Microsoft Cloud technologies and services, see http://microsoft.com/server-cloud.  See http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsintune/ for the Windows Intune blog articles.

For those of you attending TechEd Europe 2013, be sure and look at the session catalog for Windows Client, Access & Management. You will find a wealth of information on System Center, Windows Intune and other deployment and management techniques.  Many of the sessions are now available for on-demand viewing. For instance, Brad Anderson’s Day 1 Keynote is now available for on-demand viewing. And check out these other interesting articles released on our blog network today from TechEd Europe including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) -- New Windows Server 2012 R2 Device Access and Information Protection and 'Wicked Fast' -- Real World Experience with SQL Server 2013 In-Memory OLTP

Microsoft product previews for Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 and others are available right now!  See our blog post from earlier this week for more information.