The dust is finally settling on Midwest Management Summit (the real meaning of MMS) 2018 (well the first one, anyway – more later).
I’m fortunate to say this was my second MMS and it was just as good as the first. There’s a special atmosphere at MMS: very limited attendee numbers mean it never feels too big; the audience all have common experience and interests, and it is a real “bubble”— meaning there’s a focus with few distractions (unless you count the hundreds of stores in the Mall of America.)
Picking highlights is difficult, but I’ll name a few:
Co-management continues to be a hot topic. It was at MMS 2018 that the concepts of “hybrid” systems management using Configuration Manager and Intune started to be discussed in public with the major launch at Ignite later in the year. I’m not sure many have fully deployed co-management yet, but there are a lot of trials going on. Adding Intune into a CM installation brings a ton of new functionality and administration into systems management. Teams are rapidly getting up to speed but it’s going to take a while and, of course, the capabilities in co-management are growing at the same time.
Autopilot also continues to grow. Another technology that emerged in 2017 was also covered in some detail this year. Again, it’s early days of adoption and many are interested. My concern was that a lot of the demos look great, but just how will they survive the real world messy hardware configurations, poor network connectivity, human beings getting involved? Microsoft is doing a lot of good work here and it’s one to watch and it’s interesting to compare to 1E’s Windows Servicing Assistant (WSS) which starts from the complex scenarios such as break/fix rebuilds.
The 1E Panel had some great insights. With Brian Mason, Cameron Fuller, and Matthew Hudson joining 1E’s CEO, Sumir Karayi, we had millions of 1E managed endpoints represented. The discussion covered all the main complexities of enterprise systems management. Huge scale with Brian representing 400,000 endpoints and Matthew discussing how to keep devices in the middle of the ocean patched and up to date.
But there was so much more – from hacking task sequences to quizzing the CM development team, the quizzes, hackathons, … (and I won’t mention anything about Kim’s laptop 😉 – you had to be there)
The real strength, of course, is the people. Everyone I spoke to had interesting lessons to share and there were many great experts around to answer questions, including the biggest representation Microsoft had ever sent.
It was really encouraging was that the demand for MMS has been so strong that an extra conference is being planned this year – in Phoenix in December. I really hope I can blag my way there (and not just to get some sunshine in the winter!)