Simon May

Client and cloud

Simon May

  • The revolutionary control and compatibility that Enterprise Mode for IE 11 delivers

    The new Enterprise Mode in Internet Explorer 11 helps to fix your LoB web app compatibility issues, unblocking your ability to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Read on to learn out how and why…

    There is a revolution underway in enterprise IT, characterized by the BYOD trend but strongly contrasted by the realities of enterprise IT. Trouble is, internal LoB web apps are late to the party. The speed of change in enterprise application architectures in many organisations often dawdles behind the pace of improvement we’re becoming used to in our personal tech lives.

    This has left a unique situation where devices and the apps on the devices are no longer capable of dealing with old applications due to deprecated standards or new app patterns. Web based LoB applications and portals are generally huge offenders. You probably have at least a couple inside your organisation and they probably slow down your adoption of newer, more enabling technologies.

    Internet Explorer 11 has a feature that revolutionizes the approach to the legacy web app problem: Enterprise Mode.

    This feature helps Internet Explorer deliver very high compatibility with older applications while maintain the advantages of a modern browser (like JavaScript rendering speed). Of course just having that ability isn’t much use unless you have telemetry that tells you where you, the IT admin, need to target those compatibility features: which sites. Moreover, the telemetry is only helpful if you can act upon it through management.

    Why: Compatibility

    Enterprise Mode is a compatibility mode that runs on Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 Update and Windows 7 devices and lets websites render using a modified browser configuration. That configuration is designed to emulate Internet Explorer 8, avoiding the common compatibility problems associated with web apps written and tested on older versions of Internet Explorer.

    I come across lots of enterprises that have not managed to yet reach the nirvana of 100% of their endpoints running on the latest version of Windows. I also see that many customers have many browser versions out there. So there is a need to identify commonality and that highest level of commonality comes from Internet Explorer 8 which was available for Windows XP through to Windows 7. Many organizations standardized on IE8. It therefore makes total logical sense to support IE8 in this way in IE11 (which is available for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1)…this provides the highest surface area for backward compatibility and forward facing browser innovation. There is a great blog post by the IE team on the various compatibility vectors.

    You’ll know yourself that compatibility can be hit-and-miss when it’s something the user has to do. When you go to a site and it looks wrong, so you try a compatibility mode or another browser, it breaks your workflow. Enterprise Mode overcomes this because an enterprise controls a list of sites and subsites or web paths that need to use enterprise mode for rendering. In other words you can remove the burden of compatibility switching and troubleshooting from your users.

    Why: Performance

    One of the surprising improvements in IE11 is that pages designed for IE8 and rendered with Enterprise Mode will render faster than IE8 would have rendered the page natively. That is because of years (literally years) of improvement in the Internet Explorer engines for Java Script and layout and the improvements in hardware rendering. If you think about it this is a pretty amazing thing. If you have Windows 7 PCs why would you hold off on deploying Internet Explorer 11 when compatibility for all but the most uncommon of conditions is resolved?

    How: Crowed Sourced Telemetry

    Personally I think this is one of the best (and cleverest) features in Enterprise Mode. As an IT admin you probably don’t have the full picture of all the internal sites that need compatibility modes enabled. I’ve been involved in enough “software catalogue” projects to know that when you survey IT and your users about what corporate apps they use you get about 80% of the apps on the first take and the next 20% while you’re running your migration project. Wouldn’t live piloting be a better approach?

    Enterprise Mode supports logging to a central IIS server for Enterprise Mode. So it’s possible to:

    • Deploy IE11 to a group of test users
    • Enable that test pool to use Enterprise Mode at will to make sites work for them
    • Have Enterprise Mode log to an IIS server which URLs it is being used for
    • Finally you parse the logs for your results

    This means that you capture more information that you can act on. Insight to Action.

    This “crowed sourced telemetry” is quite simple to setup, detailed instructions on TechNet

    How: Management for “corporate owned” devices

    As you would expect there is management of IE for enterprises through Group Policy and this includes Enterprise Mode. You will however need more than “just” group policy, but not much more. Enterprise Mode uses a site list that details the sites to use Enterprise Mode on: as I said earlier it can make compatibility invisible to the user. The site list can be stored on either of:

    • HTTP location: “SiteList”=”http://localhost:8080/sites.xml”
    • Local network: “SiteList”=”file://network/shares/sites.xml”
    • Or Local file: “SiteList”=”file:///c:\\Users\\<user>\\Documents\\testList.xml”

    Within the group policy setting Use the Enterprise Mode IE website list you simply enable the setting and point to your site list. Creating your site list is pretty simple too, you take your crowed sourced telemetry and create a list using the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager. You can learn more about creating an Enterprise Mode site list on TechNet

    How: Management for “employee owned” devices

    The world of device management is changing right now to take advantage of those new models like BYOD and so while it’s quite likely that someone could bring a Windows 8.1 tablet to work and try to access the legacy expenses app, it’s pretty unlikely they are going to let you slap Group Policy on the device! Of course there’s a good chance you now have a mobility policy and it includes enrolment into your corporate MDM solution (such as Windows Intune). For that reason we made IE11 Enterprise Mode manageable through the OMA-DM agent in Windows 8.1 Update. Of course you might also have users brining in Windows 7 devices, there you’ll have to give them a script or some instructions to change the appropriate registry keys.

    So when your employees enrol their Windows 8.1 tablet into management they can now have their email, WiFi, VPN, Apps and Internet Explorer compatibility automatically configured for them!

    Of course we don’t just see this type of management as applicable for BYOD scenarios. This pre-integrated management is perfect for company owned solutions too, perhaps you need to deploy Windows 8.1 devices to field based task workers in your organization that don’t come into the office often: This is a great solution for those types of scenarios too. You can find a full list of the settings that Windows Intune can manage for you on devices here on TechNet too.


    Deployment guide for IT Pros:

    The post The revolutionary control and compatibility that Enterprise Mode for IE 11 delivers appeared first on Enterprise Devices and Infrastructure.

  • Last Week in Microsoft Enterprise Mobility, September 8 – 15

    EMM Strategy

    It’s time to get hands on with Enterprise Mobility, at least according to Brad Anderson (CVP Enterprise Mobility and Client Management at MSFT). Over the course of the past week Brad did some great posts to explain our vision

    Real Talk: It’s Time to Get Hands on with Enterprise Mobility

    Secure E-mail

    Episode One of the Endpoint Zone with Brad Anderson.

    Device Management

    Brad announced this week that Intune will support iOS8 on day zero (just as Apple announced new iPhones). What this means: unlike the solutions on the market (like Airwatch) that announced day One availability is you can already add an iOS8 device to Intune without having to apply any upgrades. So unlike with our competitors you won’t have to raise changes, organize a weekend upgrade etc. All the stuff that makes life as an admin bad goes away with Intune.


    Identity, Identity, Identity! Not sure how many times we can say this but identity is important. It’s important for end users but also for Admins and last week we released into preview RBAC: Roles based access control which lets you assign permissions to administrator roles inside Azure AD.

    Productivity (Office 365, OneDrive, Cloud Storage)

    Your personal OneDrive can now hold files up to 10gb in size each. Personally this is super cool for me, it means I can keep my favorite (eval) ISO files on my OneDrive and have them available everywhere I go.

    Gartner recognized Office 365 as a leader in their latest MQ for enterprise social. As always it makes me wonder why you’d even consider the niche point solutions that other MDM vendors knock out to “enable” mobile productivity.


    Apparently Apple announced last week…new iPhones with bigger screens are coming. So are Apple Watches. I’m not going to go into too much depth since the entire internet knows what they announced but Brad’s iOS8 zero day support post highlights some of the best things in iOS8 for enterprises.

    Microsoft also made some announcements in the previous week but I spotted Microsoft Screen Sharing. One of the things I get asked a lot is how to present directly from a mobile device and this is a great tool to present directly from a mobile device.

    Non-Microsoft stuff

    I love this post from David Johnson at Forrester:

    People are always asking me, “What can we do to help people do their very best work?”

    It’s from a great article that outlines why taking this type of approach seems to deliver far better results for a business. It’s something personally I think everyone working mobility should have internalized already.

    The post Last Week in Microsoft Enterprise Mobility, September 8 – 15 appeared first on Enterprise Devices and Infrastructure.

  • The Endpoint Zone with Brad Anderson (@InTheCloudMSFT)

    Enterprise Mobility is such a big deal here at Microsoft that we have one our senior leaders on the hook to make sure we deliver on our vision. That guy is Brad Anderson, CVP Enterprise Client and Mobility who’s taking time out with me to bring you a new show on enterprise mobility. Get Brad’s thoughts on iOS 8, Airwatch and VMwares announcements, what we are doing with secure email and hear from one of our customers about how we are making their mobility dreams come true!

    The post The Endpoint Zone with Brad Anderson (@InTheCloudMSFT) appeared first on Enterprise Devices and Infrastructure.

  • New Free Enterprise Mobility Course on MVA

    I’ve already said that productivity should be your enterprise mobility on-ramp, it’s really easy to take your Office 365 subscription and start to enable device management, access protection and identity management. I hit the Microsoft Virtual Academy studios recently to lay down a quick course on just that. You can take part in the course for free at Microsoft Virtual Academy.

    New Free Enterprise Mobility Course on MVA

    As you’ll see there are 8 modules in the course:

    • Course Introduction
    • Get More Information About Your Users
    • Make Your Users Safer
    • Ease Your Management Overhead
    • Get More Information About Cloud Apps
    • Get Control of Cloud Apps
    • Protect Your Customers’ Files: Wherever They Are
    • Give Your Users a Reason to Be Managed

    The post New Free Enterprise Mobility Course on MVA appeared first on Enterprise Devices and Infrastructure.

  • Last Week in Microsoft Enterprise Mobility: Sept 1st to 7th, 2014

    With IFA last week lots of this week’s news was driven around devices rather than the infrastructure to manage them. Some interesting form factors appeared (particularly the crazy curved Samsung device: just shows what we can do with glass today!). More interesting is the price point movement that IT should be keeping a watching brief over.

    Cloud Apps (SaaS)

    I present about EMS almost every week, as I do I continually go into the SaaS apps portal within Azure AD and add applications. Each time the number of apps available for me to connect with is leaping up. This week we announced that there are now over 50 apps supporting federation in Azure AD (as opposed to password vaulting) in our solution. Does your enterprise mobility solution instantly federate you with 50+ apps and over 2000 more?


    Last week was IFA in berlin and we announced a slew of devices including the Lumia 730, 735, 830 with great prices and specs. There were some other great devices announced from some of the leading enterprise hardware vendors too like this great HP ENVY (image below) but also some lower cost devices like the ones announced by Toshiba. As I look at these devices I’m seeing something of a pattern: quality devices that achieve business outcomes at more reasonable price points…I also see these price points driving more “disposability” within IT – which less face it needs to reduce the 3 year purchase cycle in order to stay apace of innovation. I’m also rather loving the gaming PCs produced by Lenovo.

    Last Week in Microsoft Enterprise Mobility: Sept 1st to 7th, 2014

    Virtual Desktops and Apps

    Brad Anderson this week posted about Azure RemoteApp a great piece of our mobility story that becomes really useful when you don’t have time or money to rebuild your apps for a modern platform or architecture, or where things are too bandwidth intensive. Of course it has other uses too.

    The philosophy behind Azure RemoteApp is simple: There are a lot of scenarios and industries where an app-based approach is more efficient than desktops

    Outside of Microsoft

    Finally I found this article about the Digital vs IT divide posing questions about is there a generational gap between IT leaders that defines company success. Very thought provoking.


    Box had their annual BoxWorks conference last week and they had Jared Leto on stage talking about how storage is empowering artists. The main thing to take away is how storage isn’t about storing your stuff anymore (that is almost a given) it’s about what you can do with it once you’ve stored it.

    Share these key points:

    • Over 50 SaaS apps with Federation and 2000+ with pwd vaulting in Azure App Portal

    The post Last Week in Microsoft Enterprise Mobility: Sept 1st to 7th, 2014 appeared first on Enterprise Devices and Infrastructure.