Intune helps to manage cloud environment

Xero now has over 4200 accountants and bookkeepers globally helping small business owners transition to the cloud using Xero. As more and more of these advisors start to plan their own journey, one brilliant cloud bundle from Microsoft – Windows Intune – has largely gone unnoticed, yet we’re finding it to be of huge benefit to our partners.

Windows Intune replaces some of the functions normally provided by your IT support folks. It makes sure you have instant access to a full inventory on hardware and software, ensures every machine has up to date anti-virus and even enables you to automatically install software remotely on each PC.

We came across Windows Intune as part of a series of pilots that we commenced at the beginning of this year working with systems integrator HubOne. One of the accounting practices that we engaged in this pilot was Hansens and in addition to an Office 365 migration with Exchange, Lync and Sharepoint online, Intune soon emerged as a highly valuable addition to the suite of tools to be considered.

As the pilot got underway, it was pretty clear that Hansens were excited about the capabilities of InTune. As Director Trevor Schoenmaekers explained, IT costs were high and managing systems as new staff came on board, or as other staff left the business, was complex and meant that they had a huge reliance on an outsourced managed service provider. Intune was a huge help here and provided a vastly more efficient platform to engage their IT service provider. Having made the switch to HubOne to manage their IT, Nick Beaugeard (MD of HubOne) acknowledged the role of Intune in this new cloud services model.

“Windows Intune sends us regular information on issues, problems and warnings, which we use to fix problems before they impact the users. It’s pretty invisible to the customer but really lets us reduce our support costs.” In addition, Intune comes with a licenced upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise, meaning Hansens and other customers can enjoy military grade disk encryption through Microsoft BitLocker and Branchcache, which makes the whole cloud work faster.

The benefits of Intune are compelling when you look at the cost savings that Hansens have achieved. According to Schoenmaekers, they have saved over $75,000 per year and reduced ongoing IT expenditure to a fraction of what it was before. Hansens is one of the new breed of “all in the cloud” accountants and has set up a division to help other accountants make the move. But Hansens are not alone. Successful implementations of InTune are underway within a number of Xero accounting partners including EFS Strategic, Mediq Financial, Bourke Group, BTOM Chartered Accountants and numerous others.

Windows Intune is provided by Microsoft and its partners and includes software inventory and distribution, remote control for support, anti-virus, patch management and a full copy of Windows Enterprise Edition. Find out more about how Microsoft InTune helped Trevor Schoenmaekers at Hansens in this video case study.

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