EMS Partner Community: Meet the new Microsoft Intune
I’m excited about this month’s topic for the Enterprise Mobility and Security Partner Community. Microsoft Intune is a product many of our community members have been asking me to cover. Now is the perfect time, as there are changes coming to Microsoft Intune that will benefit you and create new business opportunities for you.
Microsoft Intune is the mobile device management pillar of Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). But it offers more than that, like mobile application management and conditional access. In upcoming posts, we’ll take a look at these capabilities and features.
Meet the new Microsoft Intune
The most visible change coming to Microsoft Intune is at the portal level. The legacy, Silverlight-based portal is moving to Microsoft Azure. More than just a re-skin of the old service, this move is a re-architecting of the platform. To the administrator, the familiar look and feel of Azure takes over. Best of all, you can now work in any browser.
For the administrator, the Azure portal simplifies using Intune. Common tasks and functions are grouped by logical workloads. The windows – or blades, as they are called in Azure – are organized with the same general layout. This simplifies the learning curve for someone new to Intune. A screenshot of the new portal layout is below. As this is in preview, there may be some changes over time.
This change also deepens the integration with Azure Active Directory. Azure AD is now the authentication layer for Intune administrative users, and Azure AD groups are now the basis for group management in Intune. No more manually creating a whole different set of users and groups. This leverages the already strong integration across EMS, Office 365, and other Azure Active Directory integrated services.
The new architecture of the platform is built on the Microsoft Graph. The Microsoft Graph is an API layer that exists as single interface where all the Microsoft services can be reached through a set of REST APIs. In a simplified view, it looks something like this:
What I love about this is that we built the new Intune functionality on our own APIs. This means that the product teams had to build some great APIs before building the portal. They didn’t build the portal and then bolt some APIs on at the end.
For partners, this is a game changer. For the very first time Intune has APIs (if you want to stop and applaud, now is the time)! You can now build your own IP and execute it against Intune without even opening a browser.
The Microsoft Graph API access also opens new reporting possibilities. Data feeds from Microsoft Graph can be directly included in Power BI and other reporting tools.
Words can’t express how excited I am about these changes and what they mean for partners. The Azure AD integration is going to simplify many things with user and group management. The Graph API creates a market for you to do scripted work on things like proof of concepts, deploying apps, building custom helpdesk apps, and anywhere else you want to get creative. It also creates a market for partners to design custom reporting dashboards for customers who want to monitor Intune data.
For partners, now is the time to start learning and exploring new business opportunities. The changes to Intune are in public preview. Newly created tenants should be on the new portal. Existing Intune tenants will be notified when they will be migrated to the preview tenants.
Community call on February 23
Sign up for the February 23 partner community call, where we’ll take a look at the new Microsoft Intune portal with some of our experts.