Vodafone Egypt is a mobile telecommunications operator with a large workforce that manages product development, sales and marketing, and call center operations for customers in Egypt. With more than 1,000 line-of-business applications supporting its employees, any upgrade to workstations needs to be planned carefully. So when the firm decided to roll out the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system, it looked at ways to keep installation costs low and avoid downtime by managing potential compatibility issues. Working with Microsoft Partner OMS, Vodafone Egypt used the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to plan a seamless, automated batch installation company-wide. The firm completed the enterprise deployment to 6,500 workstations in just 40 days. Situation
Vodafone Egypt is the largest mobile phone company in Egypt, with 54.9 per cent of the market share. It employs more than 6,500 people and serves around 31.8 million customers, also providing roaming technology in 188 countries. Its reputation for call center excellence resulted in an expansion of operations in 2006, and it now manages the customer and technical support for Vodafone Australia, New Zealand, and United Kingdom (U.K.).
All employees—from product developers to front-line customer service agents—rely on modern technology to support their work. When the company’s desktop software came to the end of its life cycle, Vodafone Egypt decided to deploy the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system to help employees work more intuitively and productively. Fatmah El Naggar, Desktop Senior Team Leader, Vodafone Egypt, says: “Windows 7 Enterprise has several features, including Enterprise Search, from which we thought employees would benefit.” Vodafone Egypt wanted to enhance information sharing, and help the IT team cut running costs through proactive management and troubleshooting.
The size of its workforce and the number of line-of-business applications used by employees meant that Vodafone Egypt had to consider two significant pre-deployment requirements. The first requirement was to test the compatibility of more than 1,000 third-party and in-house applications prior to installation. El Naggar says: “Compatibility and integration testing was crucial because teams use disparate applications.” For example, the customer services teams use Siebel customer relationship management software that connects to a third-party billing system.
The second requirement was to develop an efficient method of deploying Windows 7 to desktops. With 6,500 employees, this would have taken the IT team months to complete manually. It needed to automate installation and wanted expert tools and advice to conduct the deployment quickly and cost-effectively.Solution
In May 2011, Vodafone Egypt worked alongside Microsoft Partner OMS—an information and communications technology provider based in Egypt—to plan the company’s deployment of Windows 7 Enterprise. OMS also offered the Vodafone Egypt IT team guidance and training throughout the implementation.
||We discovered that many Vodafone Egypt applications required development work, but with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack we resolved the issues and kept to our deployment schedule.
Prior to deployment, OMS and Vodafone Egypt tested the compatibility of more than 1,000 applications with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. This is a suite of technologies that resolves application compatibility issues with Windows 7 Enterprise, and provides a way for users to access third-party applications from the Windows taskbar. Ahmed Youssef, Project Manager, OMS, says: “We discovered that many Vodafone Egypt applications required development work, but with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack we resolved the issues and kept to our deployment schedule.”
With the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, Vodafone Egypt customized desktops to include settings required by different teams and users, and created technical rules for deployment to ensure smooth and timely migration. For example, customer service desktops were customized to include start menu links to the Siebel CRM system and Vodafone Egypt intranet. To avoid slowing down migration, only profiles using less than 5 gigabytes of RAM were migrated as part of a batch—larger profiles were programmed to stop automatically. The team remotely deployed desktops in batches of 30.
With the first phase of the deployment complete, employees at Vodafone Egypt can now take advantage of Windows 7 features—such as Enterprise Search—which support productivity. El Naggar says: “With Enterprise Search, data is displayed in much the same way that employees find information through a web search. For example, employees type key words into the search box and are presented with summaries of documents that they can scan quickly for relevance.” Benefits
By testing application compatibility and deploying Windows 7 Enterprise in batches, the team at Vodafone Egypt managed its enterprise-wide deployment cost-effectively and on schedule. Ayman Ramadan, Windows 7 Project Manager, Vodafone Egypt, says: “Windows 7 has been revolutionary for us. There’s been significant progress from earlier operating systems. We couldn’t be more impressed.” The tools kept project costs low, reduced the time staff spent on the installation, and avoided migration downtime from compatibility issues. Employees can now search for information effectively, and the IT team is equipped to manage growth.
Enterprise Rollout Completed in 40 Days
Testing application compatibility was a crucial part of the deployment planning process. It helped the IT team finish the company-wide installation in just over a month, and ensured that user profiles were consistent within teams. Youssef says: “By deploying batches of desktops from one server, rather than onto individual machines, installation costs were kept low. The deployment would have taken an additional three months if the IT team had completed it manually.”
Fast, Efficient Compatibility Testing Minimizes Deployment Costs
||Windows 7 has been revolutionary for us. There’s been significant progress from earlier operating systems. We couldn’t be more impressed.
Windows 7 Project Manager
By using the Desktop Optimization Pack tools, the company significantly reduced deployment costs. Youssef says: “Vodafone Egypt cut deployment costs by around 80 per cent compared to a manual rollout.” The team also avoided transitional downtime by proactively planning for and managing potential installation issues. Youssef says: “In the long term, Vodafone Egypt can continue to test application compatibility before deploying to users, which cuts down the amount we spend on ongoing development and management costs.”
Intuitive Search Function Enhances Information Sharing
Employees can find documents and data held in a large number of disparate applications, which helps them work more efficiently. El Naggar says: “With Enterprise Search, Vodafone Egypt employees can reduce time spent searching for documents, preventing them from duplicating work that already exists on the network.” As part of the Windows 7 desktop solution, the IT team created Windows start menu links to commonly used applications, and also to specific team applications. For example, customer service employees have their own desktops, with links to product portfolios, the intranet, and the CRM application and billing clients.
Optimization and Deployment Tools Support Growth
Vodafone Egypt already manages call center operations for Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K., and its operations are expanding as its reputation for excellence grows. Ahmed says: “With desktop optimization and deployment tools, the IT team can deploy new desktops with links to line-of-business applications without worrying about compatibility or the need to plan large-scale deployments.” They can also complete security updates consistently. Windows 7
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