For a long-time, the configuration and deployment of new devices has been a source of frustration for IT teams. Typically a manual process, blank devices are unboxed and individually configured with a pre-defined image. This requires a significant investment of both time and resource, especially when you consider the different profiles required for the various user types within a single organisation.
There’s also the added challenge of custom images which require additional time and resource to configure beyond what may be normally required. And while this process was seemingly efficient when users were typically based in the office with their devices readily accessible for IT teams. Now, with both users and IT teams working remotely, devices need to be configured remotely, and distributed to a disparate workforce pre-configured and ready to work out-of-the-box.
Smooth device rollout with Windows Autopilot
Microsoft has recognised the headache of device configuration and created Windows Autopilot to help alleviate the pain. Windows Autopilot is a collection of technologies powered by Microsoft Azure that helps organisations streamline the deployment and management of new Windows devices. This allows organisations to pre-configure new laptops and desktops before they are deployed, as a part of a near zero-touch approach.
Using the Azure portal, IT teams can enrol any new devices inside Azure Active Directory (AD). This creates a user profile that can then be assigned the required desktop image that includes everything the user needs to get up and running. The device is also enrolled with Microsoft Intune, which acts as the driver to install and update the apps included within the image. With this configuration delivered remotely, the new device can be sent directly to the user, removing the need for an additional stop-off with the IT team first.
Once the device arrives with the user, they simply unbox, connect to the internet, and sign-in to their assigned Azure AD profile. From here, Autopilot syncs with Intune to configure the device. This simplifies the configuration process for IT teams and removes unnecessary steps in the process to ensure a faster rollout.
This streamlined process for device configuration delivers a number of benefits for IT teams:
1. Easy deployment that supports flexible working
One of the great benefits of Windows Autopilot is that devices can be delivered to any location and set up on any network, all in a zero-touch way. This means that devices can now be shipped directly from the manufacturer or supplier to the end-user without the need for any physical involvement from IT. This is central to the successful delivery of remote working, as it helps to streamline and secure the deployment process for IT, while enhancing the operational experience for every user. Crucially, this also delivers a level of reassurance that devices are properly configured and can be continually monitored and secured. The initial enrolment within Intune helps reassure IT teams that devices remain secure and up to date, with security patches and updates delivered automatically, maintaining policies and security standards no matter the location of the employee and their device.
2. Reduce the IT admin burden for your teams
The laborious task of setting up and managing devices manually is time consuming, and can prevent IT teams from focusing on other value-adding areas. Before Autopilot, preparing a device from the point of order to full operation could take anywhere from several hours to a couple of weeks. With Autopilot, employees can receive their devices in as little as 2-3 days, with the average time to configure a device reduced from 25 minutes to seconds.
The set-up and enrolment of new users on existing devices is also streamlined through Windows Autopilot reset, which helps to remove personal files, apps and settings, while maintaining the original device image if required. This accelerated device roll-out not only saves IT team members time, but gets other users up and operational more quickly, allowing them to start adding business value sooner.
3. Streamlined device rollout liberates IT budget
It’s clear that Windows Autopilot will help IT teams cut the time needed to roll out new devices, but with this timesaving comes a significant cost saving too. By cutting the time needed for successful deployment, Autopilot can help businesses save an average of $137 per device – resources, time, and money that can potentially be committed to other areas of the IT estate.
Ready to streamline your device rollout?
If you’re interested in Windows Autopilot for your business and would like to know more about how it could help you streamline the rollout of new devices, get in touch with a member of the team.