Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

L’Oréal is one of the leading beauty and cosmetics brands with an annual turnover of close to 30,000 million euros, making it the world’s leading brand in this sector. Among its digital transformation processes, the firm has one of its objectives in improving the IT experience for all its employees. As a result of that process, he chose Windows 11 Enterprise to improve those processes. And he did it in a record time of just four months. In this way, at this time L’Oréal, thanks to the Microsoft solution, can support the current flexible and hybrid work model that has intensified in the cosmetics company since the outbreak of the pandemic. As stated by Gustavo Peuriot, Global Endpoint Manager at L’Oréal, “choosing Windows 11 Enterprise was a natural decision. We’ve made it the foundation of everything we offer, using it to create seamless interoperability between the apps our users depend on every day, like Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365 Apps, OneDrive and, of course, Edge.”

Prepare for a successful deployment

With a complex and decentralized IT environment and disruptions caused by COVID-19, L’Oréal faced many challenges during its last two Windows updates. With those previous experiences, the company switched to a continuous deployment approach. Thus, instead of undertaking a large one-off project, L’Oréal is committed to making updates a daily activity in order to keep its software always up to date. “A few years ago, our complex environment made it difficult to keep up,” says Peuriot. “We redesigned our processes to be able to quickly deploy the latest version of Windows and applications, thus offering our employees the best experience with maximum security“. Previously, L’Oréal relied heavily on Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager for desktop management and managed PCs locally. This decentralized environment supported more than 500 hardware configurations, which were managed with more than 6,000 Active Directory policies. To simplify your environment, L’Oréal has developed global hardware standards in line with the Windows 11 Enterprise criteria definition. This reduced his configurations to about 70, which he now manages with just 10 policies. As L’Oréal tested hardware, the IT team worked with manufacturers to ensure the latest drivers were checked into Intune and pushed out as regular updates. This provided more security for employees when adopting a hybrid work model and connect to various devices, such as external monitors or docking stations, wherever you are. The company also included local IT teams in the hardware tests. “We didn’t always have access to all the hardware, so we involved the local teams in a way that they felt very comfortable testing with Windows 11 Enterprise,” says Peuriot. Evaluations of L’Oréal’s 2,800 applications in its factories, stores and offices, including R&D, followed a similar path. The team used Intune to create an inventory of apps and assess their needs. Around 85% were compatible without the need for post-hoc testing. The team then identified the app owners and sent app reviews to local affiliates where they were used. “The update readiness and compatibility reports in Intune showed that we had more than 90% of the necessary readiness and 100% of driver compatibility, which demonstrated to our management and our affiliates that we were ready to deploy“ says Peuriot. “Those reports gave us a lot of confidence to move quickly.”

Create a smart approach to deployment

When it came time to roll out Windows 11 Enterprise, L’Oréal used a donut approach to support an ongoing model. Each ring is a community of users with their own communication and feedback channels in Microsoft Teams. The former is made up primarily of IT users, who are responsible for initial deployment testing. The second ring is made up of owners of critical apps, who make sure they work properly, and the third ring is made up of owners of non-critical apps. The rest of the company constitutes the last ring. When someone reports a problem within one of these rings or groups, the deployment team uses Microsoft Intune to identify the devices that are affected. While the team resolves the problem, the deployment can continue with the next group. “We have developed our deployment process with global management and the involvement of our application development and employee experience teams,” says Peuriot. “Thanks to the split-ring approach and Intune, we deployed Windows 11 Enterprise around the world in record time. Our previous deployment took over a year. With Windows 11 Enterprise, we were done in just four months.”

An indicator of the success of the Windows 11 Enterprise deployment came from L’Oréal’s IT support organization

L’Oréal uses Power BI to create dashboards to monitor deployment progress. These provide real-time visibility into the status of each device for every update that is underway. “We use many different tools between upgrade readiness and compatibility reports in Intune and Power BI to provide a 360-degree view of the process,” says Peuriot.

Enable effective change management

One indicator of the success of the Windows 11 Enterprise deployment came from L’Oréal’s IT support organization. His team had prepared to carry it out, hoping that the calls demanding support would increase, but the opposite happened. L’Oréal noted a reduction in support cases as the rollout progressed.

Effort to unify hardware and devices contributed to reduced support calls, but L’Oréal also launched a change management program to train employees on what’s new in Windows 11 Enterprise. “We created an email and web communication campaign, which began well before the actual rollout, to let people know they were getting Windows 11 Enterprise and describe how it would improve their experience at work.” explains Peuriot. The rings approach also helped here because the first users to try it became ambassadors of the experience and spread a positive message about Windows 11 Enterprise among the rest.

The power of Windows 11 Enterprise

The absence of support calls during the rollout of the new tool indicated that L’Oréal employees were happy with the transition to Windows 11 Enterprise, and feedback confirmed this. Vinciane Guisse, HR Director – Global Beauty Tech at L’Oréal, explains that she brings Windows 11 Enterprise to her work. “Now I’m more agile,” she says. “I can use task view to quickly navigate between windows and take advantage of the way features are tied into Teams, like turning the microphone on and off from the taskbar.” L’Oréal has also modernized its physical desktop systems to facilitate multi-screen multitasking and allow employees to move easily from one location to another. “We provide a full set of functionality thanks to Windows 11 Enterprise, such as Snap, the new Start menu, the new search features, and of course seamless interoperability with Microsoft Edge,” explains Peuriot. “With the combination of modern equipment and the latest hardware drivers, our employees now have the flexibility to work efficiently from anywhere.”

The company has also ensured that all devices are now compatible with Windows Hello for Business, that has become the standard authentication method at L’Oréal. This has further enhanced the employee experience and people’s productivity, while also tightening security. The L’Oréal security team is very pleased with the level of protection offered by Windows 11 Enterprise by default. “Thanks to all the security components that Windows 11 Enterprise supports, such as TPM, UEFI, Secure Boot, Multi-Factor Authentication, BitLocker, and all Group Policy Administrative Templates, we are able to offer employees a highly secure environment where they can collaborate and work effectively from almost anywhere,” says Peuriot. With its new continuous deployment processes, L’Oréal expects to maintain a high level of safety and productivity by always having the latest version of Windows. “At L’Oréal we have a principle: security by design. So if there’s a new update to a product or a solution, our mission is to deploy it at scale,” says Pires. “With our strategy of moving to Intune to manage all devices – be they PCs, tablets, smartphones or Microsoft HoloLens – we can help ensure that all of our environments have the latest updates.”

By Alvaro Rivers

Award-winning student. Incurable social media fanatic. Music scholar. Beer maven. Writer.