Closed Loop Lifecycle Planning (which is the body of my research and work) defines staging and integration as the preparation for client devices for deployment. While this may seem very basic, the manner in which the staging and integration can be delivered has dramatically changed in the past few years.
Despite this, for a variety of reasons and rationales, many businesses still deliver the staging and integration the same way as it was performed in the Y2K deployment. If your business is considering the W7 deployment, this posting will likely be of interest to you.
First the disclaimer. All of the content and commentary on this blog are mine and does not represent the opinions of my employer.
At the start of this posting, I would ask your thoughts and opinions on the staging and integration for the upcoming technology refresh cycle.
There are a few significant factors that might make the staging and integration for the W7 deployment a step change from previous refresh cycles. Among these changes are:
- Management tools
- Self installations
- Service delivery strategies
Now a short comment about each of these.
Management tools are very mature as you already know. As a result much of the work that was previously performed deskside or in a staging area can now be performed remotely as a part of the scripting. Regardless of whether the staffing level is the same or reduced as a result of the Great Recession, this technology refresh cycle likely represents a spike in IT activities. If you are like many businesses that deferred a technology refresh extending the useful life of desktops and laptops, the spike will be that much larger and significant. Leveraging management tools are a "must" for many businesses going forward.
Self installations perhaps represents an initial challenge to many businesses who remain skeptical that end users can handle the data migrations and backup/recovery aspects of technology refresh. Interestingly, it is the competency of the end users which enables the process. A business may consider BYOC, but remain hesitant on end users performing a migration. Self installations could easily include pulling the applications from a server or using management tools and user profiles as the key, in essense staging the device.
Virtualization of the application deck or leveraging remote desktops (as an example) could simplify the process for staging and integration. Actually eliminating certain processes could be very desirable.
Perhaps the larger driver is the service delivery strategy. Whether the OEM or partner stages and integrates a device, the trend is to do as much remotely as possible based upon trends. Having a service provider perform the staging and integration may prove to be scalable and cost effective.
In lifecycle there are no right or wrong answers, only conscious and unconscious decisions. Continuing to stage and integrate in house may be the approach your business elects to take and continue. However, since the last refresh cycle enough of the practices and surrounding tools have changed which suggests a least a revisiting to make sure that the approach taken in the previous cycle remains valid.