Simple Can be Harder than Complex

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains” ~ Steve Jobs.

In this blog article, Don LeClair, Kaseya’s EVP for Product Management, expounded on the Product Design principles we follow here at Kaseya. In today’s post, I am going to discuss a specific design principle – Simplify Everything. I will explain how we used this guiding principle to design Kaseya’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution with the sole focus of driving ease-of-use and thus greater value to our customers.

Kaseya EMM – An Overview

Kaseya Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) is an integrated solution to secure mobile devices and data on the devices, whether company-owned or employee-owned. It is a unified solution that combines MDM (Mobile Device Management), MAM (Mobile Application Management) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) features. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can increase revenue by offering EMM as a service to their customers. Internal IT departments can implement robust and centralized mobile security controls while improving their employees’ productivity, thus enabling a mobile workforce.

Simplify….Simplify…Simplify ~ Thoreau

Building a complex product is easier than simplifying a complex product. The former is a result of focusing on what the company wants to build. The latter is a result of focusing on customer value. Very often, product designers miss this point. MDM, MAM, and BYOD Management solve distinct complex problems. When all three capabilities are combined in one product, the user should not be overwhelmed; otherwise the user will not find those features helpful. Here, I will highlight three specific areas of Kaseya’s EMM where “Simplify…Simplify…Simplify” was followed like a mantra.

Simplification of user onboarding

For an MSP, the faster they can onboard their end customers, the faster they can provide them with enterprise mobility services. This has a direct impact on the MSP’s revenue stream. For admins in internal IT departments, faster employee onboarding means better IT productivity and more bandwidth to focus on critical areas of IT management. In both cases, these services must only be provisioned to authorized employees. Also (as part of EMM), when admins provide secure mobile access to company resources, they should ensure a proper authentication mechanism is built around those resources. All this may sound complex.

We wanted to take away the complexity and let MSPs focus on growing their businesses by signing up more customers and by enabling internal IT organizations to focus on more important aspects of IT management. To achieve that, we implemented a three step wizard-driven process that allows admins to quickly onboard the approved employees of a company into the EMM solution. As soon as the employees are onboarded, each one of them receives a unique code to activate their devices for mobility management in the Kaseya EMM solution. This streamlined process accomplishes user-onboarding in a snap, with minimum IT intervention.

Simplification in applying policies

Anyone experienced in creating and applying policies for managing devices understands the complexity of the process. It has been a complex process in the desktop/laptop world. The addition of mobile devices to this mix has only added to this complexity. Further, the flavors of policies vary based on the type of the devices’ operating systems. We wanted to remove this complexity from the IT admin’s workflow. We wanted to reduce the browsing and clicking around by admins to create policies for mobile devices. Also, creating policies per device is not scalable and will hurt IT admin productivity. We have simplified that as well.

In Kaseya EMM, we have made policy management very simple and easy. We have grouped policy settings into profiles and packaged them into easily applicable policies. All these settings can be managed from one single page. For quick policy deployment, we have pre-configured a few device settings based on industry best practices. For scalability, we have designed these policies in such a way that they can be applied to groups of users directly. Once you apply these policies to user groups – the settings in the policies propagate all the way to all the devices of the users in corresponding groups. This streamlines policy management and its enforcement on mobile devices without any IT intervention.

Simplification in the user interface

Although EMM entails MDM, MAM and BYOD capabilities, IT admins are trying to achieve two core objectives: managing users’ devices and providing secure mobile access to a company’s internal resources. So combining EMM capabilities into a single solution should not add complexity around these core objectives. Typical functions of mobility management include onboarding new users, managing users, managing devices, and providing secure access to company’s internal resources. A good UI should provide an easy navigation to execute these functions efficiently.

We have simplified the UI in Kaseya EMM to achieve this. With the help of clearly marked tabs, IT admins can easily get to any of the distinct functional screens. In every functional screen, we have built contextual menus that help admins to easily perform tasks in screens.

Look at the “Policies” screen shown here as an example of UI simplification. Don’t be deceived by its simplicity.

This single screen entails all the core settings of MDM, MAM and BYOD management without overwhelming the user.

Kaseya Screenshot

We have delivered a simplified product, so that our customers can spend less time on the product and spend more time on growing their businesses and improving their IT management efficiency.

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