The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Business Value of Application Replacement

Who cares? That is the thought that went through my mind last night a few hours after I posted the last of my five part series on Dynamic Operating System Deployment and application replacement. Even if you don’t now, you SHOULD care. Let’s see if I can convince you…

Let me give one example of the difference that the concepts in that series made at a company. I had a client recently who was performing a company-wide Windows 7 rollout…migrating from Windows XP. This coincided with a PC replacement cycle, so this rollout was predominantly a “Computer Replace” scenario…so replacing the old XP box with a new Win7 box. After replacement, users obviously needed to be able to do their jobs on the new Win7 system…which meant that they needed some key applications that had previously been installed on their Windows XP system…but these apps had been installed on a case by case basis previously. The company has not implemented role-based application deployment at this time.

And THAT is where the problem arose. MANY of these applications are not in the core Windows 7 image for obvious reasons. (Visio, Project, Creative Suite, Oracle apps, numerous internal apps) For that matter, many of the apps that were installed in Windows XP were being replaced with a newer version in Windows 7 for application compatibility reasons. For this company it meant that when they performed the Windows 7 refresh on a location, they flew two employees to the refresh location to perform the upgrade. The PRIMARY reason that they needed to do this was so that the two employees could re-install applications on the user’s Windows 7 computer post-install on a case by case basis. This resulted in significant business problems including:

  • User downtime because necessary applications weren’t installed on their new Windows 7 system.
  • IT staff were pulled away from their day-to-day job for a week at a time to drive the migrations…mainly because of the need to install additional applications.
  • The Windows 7 migration for the company was taking SIGNIFICANTLY longer than desired because of these limitations (both app installs and a limited number of employees to travel to numerous locations).
  • Significant additional costs were associated with all of this (travel, time, delays, loss of user productivity)

Quite simply it was an unacceptable situation. Way too much wasted time and effort. That’s when they called us to see if we could help them streamline this process. I implemented the steps I outlined in posts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The client saw some very significant improvements from a business value perspective…including…

  • A VERY significant reduction in the number of special post-image application installations.
  • Automated re-installation of required applications without the need for IT staff intervention.
  • Significant reduction in user downtime as a result of the migration process.
  • Consistency from an end user perspective. (i.e. My computer used to have Program X and it still does.)
  • Smoother Windows 7 migrations.
  • The company expects that significantly less travel will be required to perform the Windows 7 migrations.
  • Cost savings…both travel related and time related.

So…should you care about making your operating system deployments dynamic and adding the application replacement functionality to the process? If cost and time savings mean anything to you, then yes you should. Don’t know about you, but I’ve got better things to do with my life than to babysit an OS deployment! :-)

April 12, 2012 - Posted by | ConfigMgr, MDT 2010

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