June 28th was an important date for everyone involved with the SCConfigMgr blog, the reason of course was it was our first user group event, the Modern Management Summit in Microsoft Reactor London. The event brought speakers from the US, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and the UK, delivering content themed around modern management of IT systems through technologies both in the EMS suite and onsite via Configuration Manager.

Having initially set up the event with a goal for 50 attendees we quickly sold out the full 120 seat capacity of the Microsoft Reactor space. Figures were closer to 90 on the day as we also had to compete with England playing in the world cup, so all things considered this was a great turn out for our first event.

Session 1 – Simplifying Windows Deployments with SCConfigMgr Community Tools

The day kicked off with Nickolaj and I delivering a session on their various tools developed for Configuration Manager. During the session we spoke about how to adapt our solutions for use within your own environment, extending support of the solution to suit your needs and helping you to leverage the additional automation steps to make your life a bit easier and impress the boss of course.

It was quite a surprise to see such a large show of hands in the audience when we asked who was already using our solutions, so we would like to say thank you and your feedback is always welcome to help us develop better solutions for you guys!. In fact we published updates for our scripts live at the event, providing an even more stable and fall safe solution for you.

Session 2  – Use the power of Microsoft Cloud in your ConfigMgr environment with Co-management

Sandy and Nickloaj were up next for a session about leveraging the power of the Microsoft Cloud in your on-premise environment. Co-management is something that not only provides you with a bridge to a full modern management solution in Intune, it also allows you to have a best of both worlds approach to management and allow you to be dynamic about how you handle groups of users and devices in your environment.

The session debunked some of the preconceptions about the forced path to using a single solution in Microsoft Intune that has been pushed around over the previous number of years. The set up process for the co-management solution was stepped through in detail, with pre-requisite and gotcha’s all explained.

Session 3/4 – Cloud is coming? – A tale of modern management Parts 1 & 2

The cloud is indeed coming and who better to deliver sessions on this than MVP Jan Ketil Skanke from CloudWay and SCConfigMr blogger Oliver Kieselbach from Glück & Kanja Consulting AG. These two guys do everything in the cloud so it provide the audience with great insights into how companies are going with a cloud first strategy and embracing Microsoft Cloud technologies as opposed to investing in on-premise infrastructure. 

Jan Ketil started the first part of this session looking at securing the identity of the user as a primary factor to protect your environment. Technologies such as conditional access, multi-factor authentication, Windows defender ATP and more were explored in detail and how to help mitigate against potential loss of data. Windows analytics reporting was demonstrated, providing you with as close to real time as possible reports, showing compliance settings across your environment as the back-end protection systems you have implemented within the suite layer to protect your end users.

Oliver ran through the second session focusing on how to simply the management of your end users and devices, through cloud based management. The key take away was that IT systems admins and decision makers should not try to compare the traditional on-premise infrastructure to the the cloud, but rather see what cloud management provides in terms of the end user experience and how you have to adapt your network design to manage users and devices in a modern way.

Session 5 – Modern Management of Windows – Intune & Autopilot

In the fifth session of the day Terence Beggs and I followed on with the modern management theme talking about how the out of box experience changes with the addition of autopilot within your environment. The entire process of extracting hardware ID’s, enrolling devices, deploying applications and profiles was run through while also debunking some of the misconceptions about the service. The key thing here is autopilot provides a greater experience for the end user while laying on the management functionality of Intune seamlessly, this proves to be thought provoking as to the requirement for traditional on-premise management solutions especially if you are dealing a greenfield site.

Session 6 – The myths of compliance and real-time reporting

In the final session of the day, an animated performance from Jordan Benzing was all about patching, compliance and the ability to provide reports at will for management. Jordan is passionate about patching and rightly so, it provides the filler for security holes in your environment and provides stability updates for known issues. The key take away for people who get push back from end users in respect to rebooting requirements is to get management buy-in.

Jordan also talked about how to ensure that faulty patches do no trickle down to all systems, through multiple user acceptance testing groups based on different maintenance windows. Using this process, the aim is to catch issues very early and help you keep end users happy and ultimately keep management buy-in to the update and patching process. PowerBI reporting was demonstrated in the closing stage of the session to show you how to make SQL your friend and design your own reporting tools that help you IT department colleagues and management understand what is happening in the IT environment.

Special Guest – David James

David James made a guest appearance directly from Microsoft HQ in Redmond at the end of the day to talk about the continuous improvement processes that have been implemented since the move to the CB model. A question and answer session concluded the call, and we at SCConfigMgr would like to say a massive thank you to David for making time available to do this with us and our attendees.

Thank You

Thank you to the events management at the Microsoft Reactor, who provided everything we could wish for on the day, recorded our sessions throughout and even arranged for Subway subs to be delivered for our attendees. A special mention goes out to Claire Smyth from Microsoft for helping us to arrange the event, and to our sponsors TrueSec and CloudWay.

Finally, thank you for taking time out of your schedules to come along and helping us to make this a great community event.

Slide Deck

Slides from each of the sessions can be downloaded here;

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Maurice Daly

Maurice has been working in the IT industry for the past 18 years and currently working in the role of Principal Consultant with TrueSec. With a focus on OS deployment through SCCM/MDT, group policies, active directory, virtualisation and office 365, Maurice has been a Windows Server MCSE since 2008 and was awarded Enterprise Mobility MVP in March 2017.

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