Making the Most of Your Investment with FileWave

Published Feb 25, 2020 8:53:36 AM in Tech News

Custom Fields and Smart Groups are key for maximizing FileWave’s positive impacts and driving IT efficiency.


IT Departments are lucky if they are given larger budgets or headcount for their team. Typically, teams are asked to do more with fewer resources. Investing in FileWave as your multi-platform endpoint management solution, however, can streamline workflows and maximize your team’s efficiency.

Today’s blog focuses on maximizing the return on your organizational investment in FileWave by applying our Smart Group and Custom Field functionalities to your workflow scheme.

FileWave Enables Efficiency in IT

Sure, you could run around to every Windows and Mac device in your environment, manually mount a share, and install that piece of software you need to distribute. And you could no doubt walk from office to office, collecting iPads as you go to setup email profiles for people. But you don’t do those things because you can do them centrally, from your chair with FileWave.

But those are the simple and obvious things you do with FileWave every day. What else can you do to improve efficiencies?

One workflow that can result in extra work is an over-reliance on manual device groups. While manual groups have their place and purpose, in many circumstances Smart Groups and Custom Fields make more sense to use and have distinct advantages.

Smart Groups Streamline Workflows

Take, for example, our fictional case of “Mary,” a FileWave admin. 

Mary manages FileWave for her organization centrally--she builds and tests all of the Filesets for distribution. When it comes to actual production installation of something like the fictitious “Super Excellent Widget App”, she built the distributable elements, but she leaves it to her distributed team to manage assigning those Filesets to individual machines. There are two basic ways Mary can manage this with her team of field techs:

  1. Mary could build a manual group called “Super Excellent Widget” and associate the Fileset to it. Then, when necessary, the field techs can create a clone of a machine that should have this app installed in that group, and update the model.
  2. Mary could build a Smart Group based on a true/false Custom Field called “Install Super Excellent Widget” and associate the Fileset to the Smart Group. Then, when necessary, the field tech can change the Custom Field value of a particular machine from false to true.

The Clear Benefits of Smart Groups

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Both of those things require the tech to complete a manual action, so why is the Smart Group ‘better’?”

There are two primary reasons the Smart Group method is more effective:

  1. The Smart Group method does not require a model update after making the custom field value change.
  2. Because no model update is required, it also means that the field techs may no longer need to have the rights to Update Model at all.

What impact does this have on Mary?

FileWave’s Real-World Benefits

Mary now has the following benefits:

  • Her team is still fully empowered to do what they need to do day-to-day to get their jobs done. 
  • She doesn’t have to suffer from 23 model updates per day as techs in different locations update the model for every little change. 
  • Mary can rest assured that the distributed team won’t accidentally remove associations of a business-critical app because they no longer have that right in the system.

If you don’t think “Mary” is real, check out this endorsement from Marjorie Kagoo, Technology Supervisor MDM & Security at Collierville Schools, TN:

“With school-based technology support and over 15,000 devices to manage, it is crucial for our school-based technology staff to be able to quickly troubleshoot and work on devices without keeping FileWave constantly busy with model updates. Custom Fields and Smart Groups have allowed us to make FileWave available to ALL of our technology staff. Before Custom Fields and Smart Groups, FileWave was constantly busy with model updates making it non-useable for others within the product. Custom Fields and Smart Groups helped us address where our techs were spending most of their time within FileWave, and those specific tasks can now be accomplished using Custom Fields and Smart Groups, without model updates.”

FileWave as a Structural Change Agent

Many organizations, though, aren’t at all like Mary and her team, and they can take even greater advantage of this philosophical change! Why? Because many organizations disliked the impact of frequent model updates, and the loss of centralized control that went with it, they never invited their field staff to participate in FileWave at all. And the impact of that was terrible. The central FileWave admin had to do everything, no matter how small!

Assign an app? The central admin needs to do it. Remove a restriction? The central admin needs to do it. Move a device to another building? The central admin needs to do it!

How can we address these with Smart Groups and Custom Fields? In exactly the same way as before: the central team controls all Filesets, structure, etc., but the remote team can have the ability to perform all of these actions through specially built Custom Fields tied to Smart Groups.

Think outside the box and check out the video below or additional content in the *FileWave Foundry on this topic to get some ideas! It is a little more work initially to set up these Smart Group automations, but you’ll appreciate them in the long run for the streamlined work they enable as well as the reduction in manual tasks throughout your team.

Join us for a free demonstration of our software to see how else we can streamline your endpoint management processes. 

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About the Author

Tony Keller is FileWave’s Customer Advocate and Director of Professional Services/Training, as well as being the voice of the FileWave Foundry. With over 30 years of field experience, Tony represents FileWave Customers’ interests internally and also works with FileWave customers daily to help them grow their efficiency through the application of our software. He is also our unofficial, and self-described, Custom Field King.

*Videos on the FileWave Foundry require a valid subscription. Click here to learn about the FileWave Foundry. If you would like a subscription, they are available at a reasonable price. Please contact your FileWave salesperson for more details.

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