Not managing your endpoints? Then you don’t have an IT service desk

A modern-day IT service desk requires real-time visibility and control of every endpoint that it’s responsible for; preferably via a solution that is fully integrated into its existing service desk and ticketing technology.

The reality, however, is that very few service desk managers appear to have real-time visibility of all of their endpoints in use by the users of these endpoints. If they do not even have visibility of these devices, the concept of having a level of management and proactive monitoring of these devices is but a distant dream.

Granted, there are ‘enterprise solutions’ that do it all, that offer a single, integrated solution to the challenges of service desk and endpoint management. The reality, though, is that to most businesses these technologies are often not viable, both from a commercial and technical standpoint, leaving most service desk managers bereft of any credible view of what they are actually supporting.

However Gartner currently estimate that effective endpoint management can cut the cost of owning and running a desktop PC by 42 per cent. IDC also estimates that proactively managing your endpoints can save a business over $700 a year per device. Those are pretty compelling numbers, and when a service desk is furnished with the right endpoint management technology there is little doubting the compelling returns – increased 1st line fix rates; reduced support call times; fewer support tickets; less user downtime; enhanced user productivity.

My perception is that the service desk manager has seen little value from the implementation of ‘enterprise’ endpoint management solutions. In fact I can’t remember the last time I received a positive answer to the question ‘do you see much value from the corporate endpoint management solution currently in place’?

The service desk manager has had to make do with un-user friendly, agentless ‘discovery’ tools that in the modern, mobile workplace seem woefully unfit for purpose, and that only provide patchy ‘CMDB’ information. Of course they are usually furnished with a remote support technology, occasionally integrated into their helpdesk, but this is both a reactive and transient window into the user’s problem.

Read more: How to manage your IT business through endpoint management

So why shouldn’t service desks have real-time visibility of all of their supported devices? We need to move on from the expensive, complex, agentless ‘discovery tools’ of the past, and start thinking about modern, cloud-basedendpoint management solutions that give a service desk visibility of all of their devices through a single interface, regardless of device type, network, location or domain.

We need technology that is delivered on a SaaS model that can scale seamlessly across all devices, without breaking the bank and without the need to beg new servers from IT.

Technology that is simple to use, that can be exploited by everyone in the team, from 1st through to 3rd line, to maximize the ROI. Technology that is light on the device and light on the network, and overlays the core ‘inventory’ capability of traditional discovery tools with proactive monitoring, and a level of device management to keep the end user functioning. Technology that integrates into the incumbent service desk technology without the need for an army of over-paid consultants onsite for 2 weeks.

Easy enough, you would think – but having been developing such a technology for 7 years we know what a challenge it is to provide coverage for any device, running different platforms, which can scale effortlessly from the cloud to support tens of thousands of devices over any network, and do so at a price-point that service desk budgets can withstand. The good news is that we are good at what we do, and coupled with a powerful API we can now deliver a hugely compelling proposition to the service desk manager, whether he is running Remedy or Zendesk, or anything in between.

The net effect is a service desk that is truly on the front foot, one that is capable of moving from a heavily reactive approach, to a proactive one – this starts with knowing what you have, where it is, what state it’s in, with the information instantly available to your service desk staff; then sensible, relevant monitoring can then alert you to problems, as well as pre-empt certain problems before they impact the user (and rectify them without calling IT). But all within a framework that is trackable, auditable and accountable.

Christian Nagele is founder and CEO of CentraStage.