Break IT down: Device management and refresh

By: Gene Morita

Until now, time has been the key benchmark for enterprise device refresh efforts.

Consider this: A business issues an employee a laptop in year one. That laptop gets swapped for a new model in year three, or according to whatever schedule the company is on. But some laptops stop performing at acceptable levels before the refresh date, while others have the potential to remain in service longer.

Why does this matter? We’re taking a new look at device management — a part of business that has become commoditized — and looking at a device’s health to solve business problems. Here’s my perspective on where we are today.

What’s the buzz?

Instead of using time as the benchmark to determine when an employee’s device should be swapped out, we’ve created a device health score. This score is based on continuous collection of device data from multiple data sources within an organization. We use analytics and cognitive technology to give devices a near-real-time score and recommend, for example, which devices should be refreshed now and which will need to be refreshed soon.

Why now?

We previously didn’t have the ability to collect and analyze data for device health attributes. Recently, modern tooling and systems have had capabilities to collect device data, but not until now have we had a solution to consolidate and use that data properly. Time is of course one of these attributes, but we are also collecting a full range of attributes including CPU and memory utilization, disk faults, crashes, service desk ticket, app load time and so much more.

It’s kind of like…

The excitement around wearables.

We used to wear watches to track time. Now, these things on our wrists can also optimize when we wake up based on our sleep cycles. They remind us to stand up and take a walk throughout the day. They do this by collecting data our bodies naturally generate and making recommendations based on analysis of that data.

Similarly, with the device health score, we’re collecting and analyzing the data on our devices on a day-to-day basis and using that information to generate recommendations.

Why am I paying attention?

It’s all about ROI. I think about the value of time — whether it’s time lost waiting for a slow device to respond or replacing a failed device. I also think about employee satisfaction and the sheer frustration of working with a device that takes forever to do what we ask it to. Tech is supposed to be an enabler to getting things done, not an inhibitor.

I’m keeping an eye on…

What we’re seeing in the opportunity of predictive analytics and budget forecasting. We’re developing capabilities to forecast how many devices in a budget year will hit a critical health score and need a refresh. Then there’s the ability to see which devices perform better over time and optimizing purchasing accordingly. It opens up a lot of opportunities.

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About The Author

Gene Morita

Global Offering Manager for Managed Mobility Services, IBM

Gene has been with IBM for 15 years and has taken on managed mobility services roles in delivery, architecture and offering management, which provides him a unique end-to-end understanding of IBM digital workplace services offerings.