What Devices Does My Hybrid Higher Ed Workforce Need?
The first step in creating a device management roadmap is to determine which staff members get devices and the types of devices they need.
At Ithaca College, CIO David Weil says the school in upstate New York began replacing standard-issue desktop computers with laptops for all faculty and staff just before the pandemic.
“We’re on a four-year replacement cycle for computers, so our original plan was to phase that transition to laptops over the four-year period, but the pandemic caused us to accelerate that transition,” he says.
All faculty and staff who require regular computer use are issued a device owned by the college and can choose a Microsoft Windows or Apple device. Devices are selected and allocated based on each employee’s needs and responsibilities.
How Can We Get Employees the Devices and Software They Need?
Getting devices into the hands of employees can be time-consuming, and making sure each device is imaged and configured properly can take hours. Zero-touch deployment services can help ensure each device is delivered to the end user without the IT department’s intervention.
Weil and his team at Ithaca College partner with manufacturers to ensure the IT staff does not have to manually install software on every computer.
“In working with the manufacturers, we get the serial numbers and other information about the machines automatically added to our management systems so that we can give a brand-new machine directly to the end user without our IT team having to power it on beforehand,” Weil says. “When the employee turns it on for the first time, it automatically checks in with our deployment system and starts the configuration and provisioning process.”
Tools such as Jamf and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager can automate software installation and configuration so employees can provision their machines anywhere there is a broadband connection, Weil says. Investing time in these tools at the outset can create efficiencies down the line.