Understand the True Cost of a UEM Before Making the Switch

Understand the True Cost of a UEM Before Making the Switch

A high-caliber, enterprise-grade unified endpoint management (UEM) solution is more critical than ever in today’s remote, hybrid, and constantly fluctuating work landscape. If you’re in procurement or finance, you’re likely under a lot of pressure to choose the right one. You must drive operational efficiency through cost savings and overhead optimization.

For many organizations, Microsoft Intune (rebranded from Microsoft Endpoint Manager [MEM] and generally sold as part of an MS Enterprise License Agreement [ELA]) looks like a solid choice for endpoint management. It’s a cloud-based solution with clear name recognition. Another plus: Microsoft’s Intune plan pricing seems very approachable.

Other options have less name recognition than Microsoft but may be a better fit depending on an organization’s needs. For example, according to G2, Ivanti Neurons for UEM gets high ratings for quality of support and ease of use. Atera offers particular expertise for small businesses. NinjaOne is rated well for being “a good partner in doing business.”

The upshot: Organizations should not be making purchasing decisions based on brand name and pricing. Instead, companies should look beneath the surface before investing in technology, particularly in high-stakes scenarios with serious return on investment (ROI) potential.

What to Ask Before Investing in a UEM Solution

We cannot attempt to discuss the pros and cons of every major UEM solution available. With that in mind, here’s what I recommend asking when evaluating a UEM solution:

Some of those questions might sound overly technical to those in finance and procurement, but your answers can significantly affect your true usability and costs.

Get the Full Picture of Your Total Cost of Ownership

As a rule, technology must suit the organization using it, and no technology solution is suitable for everyone. Total cost of ownership, for instance, is important, and it varies among solutions. Let’s look at Intune as an example.

For all its strengths and lightweight supports on operating systems such as Android and macOS, Intune is not recommended for some verticals and businesses that require robust support on third-party applications. It is not intended as a complete systems-management platform. Part of the reason it might look like you’re saving money by switching to Intune is because it’s built primarily for a narrow subset of needs — and those needs are more cost-effective for Microsoft to handle.

Suppose you have diverse endpoints and many third-party apps to manage and integrate. In that case, you’ll end up in a tough spot — either tolerating significant vulnerability or shelling out more for a comprehensive solution to pick up the slack. You’ll also likely need to acquire additional software to run on certain operating systems. Furthermore, Microsoft charges additional costs per year for its Remote Help/Remote View of mobile devices.

There are more gaps like this, but perhaps most critically for finance, Microsoft Intune’s pricing is based in part on the volume of data transmitted. These usage fees are challenging to predict and budget for and can add up. It becomes problematic when deciding between facilitating an unlimited flow of protected data or managing costs. Additionally, I’ve seen many enterprises having to buy more servers to manage Intune and hire additional administrators to manage those servers.

The Bottom Line for Your Bottom Line

In this example, Microsoft Intune is a fantastic option if:

If you have more complicated requirements, perform due diligence to identify more flexible options.

Regardless of where you end up, do not go without a UEM solution. Your company’s security depends on it.