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Drop-Shipping Windows Devices for VMware’s Virtual Customer Advisory Board: The User Experience

A couple of weeks ago, we concluded yet another successful EUC Customer Advisory Board (CAB) event featuring executive staff and thought leaders from 30+ influential companies. As expected, we had to pivot this year to a virtual set up instead of our original plans of being in the beautiful Napa Valley. The shift to virtual also forced us to get creative around the “experiential elements” at this annual event. And so, we chose to deliver our customers a Factory Provisioned Dell Windows 10 device powered by Workspace ONE (and of course some good wine to savor). As a recipient of one of these devices, I decided to record my unboxing experience in this blog.

Are you interested in seeing the factory provisioning experience from an admin’s perspective? Click here to check out the Tech Zone blog!

What we aimed to achieve…

Our key motivation for this drop ship experience was to ensure that attendees – no matter where they are located – get a fully configured Windows 10 laptop delivered at their doorsteps. Something that they could power ON and instantly have every resource they need to experience CAB virtually. It was also critical this experience remained quick, intuitive, and personalized. Afterall, we couldn’t expect executives at each of these companies to all be Jane and John Doe, and spending their precious time figuring out how to set up their devices to access the event. In our COO’s words, this had to be “Sesame Street Simple!” With this goal in mind, we chose to deliver the following capabilities:

• A state-of-the-art Dell 9510 laptop with Windows 10 Enterprise

• Modern, out-of-the-box onboarding via Factory Provisioning for Windows 10

• Self-service and ready access to required apps, support resources, virtual chatbot assistant, real-time notifications and more with Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub and Hub Services

• Certificate-based SSO for password-less access to apps and resources

• Productivity and collaboration apps such as Office 365, Zoom, Slack, Chrome, and more

• BitLocker Encryption to keep user data protected

• Cloud-powered modern management to keep OS and apps up to date via Workspace ONE

• Remote troubleshooting options with Workspace ONE Assist

• Zero-touch and remote PC recovery for break-fix situations

As you can see, these are likely the exact requirements IT teams will need to consider for their remote or anywhere workforce using Windows PCs.

What was delivered…

“Ready-to-work” is the moniker we often use for our Factory Provisioning experience. And I was amazed to see how seamless and fast my own onboarding experience was…

The box came with the laptop, USB-C charger, and a trifold brochure with 5 easy steps to get started. You read that right – “5 easy steps” – and I reemphasize this because, like manyof you, I have been on the receiving end of 25 page “quick start” onboarding guides.

The laptop itself was adequately charged right out of the box so I didn’t need to plug in the charger. Powered it ON, and after a minute or so of initial prep, I was prompted to connect to the Internet. I chose my home Wi-Fi network. A key thing to note here is that I didn’t need to be on the company network or VPN to complete my onboarding!

At about 3 minutes in, I was prompted for my domain username and password, which I had received via email a day before my laptop arrived. I was able to self-service reset the default password right that moment by following the instructions in the email; so my onboarding itself was faster as I could proceeded with my new password. A personalized welcome message was a nice touch. And of course, this is customizable by the admin.

A few more minutes into the Windows set up and at about 5 minutes in, I was asked to set up Hello for Business for multi-factor authentication (MFA). The Dell 9510 also includes support for both face and fingerprint recognition. It only took a few seconds to train the device and I also set up a PIN as a backup.

And that was it! Once Windows started, I was immediately greeted by Intelligent Hub first launch experience and had all my required apps – SaaS and Win32 – for a truly “ready-to-work” experience! The first launch experience is again customizable by the admin. For example, you could even choose to push down a company Terms of Use and Privacy Policies if needed.

As I worked my way into the various apps, it was exciting to see that I was already logged in. Certificate-based SSO meant no more username and password prompts for each app.

Chrome even had company managed bookmarks with links to useful resources. The Hub virtual assistant (although limited in tasks for this demo) was cool to preview as additional capabilities one could deliver to enhance user experience.

Closing thoughts…

I was glad to see that my experience and the feedback we received from customers post-event was extremely positive. Some people calling out that this is exactly what they need for ALL their employees. While it took me only 8.5 minutes from power ON to launching my first app; the provisioning set up to make this all possible was itself incredibly swift! As Josué documents in his blog, it took him an average 6 minutes to provision each device before it went inside the ready to ship box. This is a wonderful testament to the work our R&D team has put to bring a true dropship and ready-to-work Windows 10 experience to reality!

Make sure to check out my time-lapsed unboxing video below that documents the above experience.