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Editor’s note – this is going to be part 1 in a multipart series walking through the details of Microsoft’s strategy on “User Centric Management (UCM)” to help provide you with details and expectationsExpect updates to this every week or so to put together the full User Centric Management story.

Hi – I think a bunch of you know me, or at least know OF me!  I’m Bill Anderson – one of the Lead Program Managers on the Configuration Manager team.  My group of PM’s, and the developers and testers that make up our feature teams, have been leading the efforts around User Centric Management in Configuration Manager v.Next as well as across the relevant technologies at Microsoft. 
So, we at Microsoft have been championing User Centric Management for some time now.  But I frequently get asked: “What really is User Centric Management?”  At its core, User Centric Management is the following:
UCM is the delivery of key resources for corporate end users anywhere on any device
OK – that’s the “what” of UCM.  It’s the “scope” so to speak.  This sets the bounds of what products, features, and services will be included in UCM.  Key resources for corporate end-users are really comprised of data/content, and the applications users need to manipulate that data to do their job.  The other bit of resources are the “experiential” elements that make it easier and more consistent for me to do my job.  “Hey – I have done some things with how I organize my work experience or how I use my applications that make it easier for me to do my job.”  Preserving those would make me more productive and more satisfied with my work experience.” That is really the triumvirate of resources for users to do their jobs.  If you look at the MS portfolio of technologies and products, this is an effort with a LOT of us working very closely together to make this a reality.  Its core Windows features in the delivery and security of resources – too numerous to mention!  And, when the resources also include applications, this includes solutions like Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Microsoft App-V.  Finally, this includes the System Center and Forefront products.  These are the teams that are working together, and these are the products that will be involved in making User Centric Management a reality.
So, that leads me to my next point. Many of the promises and capabilities that seem to be in User Centric Management have been around for 15 years – so what are you talking about that is so different today?  Simple – the world has changed a lot, and will dramatically change even more in this area, and so the real story of UCM is about how we solve the problems in this space in a dramatically different way.  Everyone sees indicators of this changing landscape every day.  You can point at the changing/emerging end-user, and how their skills and expectations make getting them services far different than our mainstream end-user.  And their influence and involvement in IT on a daily basis.  I just saw this article the other day that talks more about this –  You can point at the EXTREME mobility that your clientele has access to on a daily basis – and an expectation to work from anywhere, at any time. 
The “any time” bit is funny.  I heard a story the other day that “we’ve solved the problem of work/life balance – we’ve renamed it to work/life integration”.   So, users do expect to work from anytime, and anywhere, in small spurts at their convenience.  And, you can point at all the differing types of devices and technologies that enter into the fray for users to access corporate resources.  It used to be that variety was a PC, or a Mac.  Now – it’s phones, ruggedized devices, 7” screen devices, personal audio/video devices to listen to training on the subway home, USB keys to carry my resources around with me, Live Mesh with my data stored in the cloud, etc.  It’s exhausting, and for an IT Pro, it’s like “death by a thousand paper cuts”…  Put this altogether, and we can all agree it’s time for a dramatically different way of delivering resources to end-users.
So, I think the real crux of UCM is the “how”.  That to me is what’s new, exciting, and different. That’s what I think makes sense to spend a LOT of time on here as a starting point, and for us to collaborate with you in the upcoming months/years.  So, this ongoing blog series is going to address the different components of “how” a system needs to behave to really solve User Centric.  Here is a list of themes that we feel comprise the “how” of UCM:

·        The Resources – Data, Applications, and Personalization

·        The User at the Center

·        Managing Users and Resources vs Managing Machines

·        Intent, and Rules

·        Multidiscipline and Integrated

·        Redefining what an Application is

·        Resources and Relationships

·        What User Centric Management is NOT… 

So, what I’ll be doing on a weekly basis is addressing each one of these as a “chapter” so to speak.  And, if you have something else you want to add – send it to me!  What we’re doing is based on 3 years of research, and includes customer focused design sessions with over 100 customers.  But I’ve done this long enough to know there’s no perfect answer to any problem, so getting your perspective on this will really help to tailor what we’re doing with User Centric – to what you really need.  Thanks as always!
Bill Anderson
Lead Program Manager
System Center Configuration Manager