Windows as a service and Office 365 are designed to enable and support the digital transformation of the end user computing environments of our commercial customers as we evolve our software servicing and delivery. Both Windows 10 and Office 365 now rely on cloud services that enable newer methods to develop and support these products.
To drive this transformation and fully utilize these new products, your organization needs to adopt new approaches to the software lifecycle management and servicing processes. Historically, software updates and deployments were treated as large, stand-alone projects. In a modern software as a service environment, the key new requirement is the ability to service regular updates with agility to bring your end-users new features and functionality, and address quality and security needs. I refer to this modern approach as: moving from project to process.
I work with a broad spectrum of companies moving to a supported version of Windows 10 and Office 365. One large enterprise customer I recently worked with exemplifies the old, project-based approach. This customer was still deploying Windows 10, version 1511 (Build 10586), even as it was approaching end-of support last October. This was not because they had any known reasons or blockers preventing them from moving to Windows 10, version 1703 or 1709; in fact, they had not even begun their evaluation or planning. Rather, they relied on a traditional approach to project-based software deployments, whereby they formed a team, defined the project (deploy Windows 10, version 1511), and built a schedule and completion criteria. When a project completes, they would start a new project for the next update. (It’s worth noting that this project-based approach was how Microsoft designed and built software before Microsoft 365.)
This is a classic example of a project-based approach that can be greatly simplified with a modern servicing model. Instead of defining a project to deploy a specific instance of software, you instead need to think about designing and implementing an ongoing process to manage the new, continuous software servicing lifecycle.
By making the transition from the legacy project model to the more agile process model, you can:
- Create a scalable deployment, servicing and management model using deployment ring methodology.
- Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) because you no longer need to ramp up resources for big upgrade projects and can instead use data and diagnostics-augmented validation.
- Update security efficiently across your organization’s devices and network.
Windows 10 servicing framework
To simplify the servicing of Windows and Office together, we have created a shared servicing framework based on a foundation of data and diagnostics. This framework gives you the processes and tools you need to manage your environments with greater agility while reducing costs, and benefit from improved security and higher ecosystem quality.
Windows Analytics is a core component of that framework. It leverages diagnostics data to provide a detailed picture across the devices in your organization’s environment, end-to-end or with a holistic view. Through Upgrade Readiness, it provides insights and recommendations to help with quality and feature updates of Windows 10, while Update Compliance provides a view of Windows Update and Windows Defender Antivirus compliance for Windows 10 devices. Device Health provides proactive insights to help detect and remediate end-user impacting issues.
Ultimately, Windows Analytics can help you gain real-time visibility into health and status data and provide a greater awareness and understanding of what end users are doing so that services can be proactively improved.
In subsequent blogs, I will drill down into each of the phases: planning and preparing, targeted validation deployment, and broad deployment. I’ll also explain how to create your organization’s deployment decision event, and demonstrate more in-depth uses of Windows Analytics.
To learn more about Windows as a service, check out our new Windows as a service page on the Windows IT Pro Center. You can also discover the benefits of Windows Analytics by signing up for this free service.