Acronym Acrobatics: Relating UEM to UEM

Dec 6, 2016 11:14:30 AM

An unfortunate side effect of maintaining a vibrant technology subculture is an over-reliance on acronyms to describe basic concepts and solutions. For instance, to be ITIL compliant a CTO may need to invoke the ARP of a TCP or UDP IPv6 WAN to determine the DNS entry of an SMTP server for a POS system to prevent GIGO and ensure WYSIWYG. Now, if you understood that statement, you are certainly among the lucky few “in the know” and probably use these terms on a regular basis. However, if you are unfamiliar with or had to look up any of those terms, you likely recognize the core problem. While acronyms are intended to simplify complex technical conversations, they actually impede successful communication if any participants are unaware of their meaning. Sometimes acronyms are introduced to shorten long-winded technobabble; sometimes they are developed as marketing devices to create unique sounding products; and often they evolve simply because they make techno-elitists sound more knowledgeable.

Making matters worse, sometimes the same IT acronyms are used to refer to completely different subjects. For instance, EMM can stand for “enterprise mobility management,” “expanded memory manager,” “Ethernet management module,” “electronic mail management,” or any of more than roughly 120 other different meanings (according to AcronymFinder). Context, therefore, is essential when acronyms are employed. However, when common acronyms are used to describe related concepts, superficial context alone may be insufficient to convey which meaning is intended. Such is the case with the increasingly used acronym, “UEM,” which may be used to refer to either “unified endpoint management” or “user experience management”—two very important topics addressing today’s most critical endpoint and service management requirements. Here are brief descriptions of each:

  • Unified Endpoint Management – the management of both PC and mobile devices from a single centralized console that employs common processes for developing user profiles, reporting and alarming, asset identification and tracking, security assurance, and application delivery
  • User Experience Management – the optimization of IT-delivered business services in order to accelerate end-user productivity and improve users’ overall perception of the service value

Clearly the two concepts are linked as a unified endpoint management solution can directly facilitate user experience management. For instance, the average business professional today regularly employs at least two devices (such as a desktop, laptop, smartphone, and/or tablet) to complete job tasks. Their experiences with using these devices are greatly enhanced if they are able to access the same business resources (applications and data) in a consistent manner. Also, a consolidated management platform reduces mean time to resolution (MTTR) of IT-related problems by enabling a single interface for monitoring all endpoint activities and status. Resolving incidents and potential problems before they impact user productivity creates a more constructive environment for users.

Perhaps the most compelling link between the two management approaches is that consolidated reporting features included with unified endpoint management platforms provide easily accessible holistic data on how users are interacting with enterprise applications and other IT resources on all devices they employ. This information provides actionable intelligence on the performance, usage, and business impact of IT services, which can be used to improve service quality and availability. The intersection of unified endpoint management and user experience management marks the cutting-edge integration of service and systems management. So, perhaps, the commonality of the acronym is appropriate after all.

Steve Brasen

Written by Steve Brasen

Steve Brasen is a Research Director leading EMA’s practices covering endpoint management, identity management, and access management. Steve’s career at EMA follows 20 years of “in-the-trenches” enterprise experience in IT management, operational support, and engineering for high-technology, telecommunications, and financial institutions, including: MCI Worldcom, Bell Communications Research, UNIX International, Salomon Smith Barney, and Agilent Technologies.

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