As a growing majority of organizations face the need to let their employees choose the devices they want to use for their jobs, IT organizations are looking for ways to enable consumerization without compromising compliance. Helping IT serve users and the devices they bring to the workplace lies at the heart of Microsoft’s People-centric IT which helps makes embracing consumerization easier by enabling you to:

  • Empower users by allowing users to work on the device(s) of their choice and providing consistent access to corporate resources from those devices. 
  • Unify your environment by letting IT extend its System Center Configuration Manager infrastructure with Windows Intune to support cloud management of mobile devices.
  • Protect your data by restricting access to corporate resources based on user, device, and location.

This week at TechEd, we’re sharing our excitement about the upcoming releases of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, and Windows Intune.  Let me summarize how the announcements we’re making can help you embrace consumerization while supporting the management needs of IT.

By itself, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager can:

  • Deploy and manage Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Provision certificates, Wi-Fi and VPN profiles
  • Deploy links to web applications
  • Provide role-based access to reports

When used in conjunction with the next release of Windows Intune, organizations can benefit from greater depth in device management in several areas, including:

  • Giving people a consistent experience in discovering and installing corporate applications that IT has made available to them, across all of their managed devices
  • Publishing corporate apps and services across device types, regardless of whether they’re corporate-connected or cloud-based
  • Granting more granular control over device settings available to configure Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, iOS, and Android devices to make them compliant with corporate policies
  • Wiping corporate applications, data, and policies from devices selectively when they are no longer managed by the organization

Windows Server 2012 R2 provides a number of new capabilities to help our customers embrace BYOD and enable their users to work on the device of their choice, and have IT provide access to resources while maintaining compliance.  These new capabilities include:

  • Windows Server Work Folders to allow users to synchronize files to their devices
  • Web Application Proxy, a feature of the Remote Access role, provides administrators with the ability to selectively publish corporate resources to remote users for secure conditional access
  • Enhancements to Active Directory Federation Services to enable a seamless single sign-on experience for end users, including device registration

Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager will be available by the end of this year, with a public preview being made available later this month.   Windows Intune will be available by the same time, although note that there will not be a public preview of Intune.

If you haven’t been following the innovations we’ve made over the past year, let me take you through some key updates we’ve made.

Last winter, we released a major update to Windows Intune, as well as Service Pack 1 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.  One of the significant enhancements to these two products was to integrate them so that organizations can manage corporate-connected and cloud-based, cross-platform devices all from the single Configuration Manager console. 

Over the past several months, we’ve updated Windows Intune to include an on-premises connector to Office 365 Hosted Exchange, we’ve enhanced the Intune Account Portal, and delivered updates to the anti-malware engine.  This month, we will add a cloud-based connector to Office 365 Hosted Exchange, making it easier for organizations to benefit from our cloud services in a cohesive manner.

We’ll be talking more about People-centric IT over the next several months on the road to release.  In the meantime, you can learn more about People-centric IT by downloading the People-centric IT Preview Guide.  You will be able to download the evaluation of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager later this month by clicking here.