In December 2015, Microsoft released the latest version of System Center Configuration Manager. The naming of the latest version may cause some confusion, as there is no version or year annotation in the tile (e.g., ConfigMgr 2007, ConfigMgr 2012)—this new release is just “Configuration Manager (Current Branch)” (aka ConfigMgr CB). This first release is also known as build 1511. Similar to Windows 10, Microsoft will be releasing ConfigMgr several times a year. The information in this post refers to version 1511 and later builds.
As you know, ConfigMgr is a mature and powerful systems management tool used by thousands of businesses (both small and large) around the world. This post will help make the case for you why you need to start that planning a move to 1511 (or later) as soon as possible. (Here’s a complete listing of what’s new in ConfigMgr 1511).
Upgrades to ConfigMgr will be Frequent, and Easier than Ever!
If you have a smart phone, you are running Windows 10, and probably already familiar with the new update scheme. Our technical world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. The last thing we all need is to have shiny new features in our devices without a management tool that embraces them. The days of updating ConfigMgr every 5 years (or so) are over. You (and your business) cannot afford to wait literally “years” to use that new feature. This new version of ConfigMgr provides in-console upgrades to your hierarchy with updates that will become available every 3-4 months! (Learn more about ConfigMgr CB and incremental updates.)
It’s time to enable your business for Windows 10. ConfigMgr 2012 provides limited support for Windows 10 and will keep your Windows 10 devices secure. In order to take advantage of automated servicing, provide support for in-place upgrades, as well as enable on premise mobile device management of Windows 10, ConfigMgr 1511 will be a requirement. On premise MDM leverages the built-in Microsoft Mobile Device Management Protocol in Windows 10.
ConfigMgr and Intune (Hybrid Config) Just Keep Getting Better and Better
The integration of ConfigMgr and Intune has come a long way in the last year. Microsoft’s mobile-first, cloud-first strategy requires an agile process to keep up with the evolving platforms of Windows, iOS and Android. Given point #1 above, you will find the ConfigMgr team will keep up with our evolving world at a pace that was unthinkable just a couple years ago. Look to see more and more feature parity, as well as synergies that make ConfigMgr + Intune an obvious choice for managing our connected world.
Software Center and Application Catalog Become One
Today, our users have two places to look for software (Software Center and the Application Catalog), and it’s not a good experience. Thanks to feedback, Microsoft heard us loud and clear. 1511 enables a unified software center that contains both machine- and user-targeted software (in my opinion, it still needs slight modifications, so keep sending your feedback). That’s the other great value about the frequent releases of ConfigMgr. You will see updates to features like the new software center much faster than you have in the past, and some of it will be based on uservoice. (Also, you can continue to use Software Center and Application Catalog as you do today, based on a client setting configuration).
Support for Office 365 Updates via Software Updates Process
Deploying updates to Office 365 in a managed environment has been a pain. Soon, you will be able use ConfigMgr to deploy Office 365 updates with the same familiar process you use to deploy Microsoft Updates. This will significantly simplify your O365 update process.
There you have it – my top five reasons why you should upgrade to ConfigMgr CB. There are many, many more, such as Preferred Management Points, cluster patching (coming soon), increased scalability, support for the Windows Business Store, and many more listed in “What’s new in System Center Configuration Manager” as well as hints of the future on the ever-living post for technical previews. As you begin your journey, be sure to check out Kenny’s recent post about 6 Things to Fix Before You Consider Upgrading to Windows 10 as well as Kent’s interview about Upgrading SCCM to the Latest Version.
What is your favorite new feature? What feature is still missing for you? Leave a note to discuss.