In the ever-evolving landscape of educational technology, universities face a constant challenge: How can we equip our faculties with the tools they need to efficiently manage their own digital environments, while maintaining robust security and ease of use? Recently, I embarked on an ambitious project to revolutionize Maastricht University’s workplace concept, aiming to meet these exact needs. Here’s a look at how I, along with the Digital Workplace Team (DWP), successfully designed and implemented a Modern Workplace concept, empowering our faculties with autonomous device management through Microsoft Intune.

The Vision: A Modern Workplace for All

The vision was clear from the outset. We aimed to create a flexible, secure, and efficient digital workplace environment that could be managed directly by each faculty. This meant moving away from a centralized IT management approach to a more distributed model, where control is delegated to those who use the devices and applications daily. This shift promised to not only streamline operations but also enhance user satisfaction and productivity.

The Strategy: Delegation of Control for Future Use

At the heart of our strategy was the delegation of control for future use. By empowering faculties (entities) to manage their devices and settings in the future, we could ensure a more responsive and adaptable IT environment. Initially, however, ICTS will offer this workplace concept as an evolution of the traditionally hybrid domain-joined Athena Desktop workplace concept. This approach allowed for a smooth transition while laying the groundwork for the adoption of Microsoft Intune as the central management tool.

Implementing Microsoft Intune

Microsoft Intune offers a comprehensive suite of tools for device management, application deployment, and security policy enforcement. ICTS was the first to adopt this new concept, and by the end of this year, the aim is to have the whole university operating under the new Intune Managed Workplace. Here’s how the Digital Workplace Team (DWP) is managing the implementation:

  1. Initial Rollout with ICTS: The first phase involved providing the ICTS entity with the new Modern Workplace concept. This allowed us to refine the implementation process and ensure all aspects of the system were functioning optimally before a wider rollout.
  2. University-Wide Rollout: The university-wide rollout of the workplace concept is scheduled to begin in the last two quarters of this year. Following the successful adoption by ICTS, the DWP team will gradually implement the new concept across the university. This rollout is designed to supersede the existing “Athena Desktop” concept, providing a more advanced, flexible, and user-friendly environment.
  3. Assessment and Planning: We started with a detailed assessment of each faculty’s specific needs. This included understanding their current workflows, security requirements, and device usage patterns.
  4. Infrastructure Setup: Next, we set up the necessary infrastructure within Microsoft Intune. This included configuring the cloud environment, defining security policies, and setting up device compliance rules.
  5. Training and Support for ICTS: Initially, the training and support were focused on ICTS. The DWP team conducted a series of workshops and provided comprehensive documentation to ensure that all ICTS users were comfortable with the new system. As we continue the rollout, faculties across the university will receive similar training and support to manage their environments effectively.
  6. Pilot Program: The pilot program was primarily focused on ICTS, which provided very insightful and successful results. Based on this success, the rest of the faculties will enter small pilots with key users. The feedback from these pilots is crucial in the development and refinement of the workplace concept.
  7. Full Deployment: The full deployment is set to be scheduled throughout the rest of this year. Devices across all faculties will be enrolled in Intune, and users will begin managing their own settings and applications.

The Impact: Autonomy and Efficiency

The transition to a modern workplace has been transformative. Faculties will have the autonomy to manage their devices and settings, leading to faster issue resolution and greater satisfaction. IT staff can focus on strategic initiatives rather than routine maintenance, improving overall efficiency.

Key benefits observed include:

  • Enhanced Security: With consistent enforcement of security policies across all devices, we have significantly reduced the risk of data breaches.
  • Increased Productivity: Faculties can quickly adapt their digital environments to meet their needs without waiting for centralized IT support.


I would like to thank the dedicated members of the Digital Workplace Team (DWP): Stefan Kroon, Menno Spelbos, Tim Sollet, and the rest of Team DWP, whose hard work and expertise made this project possible.

Looking Ahead: Continuous Improvement

The successful implementation of this Modern Workplace concept is just the beginning. As a team, Team DWP is committed to continuous improvement, regularly updating their policies and practices to keep pace with technological advancements and evolving user needs. The journey with Microsoft Intune has set a strong foundation for future innovations, ensuring Maastricht University remains at the forefront of digital transformation in education.



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