Desktop operating system deployments are without doubt becoming easier to implement; but that does not mean they are cheaper to deliver. The process is moving from project led to business-as-usual with the introduction of Windows as a Service (WaaS).
With the launch of Windows 10 back in 2015, Microsoft made the move to a service model for its operating system (OS) deployment (Windows as a Service a.k.a WaaS).
Gone are the days where you have to wait 2-3 years for new features that were typically associated with the major release of a new OS. Microsoft have moved to a twice yearly feature update, which on the surface would seem a good thing, especially when Microsoft have built in compatibility with applications that run on older versions of Windows and have also provided the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), with which to build applications; However, what Microsoft failed to take into consideration was the cost associated with ensuring regulated industries meet compliance policies.
Certifying a global image or the applications that will be hosted on the global image, was an activity that took place every 2-3 years and aligned to the IT Infrastructure roadmap for desktop refreshes. Organisations subject to regulatory control now have a situation where this activity has become business as usual, what was once a technical activity that required a project team has moved to twice yearly testing, validation and recertification.
This has ultimately led to an increase in administrative overhead for the End User Computing (EUC) team within IT Infrastructure departments and in some cases necessitated the recruitment of specialist skillsets to manage the process.
There is an argument that Microsoft has provided an answer for this challenge in the form of Windows IoT, which is aimed at machines running specialist medical equipment or locked down manufacturing systems. While Windows IoT might be a partial solution, it is not an appropriate solution when your businesses internal supply chain is fully regulated, and the office user is subject to the same compliance measures.
Pharmaceutical and Financial organisations who are both subject to strict regulatory compliance in the form of GxP and SOx respectively, will have noticed an increase in the cost of deploying the twice-yearly updates for Windows 10.
Pharmaceuticals who have deployed a global image across all business units will be presented with a challenge that requires a robust process to mitigate the GxP issue below,
TGG has guided our clients through these challenges and provided added value to the internal IT teams, passing on the knowledge gained through the deployment process to ensure the organisation is setup for future success.