Device fleet management (or "How will I come to love using ODK X on Custom Rom Android device?")

Managing a fleet of android devices in the field with very limited power and internet connectivity can in itself be tricky.
Managing a fleet of android devices that are running a gazillion different apps, require updates, have different versions/flavours of android and each requiring its own google account even more so.

Any recommendations on how to do fleet management? I’m thinking about running some sort of lightweight custom ROM on the android devices (e.g. Lineage OS) to try and remove some of the clutter (but perhaps it is impossible to completely avoid the google account circus, due to the use of google maps?).

Any thoughts or recommendations?

I had briefly thought about exploring the use of NANDroid backups to speed up the initial setup of large numbers of devices, but didn’t end up making the time to do so.

I’ve done lots of transferring APK files via USB cable when internet is too slow. But that doesn’t solve device OS updates and such.

AppLock can be useful to keep enumerators from messing with the installed apps too much.

Would love to hear what you decide on!