What is our primary use case?
We primarily use it for deploying software and software updates, such as monthly Microsoft updates. We also deploy images and collect our computers' inventory (in regards to what software is being installed) along with their configuration.
I have been using the product for approximately 22 years, when it was still called SMS. My first product version was SMS 1.1.
How has it helped my organization?
We have two different categories of software:
- The software for everybody.
- The limited license software upon request.
This product provides us with time savings during installation. Because of SCCM, the limited license software can be installed within four hours of request.
What is most valuable?
- The inventory information
- Ability to track configurations
- Installing software
- Automating a lot of tasks which would have been done manually.
It saves a lot of money when you can install things automatically and they are installed the exact same way on every computer.
- It saves time because you don't have somebody sitting down and installing it.
- When they are all installed the exact same way, if there is a problem, the solution which works for one computer will work for all the computers. A lot of times you can use SCCM to fix the problem as long as you keep things consistent. This is the biggest cost saver which alleviates a lot of manual effort.
What needs improvement?
- The hardest thing about the software is getting people to sit down and learn all of the different features.
- There is a third-party software which makes Right-Click Tools where you can right click to make actions happen on groups of computers. This software needs better instructions and documentation. It also needs to be easier to customize.
- Our company would prefer not rebooting computers while people are using them. There seems to be no strategy behind it.
- I would like Microsoft to buy Adaptiva and combine it with SCCM, then keep all the same features. That would be cool.
- Marketing: Our management doesn't understand that there is a piece of software which helps them automate and manage the entire network, as far as operating systems on computers.
For how long have I used the solution?
More than five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability on SCCM is fine. However, we are still on Windows 7 with some computers on Windows 10, neither is better nor different with SCCM.
It seems as if SCCM will only work if the WMI Database and its health on a computer is working properly. If it breaks, then the SCCM client doesn't work. It's not a function of SCCM because the WMI Database is part of the Windows operating system. The SCCM client relies on the Windows OS, but something will break on its own (anywhere from one to five percent of the computers), and we are always chasing this down.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have only one primary site server for the entire agency in all our different sites across all the computers. Adaptiva does all our heavy lifting as far as moving data across the network. Thus, our scalability is fine.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their tech support is usually good. The times when the problem was with the software, the tech support was good. They were able to figure out what the problem was. Then, sometimes the problem was on my end, and it might have taken a little longer to figure out what the problem was because they have this mind set of, “There is a problem with the software,” without realizing that the problem was on my end. However, it goes both ways. Sometimes they assume the problem was me when the problem was the software. That has happened a few times, but now-a-days, I can get through quickly and say, “I know what this is. I need to talk to a higher level person.”
There are a lot of resources on the internet, like mailing lists, forums, Facebook groups, etc. For any other product, there is very little community support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Before 1996, I wrote my own management program out of scripts.
How was the initial setup?
You need to have a database and have your server and drives configured in a certain way. You should know what your WAN links are, if you have WAN links, and the number of computers which will be used. In this sense, it is complex to set up because you need to know a lot of stuff going into it, and gathering that information can sometimes be difficult. If you are just talking about running the installer and typing in that information, that part of the process has always been easy.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
SCCM comes with its own version of SQL Server. If you use that SQL Server with SCCM and don't use it for another applications than you get an SQL Server for free. This option was available a few years ago, I assume it still is around.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Over the years, I have used BigFix and WinINSTALL. I have also used Unix and package managers, like Chocolatey.
What other advice do I have?
If an organization is more than 95% Windows, then SCCM is the best choice because Microsoft makes the best software to manage their own software.