Microsoft Windows Intune: Better Way to Manage PCs?

Microsoft just launched Windows Intune, a Web-based service to let IT manage chores including updates, service packs, inventory and security. Will Windows Intune, aimed at companies with 25 to 500 PCs, save money on management costs?

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The price point for Windows Intune is $11 per PC per month (Software Assurance customers will pay less than $11), which includes the Windows Intune service plus integrated anti-malware and Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade rights. Volume discounts will also be available for purchases of 250 licenses or greater.

In a white paper on Windows Intune ROI, titled "A First Look at How Windows Intune Can Lower Costs and Raise Productivity", IDC research VP Al Gillen concludes that Windows Intune could save organizations $700 per PC per year.

The report emphasizes that a surprising number of enterprise and mid-market organizations do not have PC management tools in place for security updates and tracking inventory.

A lax attitude in this area comes with consequences, writes Gillen, especially as a business grows and deploys new PCs with different operating systems and software versions and adds mobile devices.

With little or no PC management "users may experience hours of lost productivity due to missing updates or malware, and IT staff can be overwhelmed with reactive troubleshooting," Gillen writes.

The most commonly cited barrier to adopting PC management systems is limited IT manpower or budget. The obvious alternative is to use a cloud-based PC management service. The financial advantage of such a service, writes Gillen, is it can eliminate the costs of deploying and managing servers, and then companies will pay only for the number of PCs they wish to manage.

For the report, IDC did an assessment of Windows Intune beta users to investigate how much money Windows Intune could save an organization.

IDC's study found that ultimately Windows Intune can save a company $702 per PC per year, with a breakdown of: $521 on IT labor reduction, $63 on productivity savings, and $118 on cost recovery (not having to use other tools.)

Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Shane at

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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