Windows OS has ruled the enterprise environment for a long time. As of June 2022, Windows OS still dominates the corporate world with a 76% global share. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have adopted Windows device management for their businesses have a minimum of 100 devices, if not more. Over the years, enterprises have realised that managing hundreds of devices, especially in dynamic corporate environments with ever-changing trends, needs to be accomplished strategically. This is why most businesses with a Windows enterprise environment opt for Windows MDM solutions to manage their devices and streamline their corporate policy compliance.
But, even so, most SMEs struggle with Windows device provisioning. Most IT admins still use the age-old imaging technique to enroll their Windows devices into management one by one. When technology is changing the corporate landscape, there must be ways to simplify the Windows enrollment process, and thankfully there are. One of the bulk enrollment methods for Windows is using provisioning packages (.ppkg).
What are Windows Provisioning Packages?
Provisioning Package (.ppkg) is a container of configuration settings that helps IT admins configure end-user devices without imaging. Windows Provisioning Packages can be provided through removable media or downloaded to the device. It helps IT admins speed up and simplify the process of bulk device configuration.
- Windows 10/11 devices
- Windows Configuration Designer
- USB drive
- MDM solution
How Does It Work?
- Generating .ppkg on factory fresh Windows devices: To enroll new Windows devices or freshly factory reset devices for an out-of-the-box experience, you first need to generate the Windows provisioning package using the Windows Configuration Designer. Further, you can customize the provisioning package with a wide array of runtime settings, export it and apply the package to your large number of Windows devices.
- Generating .ppkg on existing Windows devices: For Windows devices that are already being used by employees, the provisioning packages can be generated in a similar manner using the Windows Configuration Designer. You can share the generated .ppkg file with the users over email or shared folders. Users can download and install the provisioning package on their devices.
How do Windows Provisioning Packages Benefit SMEs?
With hybrid working emerging as the new normal, several businesses have adopted remote management and increased the use of mobile devices. It is vital to identify tools and techniques that can simplify the provisioning of bulk devices. SMEs that may or may not have a large IT team can benefit the most from Windows Provisioning Package as it helps them with quick deployments that range from tens to a few hundred computers.
Let’s understand the direct benefits of Windows provisioning packages for SMEs:
- Skip the Tedious Imaging Process
You can configure multiple Windows devices quickly without the need for time-consuming imaging protocols. The process of installing a new image is tedious and repetitive. Windows provisioning packages help you to provision a large number of devices using the same file.
- One-Time Setup
IT admins can save ample time on provisioning multiple devices using a single Windows provisioning package. You just need to set up the configurations and create a .ppkg file that can be used to provision multiple Windows devices.
- Does Not Need a Network Connection
You can share the .ppkg file via email which can be downloaded on the device and installed, or you can use the network share. However, Windows provisioning packages can also be installed using removable media such as an SD card or USB flash drive. You can complete the setup even if your Windows devices do not have an active network connection.
- Near OOB Experience
Windows provisioning packages prove extremely beneficial when enrolling Windows devices that are fresh out-of-the-box (OOB) or have been factory reset. Although not completely zero-touch, Windows .ppkgs with the combination of Windows Autopilot can help you deliver a near zero-touch experience for your employees.
Taking Windows Provisioning a Step Ahead with MDM
Windows Provisioning Packages make it convenient to enroll and provision a large number of devices even without a Mobile Device Management (MDM) infrastructure. But does that mean you should skip investing in a Windows MDM solution for your business? Certainly not.
Windows OS is a powerful platform packed with features that are designed to simplify usage, as well as management. You can combine the in-built capabilities of Windows devices with the powerful offerings of Windows MDM to unlock new levels of Windows device management. Windows MDM solutions allow IT admins to leverage all the diverse capabilities such as Windows patch management, PowerShell scripting, distributing apps from Windows Business Store, etc. from a single platform and push them on a large number of devices. Not just bulk device enrollment, but also easy corporate policy application, security reinforcement and compliance management.
Windows provisioning packages are definitely a blessing for SMEs that have a Windows enterprise environment. Enrolling a large number of devices within a matter of minutes can help free up a considerable amount of IT time and reduce the IT burden significantly. Pair your Windows devices with a powerful Windows MDM solution to leverage an unbeatable combination for your Windows device management.