Windows AutoPilot: Self-Service Deployment for the Modern Workplace

By Brad Ellison| October 16, 2017

When Microsoft introduced Windows 10 a couple years ago, they took a huge step forward in modernizing the way IT interacts with Windows devices. Since then, Microsoft has continuously evolved their solutions with the goal of providing simpler approaches that leverage the cloud to increase productivity.

The rapid release of new self-service technology in Windows 10 is creating exciting opportunities to increase efficiencies in ways that will save time, money, and ultimately free up IT resources to focus on more value-added initiatives that drive the business forward. That being said, the rate at which new solutions are introduced is happening so incredibly fast, many organizations are struggling to keep up. A better solution may be out there, but you may not know it exists!

Self-Service Laptop and Desktop Deployments – It Does Exist!

One common area where we see many organizations falling behind is with desktop and laptop image and deployments. SCCM and MDT have traditionally been the go-to solution for desktop management and imaging. In the past, companies would build up staff expertise to be able to properly support these solutions. While this approach works adequately, it comes with the burden of having on premises hardware, licensing, staff expertise, and a regular cadence of management, maintenance, and troubleshooting. To this day, we still get customers asking for this type of deployment, but what if there was a better way…

Introducing Windows AutoPilot

In the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators update, Microsoft announced Windows AutoPilot – a suite of technologies that simplify the setup process for a new device. Microsoft’s blog announcing Autopilot describes it as follows:

With Windows AutoPilot, IT professionals can customize the out-of-the-box experience for Windows 10 PCs and enable end users to take a brand new Windows 10 device and – with just a few clicks – have a fully-configured device ready for business use. There are no images to deploy, no drivers to inject, and no infrastructure to manage. Most importantly, users can go through the process independently, without making any decisions and without needing to involve IT.

This latest update represents a significant change in the way devices are deployed and managed and, with this change, comes a number of benefits both from a process and economic perspective.

  • Provides consistent experience across organization in terms of desktop images and management
  • Provides better user experience when new devices are procured
  • Creates new opportunities to leverage existing investments in Office 365 and Azure to reduce on-premises hardware/software spend
  • Frees up significant hours each week for IT personnel to focus on more value-added initiatives

Another added bonus that comes with Windows AutoPilot is Device Health, which is a service that purportedly tracks issues that could affect the experience of end users on Windows 10 devices. Historically, IT has had a hard time monitoring the performance of desktops and user experiences. There wasn’t a solution to completely resolve this issue and the ones that came close were too expensive for most midsize businesses to realize their true value. Now, with Device Health built into the Windows Analytics feature of Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS), IT departments can easily gain valuable insights to issues related to user experience and productivity before they become a problem.

What Do I Need to Get Started with Windows AutoPilot?

For Windows Autopilot to work, you must be using Microsoft Azure AD services. If you are already in Office 365/Azure, you most likely already have this as part of your existing investment. Customers will also need to validate with OEM that they have support for AutoPilot. This is a part of due diligence that often gets overlooked as it’s a new requirement not seen in the past.

BDO Digital can help work with your OEM to determine support for AutoPilot and the many variables that must be considered. We work with our clients to create exact solutions which are securely-focused, user-focused, and adaptable to the changing business/tech requirements.

How are you currently managing the deployment of new devices? Do you think AutoPilot is a good fit for your business? Contact Us to learn more about your options and how to leverage the latest technology to alleviate, or completely eliminate your greatest IT pain points.

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