In part 5 of this blog series (WaaS Demystified – Part 5 – “Getting Current and Staying Current”), we presented Microsoft’s concept of deployment rings: Insider, Pilot and Broad Deployments. We also discussed how to mass deploy Task Sequences and/or Feature Updates as well. Finally, we’ve also seen how we are now locked into repeating this process indefinitely; let alone how gargantuan an upgrade project could be depending on the various network, business and logistic complexities as your environment grows in scale and device diversity.
Fortunately, for several years now, Microsoft has been trying to help IT Professionals keep their sanity in check by allowing them to monitor their Windows client upgrade all aspects of Windows as a Service.
Since the first version of Window 10, Microsoft included a process to collect telemetry data; also called Diagnostic Data. The idea was that Microsoft would collect a small amount of data from devices running windows and it would use it to analyse the Windows 10 ecosystem in terms of security and performance for the consumer space.
Upgrade Analytics was built to provide this data to IT professionals and only the Diagnostic Data of your organization would be available to its IT administrators. It contained detailed inventory of each device in terms of software and hardware as well as compatibility insights specific to the organization. It also had a workflow to drive deployments from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and stay current with Windows 10 feature updates.
By adding the Update Compliance and the Device Health solutions, Upgrade Analytics became Windows Analytics. Update Compliance helped monitor security updates and feature updates uptake over time. Device Health was about device and app reliability.
Desktop Analytics, with the introduction of a clearer deployment workflow and Artificial Intelligence, is a culmination of the analytics journey so far. This cloud service is what we’ll focus on in this blog and show how it maps with the Windows as a Service concept.
Desktop Analytics integrates with Configuration Manager. The service provides insight and intelligence allowing you to make more informed decisions about the update and upgrade readiness of your Windows clients. It combines data from the organisation with data aggregated from millions of devices connected to Microsoft cloud services.
Desktop Analytics with Configuration Manager can be used to:
- Create an inventory of apps running in your environment
- Assess app compatibility with the latest Windows 10 feature updates
- Identify compatibility issues, and receive mitigation suggestions based on cloud-enabled data insights
- Create pilot groups that represent the entire application and driver estate across a minimal set of devices
- Deploy Windows 10 to pilot and production-managed devices