How device management can give you a competitive advantage

Author: Martin McGregor, Cofounder and CEO, Devicie 

Device management, done right, is the secret sauce your business needs to stay ahead of the competition. But what does great device management look like, and how can organisations get there? In this blog, I will look at how device management has evolved over time and offer insight into how businesses can lift their game to provide sustainable competitive benefits for their employees, operations, security, reputation and bottom line.

But first, a history lesson. Because context is everything.

The evolution of device management

Device management, and the perception of the IT helpdesk tasked with managing employee devices, has changed dramatically over the past two decades. It was only 25 or so years ago that businesses really started to embrace computers for their staff. Those days, the job of the helpdesk was to build a solution to make the business more efficient, or to make the business save or make money. The case for employee computers was a no brainer; the productivity gains alone were plain to see and the businesses that saw this were quick to throw money behind the helpdesk to reap the benefits.

Fast-forward to today, and computers – and other employee devices – have become ubiquitous. What hasn’t kept up is the investment in helpdesk support to ensure those computers are driving the productivity gains they were originally intended for.

The IT helpdesk: A perception problem

Once upon a time, the helpdesk was somewhat regarded a departmental hero. Helpdesk professionals were respected for their insights because they understood the power of technology in creating business value for competitive advantage.

These days, the helpdesk is often considered a cost centre that doesn’t contribute to strategic business goals or profit. Many IT professionals see it as an entry-level gig with no room to innovate and will often jump ship as soon as a better opportunity abounds.

Such negative perceptions are absurd to say the least. The reality is that the helpdesk, and device management, cannot function as a business enabler without solid investment, especially with soaring workplace demands for more and faster output.

It seems many businesses have lost sight of the value of the helpdesk in making employees productive and efficient, hence slowing investment. But if organisations are serious about driving digital transformation, this needs to change.

The helpdesk is the foundation of a service culture, uniquely serving as the prime contact for supporting employees to do their best work safely and productively.

By acknowledging this and recognising the helpdesk as a strategic business enabler through sound investment and support, organisations can uplift their competitive advantage to provide a better user experience while retaining – and attracting – their best people.

Poor device management is risky business

When the helpdesk is underfunded, device management suffers significantly. And when device management suffers, so too does the employee experience, productivity and security. I’ve heard stories of employees waiting weeks for their devices to be operational – even at the biggest companies with the most resources. Two weeks is a lot of productivity lost, not to mention motivation from the employee who only wants to do their job well.

Then there are the security risks: when employee devices don’t work for people, they find workarounds, drastically expanding the attack surface. Use of VPNs and personal laptops are far too commonplace, not to mention risky.

The mismanagement of devices is the basis from which almost all problems arise in productivity, operations, security and even attracting and retaining talent – the core ingredients of driving competitive advantage.

We need to remind ourselves that devices are the point through which employees collaborate, perform and deliver their best work. Device management therefore needs to be done right – and that requires investment in tools that will support and empower the IT helpdesk.

What great device management looks like

So, what does great device management look like and how can it fuel competitive advantage?

  • Faster and frictionless device experience

An organisation’s ability to have more traction in the market directly correlates to its employee efficiency and output. If your employee efficiency is diminished due to a lagging device experience, so too is your operational capacity to create and deliver the products and services that make you competitive in the first place.

A faster and frictionless device experience also correlates to employee satisfaction and higher levels of productivity. Research from Adobe Workfront’s State of Work 2021 report shows 32% of workers said they had left a job because the employer’s technology “was a barrier to their ability to do good work.” This was up from 22% pre-COVID. If technology gets in the way of an employee being able to do their job, they will leave for a company that embraces technology as a business enabler.

  • Secure but not cumbersome

Poorly managed devices are often those with cumbersome security controls that restrict an employee’s ability to access the applications and tools they need to do their work. And, as previously mentioned, when security gets in the way of productivity, employees find workarounds which increases the attack surface.

At the same time, organisations that don’t address device security put themselves at huge risk of a cyber attack. If organisations address device management, they’ll significantly reduce the chance of a cyber attack and, even if they fall victim to an attack, they’ll be more likely to bounce back faster. Because good device management provides security and visibility that empowers people and while providing actionable intelligence.

  • Supporting your biggest advantage: your people

By far, the biggest competitive advantage a business can have is its people. By supporting your helpdesk to support your employees, you’re already way ahead of the competition.

Great device management empowers people and enables business

At Devicie, we see device management as an integral business enabler. Organisations can significantly uplift their device management by supporting their helpdesk through innovative tools that leverage automation to drive internal efficiencies and a worldclass device experience.

Our vision for devicie management is one that any organisation of any size can strive for, and is characterised by the following:

  • Employees can work wherever they like, on their device of choice
  • Devices, applications and operating systems are always up to date and configured to maximise productivity
  • Employees can self-service for new device onboarding and device rebuilds, via the internet
  • IT and security teams have 100% actionable visibility and control over the device fleet
  • The grunt work of device management (such as application patching and management) is completely automated
  • Deployment of layered security, aligned with best practice frameworks, is ongoing and automated
  • Security drift identification and remediation is automated
  • The IT helpdesk can finally focus on the good stuff, and stay motivated in their roles.

Device management that empowers people and enables business is Devicie’s bread and butter. We know and have seen the value of device management in creating competitive advantage, and are committed to the cause. If you’d like to learn more, be sure to book a demo or get in touch.

Related resources

Risky.Biz product demo: Devicie

Devicie CEO Martin McGregor gives a comprehensive product demo of the Devicie platform on Risky.Biz.

Read more
critical infrastructure reforms

Mission Critical: Takeaways from the Critical Infrastructure reforms

One of the most talked about security topics of late has been the critical infrastructure reforms. Here are our takeaways.

Read more
Why end-user security is the winning boardroom conversation in 2022

Why employee device management is now a winning boardroom conversation

Employee device management is having a moment – it’s now a huge business enabler and a winning boardroom conversation.

Read more