Windows Intune gets better and better with each new version. Several years ago, I remember seeing it for the first time at a kiosk during TechEd in the Microsoft pavilion. It was nice, but nothing more than a way to remotely manage your Mom’s and Dad’s computers, allowing you to fix the issues caused by inadvertently accessing the wrong web sites with an out-of-date antivirus. But, during Microsoft’s “all in” Cloud campaign a couple years ago, Windows Intune started a transformation. Microsoft shifted some top resources, dedicated at the time to System Center Configuration Manager, into the Windows Intune group and you could almost feel Windows Intune start to grow and expand overnight. With the reallocation of System Center Configuration Manager resources, it makes sense that Windows Intune is starting to mirror its older sister, System Center Configuration Manager, and there’s talk that Windows Intune may, eventually, be the next iteration of the larger, Enterprise-worthy management system.
Windows Intune, today, is marketed as a small to medium business solution for managing endpoints due to its limited scalability. But, that’s just marketing. Windows Intune can actually support many more endpoints than the communicated support model, and it won’t be long before you hear that. And, with the release of SP1 for System Center 2012, Microsoft has provided a conduit between System Center Configuration Manager 2012 and Windows Intune, allowing ConfigMgr customers to manage mobile devices such as Windows Phone, Windows RT, iOS, and Android. The conduit gives the on premise System Center Configuration Manager 2012 a touch of the Cloud.
One of the much-touted features of System Center Configuration Manager 2012 is its ability to provide people-centric application delivery – a component of the consumerization of IT. People-centric application delivery in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 is represented by a corporate app store that is an IT customizable portal, allowing the end-user to shop for company-approved and legally-licensed applications to install on their own. This saves an enormous amount of time for IT by eliminating several steps in the application acquisition and delivery process and gives the end-user a similar experience to shopping on web sites like Amazon.com. If you can shop online, you can use the corporate app store.
Very soon after the release of System Center Configuration Manager 2012, this same feature came to Windows Intune, once again proving that there’s now a direct lineage between the two products and the future will be interesting.
To aid the melding of the two products, Microsoft has released a Company Portal application for Windows Intune, further blurring the lines between on premise and Cloud-based endpoint management solutions. The app gives those endpoints enrolled in Windows Intune the abilityto still take advantage of the company-approved applications, plus a couple additional features.
It provides the following features:
- Browse, search and install apps made available to you by your company
- Manage enrollment with Windows Intune for your computer and devices, as well as the ability to remote wipe certain device type
- Easily locate contact information for IT support
To find it, use Windows 8 to search the Windows Store for “Company Portal”, or use the link below.
Company Portal app for Windows in the Windows Store