You might remember that in December Microsoft took a huge step with Intune. As part of a scheduled feature update, Microsoft also delivered Azure functionality to the Cloud-based management product, giving the company near real-time feature updating capability, much like Office 365 customers already experience. In the past, Intune was updated quarterly and had to be taken offline when new features were added.
In December, Microsoft's Brad Anderson celebrated the new capabilities, and suggested that Microsoft would be increasing the cadence, but didn't officially outline the plan. Today, in a blog post chatting up new features coming this month, Microsoft has now outlined the plan to utilize the new Azure updating capabilities. Per the post, Microsoft is planning to deliver new Intune features on a monthly basis, so customers can expect the product to evolve at breathtaking speed.
This is important for Microsoft to win the mobile management space but infinitely important to Anderson, since mobile and Cloud management is his responsibility. Its Anderson's responsibility to execute on one of Satya Nadella's more familiar quotes, Mobile First/Cloud First world, and so far, he's taken it seriously. I spent time in Dallas this week, attending and working an event called the System Center Universe event. Anderson delivered the opening keynote, streamed over the Cloud to Dallas from a location in Redmond. There was plenty to be said about the Cloud, but the majority of the keynote focused on the importance of mobility, almost in preparation for today's blog post announcement.
Here's the list of features coming this month for Microsoft Intune:
- Management of Office mobile apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) for Android devices, including ability to restrict actions such as copy, cut, and paste outside of the managed app ecosystem
- Management of the OneNote app for iOS devices. Management of Office mobile apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) on iOS devices made available in December 2014
- Ability to browse and install apps on Windows Phone 8.1 devices using Intune Company Portal website
- Deployment of WiFi profiles for Windows devices using XML import and Windows Phone devices using OMA-URI (deployment of WiFi profiles currently supported for iOS and Android devices)
- Support for Cisco AnyConnect per-app VPN configurations for iOS devices
- Ability to require encryption on Windows 8.1 (x86) devices
- Ability to set minimum classification of platform updates to be installed automatically on Windows 8.1 (x86) devices
Microsoft Intune continues to outpace the development of its older cousin, the on-premises bound System Center Configuration Manager. There's talk of bringing some type of better Intune-like updating capability to the old iron horse as part of a service pack in the fall, which will most likely coincide with an update to bring Windows 10 support to Configuration Manager. That is still being conceptualized but sources say it will come in the form of caching capability with a direct connection to Azure for bringing down and integrating new features. For now, though, bringing Intune capabilities to Configuration Manager is a manual and difficult process.