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

 In Case Studies, Configuration, Hardware, Solutions

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.

Its 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 one to two 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 got its laptops in a fraction of the time.

Traditional imaging won’t work

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.

With traditional imaging, it can take hours to deploy one device. With SHI’s Zero Touch, it’s closer to 10-20 minutes.

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, and start working solely using their corporate credentials.

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 throughout a 4-6 week engagement to see if the company could use the Windows stack it already owned to streamline deployment of Windows 10.

That involved untangling a lot of complexity in how applications were deployed, what groups had restrictions and why, and fully understanding the company’s unique requirements. Application deployment in particular, proved challenging, including a few situations where apps had to be manually configured.

In another case, an application had admin prompts that would get in the way of a user simply logging in and getting to work. Each time, the SHI team worked with the pharmaceutical company’s IT team to find a solution.

With SHI’s assistance, the pharmaceutical company stood up its Intune environment and accelerated its PC deployment using Microsoft’s Windows Autopilot.

Slashing deployment time from months to weeks

The SHI Zero Touch team performed several iterations of the overall test project (which started with 30 devices). The team was in constant communication with the company and any changes it required.

When all was said and done, the SHI Zero Touch team could deploy a single device in its integration center in just 20 minutes, enabling the company to deploy all 720 laptops in weeks instead of months. And once those devices got into the hands of the end users, all they had to do was log in, and 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 and 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.

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