Server Lifecycle Management

The History of Catapult’s Windows 10 and Server Lifecycle Management (Launch’s origin, and MSFT’s Modern Management Offering)

This blog recounts the development journey of our Windows 10 & Server Lifecycle Management offering, Launch.

Over the last 2 years, Launch has changed, adapted and grown. Launch was started with a focus on providing automation or the User Lifecycle through processes to streamline user onboarding, offboarding and changes. This approach started to help our customers deal with vulnerabilities and risks associated with onboarding and offboarding employees. This first lifecycle proved the concept that Launch could help to increase the effectiveness of IT organizations—often saving our customers time savings and money. This opened the door to the creation of additional lifecycles. As often occurs, Microsoft held the key next step for us to move forward on Launch.

Back in May 2017, the Microsoft Windows team approached Catapult and a few other partners with a challenging question: How do we drive the concept of Windows-as-a-service (WAAS) and how can Microsoft’s partners (Catapult Systems) help in this space? We locked ourselves in a room with our thinking caps and an inordinate amount of Redbull, and set to task. The new solution expanded Launch from focusing only on User Lifecycles into a service which addressed a much broader lifecycle management suite of solutions. Directly where WAAS was concerned we noticed, like most things with IT processes, there were a high amount of “technically successful failures.” This meant we were seeing the technical aspects of implementation going well, but user adoption? Not so much.. Now we had a new challenge to solve. A challenge that ultimately gave us purpose and became our “why.” We brought this back to Microsoft, explained our plan to execute, and it was well received—probably more than I had originally thought. Note: Microsoft created its own solution in the very vision we had pitched to them for Launch.

Given the new news of the Microsoft Managed Desktop, how does Catapult’s solution differ and what do I think makes us unique? One of the primary differentiators is the Customer Success Manager (CSM). Launch includes a CSM for our customers so that we have constant lines of communication discussing monthly patching and feature update implementation. This CSM is also the person that keeps clients’ company cultures in mind, understanding how users best respond to changes and providing the adoption materials to aid them in doing so. As an example, it doesn’t make too much sense to turn on Azure Information Protection (AIP) if your users don’t understand how to classify their messages and set revocation where need be. The CSM would provide all the digital marketing and learning materials so we avoid that “technically successful failures” situation mentioned above.

Server Lifecycle Management

 

As with any desktop management service, we go through the monthly patch cycle and our CSM does good ITIL practices in alignment with Clients’ Organizational Change Management (OCM) process, reporting any issues the organization might experience with the patch cycle or feature adoption.

Other than being the good idea fairy, what is my role in this service? Well, as an architect and advocate, I visit our customers on at least a quarterly basis to ask and answer 3 interesting questions:

What’s old? What are some of the things we could do or take advantage of to increase the organization’s security posture or productivity? Whether it’s Bitlocker, Onedrive, or user-centric application deployment in Configuration Manager, where can we help customers get more value out of what’s already available to them, but that they just haven’t had time to get to?
Server Lifecycle Management
What’s new? This is talking about that bleeding edge. Does the client need LEDBAT? How do they feel organizationally about the timeline or nearby sharing features? What kind of information can we get out of management insights? How fast does CMPivot bring back our result and what should we be asking the Windows 10 systems?

 

What’s next? This is where the rubber hits the road… mapping! While talking about the previously released functions and features, as well as the new or future content, the Architect and CSM format this into an actionable roadmap plan to be executed over the next 2 quarters. During the initial session we will roadmap out up to 6 quarters, then prioritize again each session based on what’s new.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me!
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To learn more about Launch, check out our website.
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