This deployment of 720 laptops could have taken months. With Zero Touch, it took weeks.

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Streamlining Windows 10 deployment and management by leaving traditional imagining behind

A global pharmaceutical company, nearing the end of a standard refresh cycle, had to deploy and manage 720 new Dell Latitudes for its R&D division.

The organization’s devices had different applications and policies. Some needed dozens of applications. Some needed applications moved from on-premises to the cloud. Some needed the company to manually configure certain applications.

Using traditional methods, that kind of project would take months – if the company’s IT department worked around the clock exclusively on this deployment.

But the pharmaceutical company saw an opportunity to streamline the deployment process and create more efficiencies. More importantly, it had the confidence to break with tradition and try a new method – one that’s still new to a lot of organizations but will be seen as common sense and standard practice in just a few years.

It’s called Zero Touch, and here’s how it saved this pharma company money, conserved resources, and ensured its R&D team was able to deploy the laptops in a fraction of the time.

Provisioning is more compatible with Windows 10 than traditional imaging

During its last refresh five years ago, the pharmaceutical company had relied on traditional imaging. Many organizations still do. It’s how PCs have been deployed in the enterprise space for the past 25 years. But Group Policy Objects (GPO), the System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and domain-joined devices no longer hold up for Windows 10 devices.

The pharma company came to SHI looking for new efficiencies in deployment, and it was clear Zero Touch was the way to make it happen. The goal was for every user to take their new laptop out of the box, log in, connect to Wi-Fi, and have all of their specific end-user data pushed down to the device within minutes.

While some organizations might have been reluctant to change a methodology they know well, the pharmaceutical company had a firm grasp of its own infrastructure, was able to effectively communicate its needs, and was more than up for the challenge.

Streamlining the deployment process

The process involved a lot of discovery; it required a collaborative approach and maintaining an open dialogue. The SHI Zero Touch team and the pharmaceutical team worked together to see if the company could use the Windows stack (Enterprise Mobility Suite, including Azure Active Directory and Intune) it already owned to streamline deployment of Windows 10.

Throughout the 4-6 week engagement, SHI essentially translated the pharmaceutical company’s current policies and applications into Intune, and helped define the user profiles and what end users should get during their out-of-box experience.

Once the organization’s Intune environment was successfully tested, its team was ready to deploy any number of devices managed by Zero Touch, using Microsoft’s Windows Autopilot to accelerate the company’s PC deployment.

Ready to deploy any number of devices

The SHI Zero Touch team successfully stood up the pharmaceutical company’s Intune environment and bulk enrolled all 720 devices in Windows Autopilot through SHI’s configuration center.

With the configuration center having the capacity to enroll up to 100 devices per day, SHI took on the workload to upload all devices into its Azure tenant, which pre-registered the machines as corporate devices. When the end users logged in, they were met by a customized welcome screen to enter credentials. As long as they remembered their password, they were good to go.

The benefits of Zero Touch

Companies have deployed PCs by imaging for decades. Joining devices to the local domain is still seen by many as best practice and more secure. This is the way it’s been done for years.

But sometimes taking a new path pays off. The pharmaceutical company learned this firsthand.

The organization trusted SHI to guide it through the entire Zero Touch process and reaped the rewards. By eliminating traditional imaging, the company achieved a much faster deployment of its laptops, created a more streamlined approach for both IT and end users, and achieved a much higher return on investment.

The pharmaceutical company took a chance on a new approach. The results speak for themselves.