We are excited to have a special Guest Blog this week from one our most valuable, long-time partners, LeRoy Dennison. LeRoy is a highly regarded Apple expert, having served various Mac-centric roles throughout his esteemed career. Read on to learn LeRoy’s review of Parallels Mac Management for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and let us know if you are experiencing an increase in Macs in your network and the steps you’re taking to keep them centrally managed.
More and more Macs are entering the workplace, and not just in marketing and graphics departments. They are in the hands of executives on down to newly hired recent college graduates who want to use a Mac at work, not a Windows box. This means IT shops that previously did not support Macs now have to support them, but in a lot of cases they don’t have the tools or the knowledge to effectively do so.
In my experience working with IT—especially in enterprise class corporations—many are already using a given tool to manage their Windows PCs, and now they must find a way to support Macs. What they really want is the ability to use that same tool to manage their Macs. The Director of IT at a corporation does not want to hear that there is a need to buy another client management tool to support the organization’s Macs. With most IT shops being Microsoft-centric, the tool that many already use to manage their Windows PCs is Microsoft’s own SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager). When the IT Director hears that there is a plug-in available that will allow for the management of Macs using SCCM, selling that will be a lot easier than trying to sell the idea of implementing a totally separate client management solution just to support the Macs.
With the Parallels Mac Management for Microsoft SCCM plug-in, IT can not only update the inventory to include all the Macs, but can manage configurations, push out software updates and patches, manage virtual machines on the Macs that still need to run Windows (to access an Active-X driven website or to run a custom Windows application), and even deploy images.
I am not going to tell you that SCCM is the best client management tool available, but I will tell you that most IT professionals are resistant to change; it’s human nature. I will also tell you that many IT shops use SCCM. If they are being “forced” to support Macs, allowing them to use the management tool that they are familiar with will result in this “forced management” being a lot less disruptive to the end users who just want things to work.
About LeRoy Dennison
LeRoy holds a BS degree in Information Science from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. He retired as an E-9 from the U. S. Coast Guard after 22 years of service. A good bit of his Coast Guard career was spent doing Instructional Systems Design—including job task analysis, training needs analysis, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating curricula—and running a school that conducted training on Meteorology and Computer Operations and Management. His service experience also included being a Total Quality Management Facilitator.
Post retirement, he worked for Computer Sciences Corporation as the head of the Macintosh system administrator team at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, then as the Senior Systems Engineer for MacCenter—the Apple Agent at that time—in Virginia, before starting to work directly for Apple in June of 2000.
As an Apple employee, LeRoy worked as a Senior Systems Engineer supporting K-12 education in the Tampa, Florida area while also serving as an Apple Certified Trainer teaching Training and Certification courses on-site to education customers throughout the southeast U.S. From the spring of 2004 until Jan 2010, LeRoy served as the Senior Manager, Technical Training for Apple Global Training where he was responsible for all technical aspects of assets produced by Apple Global Training as well as the IT Training and Certification curriculum.
In February of 2010, LeRoy left Apple to become the Partner and Solutions Manager, a technical business development manager, for Active Storage, Inc.
LeRoy started his consultancy in 2011, but shortly thereafter went to work for PC Mall Services. From October 2011 until March 2013, LeRoy was the Apple Consulting Manager for PC Mall Services. From April - December of 2013, he was the Director, Apple and Mobility Practice for PCM's Services Division where he was responsible for a team of consulting engineers that focused on Apple enterprise engagements and all aspects of secure mobility for internal projects as well as for PCM customers.