Automated Workstation Setup and Its Benefits for SMBs

Publication date: Aug 25, 2022

Last Published: Aug 25, 2022

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SMBs are spending more money on IT than ever before. In 2020, the global market for SMB IT spending was estimated at $610 billion. By 2027, it’s projected to reach $823.9 billion.

The significant jump in SMB IT spending has been caused in large part by the disruption of established work patterns, with more employees than ever before enjoying flexible work schedules and teleworking arrangements.

Now that remote and hybrid work is commonplace, organizations need to efficiently deliver devices and support to employees both inside and outside the office. Automated Workstation Setup solutions like Windows Autopilot make this easily possible by simplifying the way devices get deployed, reset, and repurposed.

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What Is Automated Workstation Setup?

The traditional device deployment process is slow and inefficient, and it typically goes something like this:

  • First, the IT department orders a new device for an employee—let’s say a laptop.
  • After some time, the laptop arrives packed in a sealed box.
  • Next, the IT department unpacks the laptop and turns it on to quickly check that it’s working as intended.
  • Once that’s done, the laptop is wiped clean and a custom image file is used to install a customized version of the Windows operating system containing organization-specific settings and applications.
  • Finally, the IT department gives the laptop to the employee, who signs in with their email address and password.

From start to finish, the entire traditional device deployment process can take several hours per device. That’s a lot of time the IT department could spend on other tasks. But as you already know, there’s a better way to deploy, reset, and repurpose new devices: Automated Workstation Setup.

Instead of manually preparing devices using custom image files, Automated Workstation Setup solutions like Windows Autopilot make it possible to transition a device from a factory state into a business-ready state in an automated, reproducible way, and they can also leverage the cloud for provisioning devices over the Internet.

When implemented correctly, Automated Workstation Setup can greatly reduce the time IT spends on deployment, the infrastructure required to maintain deployed devices, and the number of potential issues end-users may face.

Deploying Devices Using Windows Autopilot

All organizations that rely on Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) as their comprehensive identity and access management cloud solution of choice can effortlessly enable a zero-touch device deployment experience using Windows Autopilot, a collection of technologies used to set up and pre-configure devices.

This is what an automated deployment process enabled by Windows Autopilot can look like:

  • The IT department visits the website of one of the many manufacturers that ship devices using Windows Autopilot, such as Microsoft, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, and others.
  • Next, the IT employee making the order enters the Azure Tenant ID and Domain name info when completing the order.
  • Finally, the manufacturer uploads device information to Windows Autopilot by the time the device is shipped to the address specified on the order.

As you can see, it takes just three simple steps with Windows Autopilot for the IT department (internal or outsourced to an MSP like us at OSIbeyond) to get a new device ready and shipped anywhere in the world, and there’s no need to physically touch it at all. The employee the device is intended for can then simply pack it, press the power button, and log in.

Once logged in, the employee will be greeted by a business-ready operating system with required settings and policies already applied and applications installed or in the process of being installed. This is a win-win scenario for both the employee, who can start working without any delay, and the organization’s IT employees, who don’t have to waste time on routine tasks.

Post-deployment, Windows Autopilot can be used to fix critical issues that prevent employees from doing their work by remotely resetting devices to their stock configuration. Windows Autopilot Reset removes personal files, apps, and settings, but it maintains the device’s identity connection to the organization’s Azure AD, so it takes no time to set it up again.

Conclusion on Automated Work Stations

With organizations using and reusing more devices than ever before, the ability to effortlessly deploy, reset, and repurpose them in an automated, repeatable manner has a tremendous productivity-boosting potential, and solutions like Windows Autopilot let even small and medium-sized businesses take advantage of it.

Schedule a meeting with us at OSIbeyond for more information on automated work stations.

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