Best Practices in Client Management

For some organizations, it may be in the hundreds, while for others it may be in the tens of thousands. But for anyone attempting to shorten the leash between IT and the gaggles of desktop PCs, notebooks, and all sorts of mobile devices spread across their enterprises, client management is the mother of all maintenance projects. Machines break, software crashes, viruses invade, users delete data and beleaguered IT shops are pulled in all directions to fix any and all problems.

It wasn’t that long ago that IT staffs would travel from machine to machine, reinstalling CDs or replacing hard drives, over and over again through the workday, and even night and weekend. To a large extent, vendors have come to the rescue with tools, solutions, and entire new architectural approaches to reduce some of this travel time. Most are point solutions that can handle single, specific systems management functions, such as patch management, software distribution or asset management, according to Fred Broussard, IDC analyst.

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But Broussard notes there’s too much of a good thing for many beleaguered IT managers. The challenge is in “integrating each new point product with other management tools, which can be a time-consuming and costly process.” Slowly but surely, he adds, there are integrated management suites emerging that can assure more centralized and streamlined control of end-user workstations.

It’s simply a question of where to start. From deploying highly controlled or locked-down client workstations, to rolling out thin clients or near-thin clients, to creating virtual containers that replicate system images across networks of PCs, organizations are tackling client management issues from a variety of angles.

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We've pulled together five case studies of organizations that have made a serious investment in getting their client management issues under control. We hope that describing these innovative approaches will give you some ideas about making your own client issues more, well, manageable.

(Go to first case study)

About the Author

Joe McKendrick is an independent consultant and author specializing in surveys, technology research and white papers. He's a contributing writer for