You may have already seen that Ruben and the User Environment Management (UEM) Smackdown Team have released the latest version of the UEM Smackdown document. If you haven’t yet read it I suggest you check it out!
What is User Environment Management?
User Environment Management is one of the most common terms used when referring to managing the user element of the desktop; it is more than just ‘Profile Management’ (differences discussed here) as it also covers setting up and configuring the desktop, applying security policies, controlling application access, managing system resources and much more.
Managing the user as a separate component of the desktop is regarded by many as essential to any computing strategy, and was a key topic at Citrix Synergy last week where Ruben led a Geek Speak Live session on UEM, I wrote a summary about that session here.
Other names most commonly used are User Virtualization and User Workspace Management, however Ruben explains in the document they chose to use UEM as this is the most vendor agnostic term and shows no favourability to any vendor - a wise and impartial choice, and one I shall respect and adhere to in this blog.
What is the UEM Smackdown?
The UEM Smackdown in the most in-depth, comprehensive, independent analysis of all of the UEM solutions available today. In addition to the vendor technology and features available, it also covers (among many other useful topics):
- The shift to User Centric Computing
- Essential requirements of UEM
- History of UEM
- Required UEM Functionality – to manage the whole user.
The report then goes on to cover key points of solutions from the likes of AppSense, RES Software, Liquidware Labs, Immidio, Microsoft, Scense, Unidesk, Citrix etc.. I don’t dare to imagine the amount of work Ruben and the team had to do in their investigations and research, especially for the UEM Feature Comparison Matrix. Never before have I seen such a comprehensive overview of not only the different areas focus for managing the user, but the features available from each of the vendors too.
So what is the best UEM Solution?
Two objective thoughts I have about any comparison document, whether about AppSense or not, are;
- Is the information in the document correct for all parties reviewed? And is the ‘Overall Winner’ correct?
- How is the document then used by any vendor reviewed in the document
At the end of the previous version of the UEM Smackdown, it concluded with the following:
“Which User Environment Management solution is THE best?!; Good Question! But without a better understanding of the complete picture and the requirements in general it is impossible to give an accurate and profound answer. In essence it depends on various areas as mentioned in detail in paragraph 3.8 ‘Strategy’.”
I 100% agree with this, as at the end of the day it all comes down to your individual and unique requirements and then deciding on the correct solution that can meet and fulfil your requirements both today, and tomorrow. Relating this to my first thought, I feel this is addressed as the document is fair and doesn’t suggest and overall winner in this case; instead it provides you with nearly all of the information you need to make your choice on which technologies to evaluate against your requirements.
I must admit that I was a little shocked when version 1.0 of the document was first released. Before I had even finished reading it, and despite the paragraph that references the best UEM solution depends on your requirements, I was bombarded with social media and marketing from one of the other vendors covered in the document claiming to be “The Most Comprehensive UEM Provider” as confirmed by the independent UEM Smackdown report. I then saw an official Press Release falsely claiming “RES Software … today announced that it has achieved the highest rating among user environment management providers” – really? Highest rating complete UEM solution? I didn’t think that at all. So how did they come to that incorrect conclusion? .. I have a theory…
…. I believe they mistakenly interpreted a ‘FOCUS MATRIX’ – showing the areas of ‘FOCUS’ by each UEM vendor, not, who is the best, or in Context of their press release ‘Most Complete’ at each UEM management topic. This Focus Matrix merely shown that, at the time of publication, RES Software had a bigger interest in the ‘Application Delivery’ column and so with that gained most areas of focus across the board. Please see below for the Focus Matrix I am referring too, taken from page 30 of UEM Smackdown V1.0:
Ruben and the team have now addressed this incorrect use of the document and with version 1.1 of the UEM Smackdown they have highlighted in bold font the key words to show that particular table is Focus, and that the feature comparison is in a separate Chapter of the document:
“There are quite some vendors in the “User Environment Management space”. The diagram below gives an overview of the focus of the various User Environment Management (UEM) software vendors. This diagram has nothing to do with the (possible) discussion which vendor provides the most and the best functionality and features. A complete overview of the features and functionality is available in Chapter 6 – Feature Overview.”
Source: Page 37 of UEM Smackdown V1.1
Chapter 6 – Feature Overview: UEM Smackdown Technical Features Matrix – Who Really Scores What?
To bring the ‘features and functionality matrix’, the ‘Focus Matrix’ and the (false) RES Software Scoring claims together I have created a little summary of the actual scoring awarded for the technical capabilities. If we want to look at Highest Rating based on feature capabilities, let’s do some simple maths and total up the ticks awarded in the technical features matrix and see who scores the highest (focusing on only vendors who do more than just Profile Management), I have bolded and added relevant marketing colors for the vendor who scores highest on any row:
UEM Smackdown Version 1.0 – Total of points awarded in the ‘Feature Matrix’
When it comes down to pure technical capabilities, I simply do not see where their ‘Highest Rating’ claim came from, nor how it is justified, considering they scored 2nd place 5 out of the 8 areas, and overall they came second.
Anyway, enough of that, the numbers speak for themselves; let’s move on to Version 1.1.
UEM Version 1.1
I really do hope the false claims don’t happen again with Version 1.1 as I appreciate that many of the vendors have brought new solutions and features to market, and all are keen to claim leadership. So, for your benefit I have again added up the ticks for each of the solutions (focusing on more than just Profile Management) in each section, as can be seen below (with same bold and color format):
UEM Smackdown Version 1.1 – Total of points awarded in the ‘Feature Matrix’
So before anyone claims to be the most complete solution, do your homework, read the document properly and add up the ticks awarded for each capability and you will see where each vendor scores high, low and overall.
While being awarded the most ticks is important from a feature rich UEM solution perspective, please do also consider is the most granular solution the right choice for you? Look at your own unique requirements and pick the best solution.
- If you are a large organization or have a complex environment, then you may require an enterprise solution with a feature rich set of capabilities
- You may be an organization who only wants to address a specific piece of the user and so a more lightweight profile management solution may be more appealing
- You may even be thinking long term, and while today you may have fewer requirements, in the future you require more and so consider looking at a more complete solution to future proof your investment and strategy.
- Essentially, the choice is yours.
I want to thank Ruben, Aaron, Peter and the rest of the A-Team on dedicating so much time and resource into creating this document; not just the technical comparison but also the background reasoning for the importance of UEM. I look forward to seeing the document grow and evolve as vendor offerings improve and the UEM market becomes an even hotter space.
You can download the UEM Smackdown from Ruben’s blog on BrianMadden.com here