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What to Look for in PC Lifecycle Configuration Management

How to Make a Wise Purchasing Decision
Many companies today are seeking to increase internal productivity and maximize the value of their IT assets by developing comprehensive plans for improving the way they control and maintain their desktop and laptop PCs. But, the overall effectiveness of an enterprise computer management strategy is dependent upon the robustness of the technologies that enable and support it. Therefore, choosing the right PC lifecycle configuration management system is critical to success.

What should you look for when researching the various PC lifecycle configuration management vendors and evaluating their offerings?

Support for the Broadest Range of Computing Devices
Today’s end user computing environments are more complex than ever before. In addition to standard desktops and laptops, employees now utilize PDAs such as Blackberrys, Palm Pilots, and Windows Pocket PCs, as well as Internet-enabled cell phones to conduct business. And, while most of the PC lifecycle configuration management applications on the market will support the “basics”, only a few can truly extend their comprehensive control and administration to any end user computing device.

The support for handheld communication devices that is provided by some PC lifecycle configuration management solutions becomes particularly important in today’s mobile age, when remote and “on the go” workers (such as sales reps and field service technicians) require access to software applications and business content, even when they’re out of the office. As a result, it is increasingly critical for IT staff to ensure performance and security on mobile devices, as well as traditional desktops and laptops.

Self-Service Capabilities for End Users
While a PC lifecycle configuration management system can dramatically increase the efficiency of IT teams, there are some vendors who take those productivity enhancements one step further by offering end user self service functionality. With these PC lifecycle configuration management packages, IT departments can empower employees to download and install new software applications, patches or upgrades, or retrieve manuals and other electronic documentation from a centralized, easy to access Web site, without the need for IT intervention.

Automatic Audits
Oftentimes, end users – whether knowingly or unknowingly – break corporate PC policies. These violations can result in fines and penalties for companies, or create situations where the security and performance of enterprise computers is put into jeopardy. That’s why some of the world-class PC lifecycle configuration management offerings provide automated end-to-end audits of all PCs and their components. IT team members can schedule audits on specific dates and times, or at predetermined intervals, to check all PCs for unauthorized software, security systems, spyware and malware, and more.

Additionally, many PC lifecycle configuration management systems allow technical professionals to set rules, outlining what corrective action will be taken if a problem or issue is uncovered. For example, if an unlicensed software application is identified, the technical professional can specify that it is to be automatically uninstalled immediately upon detection. Or, if a corrupted file is found, it can be instantly moved into a “quarantine” folder for review and cleansing.