Standard Operating Environment

Standard Operating Environment

A Standard Operating Environment (SOE) is an IT industry term used to describe a standard implementation of an operating system and its associated software. Other common names used are :

  • MOE - Managed Operating Environment,
  • COE
  • MDE - Managed Desktop Environment,
  • DMS - Desktop Managed Services?,
  • OSP, or
  • SDE - Standard Desktop Environment.

It is typically implemented as a standard disk image that can be mass deployed to more than one computer in an organisation. It can include the base operating system, a custom configuration, standard applications used within an organisation, software updates and service packs. An SOE can apply to servers, desktops, laptops, thin clients, and mobile devices.

The major advantage of having an SOE in a business environment is the reduction in the cost and time to deploy, configure, maintain, support and manage computers. By standardising the hardware and software platforms used within an organisation, the IT department or service provider can deploy new computers and correct problems with existing computers quickly. A standardized, repeatable and automated solution creates a known, expected and supportable environment. A standardized solution ensures known outcomes are maintained, with automation providing the key to speed, repeatability and standardization.


There are many Windows deployment guides and tools available from Microsoft and other vendors. Many businesses endeavor to build their own SOE solutions using the Microsoft Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) solution accelerator or Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT). However, some do not have the capability to build all features in one single SOE and their processes often include documented manual configuration steps.


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