Windows Intune to simplify enterprise adoption of Surface tablet, analyst says


Windows Intune, the cloud-based PC management and security software tool available on the new Surface tablet, should "simplify the adoption" of the tablet in the enterprise, said Forrester Research senior analyst David Johnson.

Johnson wrote in a blog that Windows Intune is a "breeze" to use in comparison to Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) cumbersome System Center Configuration Manager, a more robust PC and device management and security tool.

He noted that Windows Intune and Exchange Active Sync, a mobile device synchronization tool, are the only fully supported management tools for the Surface tablet, so the selection for IT managers is limited.

PC Mag shares Johnson's enthusiasm for Windows Intune. Writer Samara Lynn wrote in a product review, "Windows Intune nicely integrates several Microsoft management products into one, centralized cloud-based system. It's a boon for reigning in management tasks in Windows-client heavy organizations."

In his blog, Johnson cautioned that apps for the Surface need to be specifically developed for the Windows RT operating system and its ARM processor architecture. Developers can use the Visual Studio tool, which is a "straightforward process," but older apps, and apps developed with other tools, might not be compatible. "There is high probability of frustration among the user community if they get a shiny new Surface, only to find out their apps won't work," he observed.

In addition, Johnson said that the new Windows interface on the tablet may be difficult for less tech savvy employees to use. "The incoherence between the new interface and the traditional desktop interface, combined with the split-app behavior between them, will take time to master. Be prepared to offer 1:1 coaching of executives and other high-touch employees if you decide to offer the Surface to employees in your organization," he wrote.

Johnson concluded that the once these obstacles are overcome, employees should enjoy using their Surface tablets.

This view is supported by a Forrester poll, which found that one-third of 9,766 information workers polled preferred a Windows OS for their next tablet.

Microsoft is counting on workers being pleased with the Surface tablets, in order to gain some market share in the enterprise tablet market dominated by Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad.

For more:
- read Johnson's blog
- check out the PC Mag review

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