The global electronics and engineering firm Siemens relies on a comprehensive IT infrastructure and its own commitment to innovation to help it manufacture advanced products, design complex systems, and manage its worldwide operations. The Siemens Workplace Architecture Team (SWAT) continuously evaluates new ways to enhance the workplace IT environment for Siemens employees, and has helped the company develop and implement an IT strategy that relies on advanced, efficient, and reliable Internet browser technology. In early 2011, Siemens participated in a Microsoft Technology Adoption Program for the Windows Internet Explorer 9 Internet browser, testing it for compatibility with the company’s web applications and evaluating the Internet browser’s enhanced interface. Now Siemens plans to use Internet Explorer 9 to enhance the web experience for its employees and transform its workplace.
Siemens AG is an electronics and engineering giant based in Berlin and Munich, Germany. Siemens operates 15 business divisions in 190 countries, serving the industry, energy, and health care sectors. More than 400,000 Siemens employees work in 1,600 locations worldwide, and in 2010, the company earned €76 billion (U.S.$109.8 billion) in total revenue.
To help develop and manufacture advanced products, design and install complex systems, and manage its global operations, Siemens relies on a comprehensive communications and IT infrastructure and its own commitment to innovation. The Siemens Workplace Architecture Team (SWAT) almost continuously evaluates the latest technologies to develop design principles that help enhance the workplace IT environment for Siemens employees.
The company wants to support the use of consumer technologies in its enterprise IT environment—the consumerization of IT—so that employees can use the same tools they use in their personal lives to work more flexibly in multiple locations and circumstances. “We want to explore the entire scope of available IT resources from the user’s point of view,” says John Minnick, Director of the Global Siemens Workplace Architecture Team at Siemens. “For an increasing number of employees, that may include their personal PC, tablet computer, or mobile device.”
The Siemens Workplace Environment of the Future initiative aims to enable Siemens employees to work from where they need to and with the tools they want, while at the same time helping the company to maintain the integrity of its enterprise network. In addition, SWAT is helping to prepare the enterprise to adopt cloud technology, computing resources that are hosted in off-site data centers and delivered as services over the Internet. For example the team is actively engaged in a technology adoption program (TAP) for Microsoft Office 365, a hosted online messaging and collaboration service that includes Microsoft Office productivity programs along with Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Lync Online. “This effort prepares us to migrate from a pure on-premises environment to a cloud environment using both standard PCs and user-owned devices,” says Minnick.
This IT strategy relies on using advanced, efficient, and reliable Internet browser technology. The Workplace Environment of the Future project anticipates that 20 percent of the global Siemens workforce will interface with company IT resources entirely through a browser environment. Also, the Siemens IT Solutions and Services division provides IT infrastructure services for both employees and external customers that provide the impetus for Siemens to support an advanced browser and deliver an efficient web experience.
||I am impressed with the Internet Explorer 9 interface. Now our employees can focus on content instead of the mechanics of the browser.
IT Account Manager, Siemens Building Technologies, Siemens
“As we move strategically into cloud technology, transform our workplace, and enhance services for our customers, the Internet browser becomes one of our most essential business tools,” says Minnick.Solution
In early 2011, as it was finalizing the enterprisewide adoption of the Windows Internet Explorer 8 Internet browser, Siemens participated in a Microsoft TAP for Windows Internet Explorer 9. The focus of the TAP was to determine how well the thousands of web applications in use at Siemens will interoperate with Internet Explorer 9 and to evaluate the browser’s performance and enhanced interface.
Siemens worked with Microsoft Services to inventory the company’s applications, test them for compatibility, and remediate any issues they found. By testing a cross-section of its web applications with Internet Explorer 9, the Siemens Workplace Architecture Team understood how Internet Explorer 9 would benefit the entire Siemens organization.
Siemens and Microsoft Services tested a representative sample of almost 400 Siemens web applications in the Internet Explorer 9 environment and determined that almost all of the company’s existing applications would work with Internet Explorer 9. Siemens found a small handful of applications that would not work properly but resolved the issues easily by using the compatibility mode in Internet Explorer 9, without having to make major changes to the applications themselves. In addition, because Internet Explorer 9 shares application compatibility modes with Internet Explorer 8, applications that Siemens has remediated for Internet Explorer 8 will be ready to work with Internet Explorer 9.
“I was very impressed that of the almost 400 web applications we tested with Internet Explorer 9, everything worked,” says Minnick. “If we had a problem with an application, we could get the desired functionality in the compatibility mode without a lot of time or trouble.”
In March 2011, Siemens deployed Internet Explorer 9 to a pilot group of more than 2,100 employees participating in a pilot deployment for the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system. The Windows 7 pilot group is distributed globally throughout Siemens and the company expects to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise along with a mix of Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 2007 to all its users over the next one to two years.
“By deploying Windows 7, required by Internet Explorer 9, we can provide all our employees with the most advanced business tools available,” says Minnick.
Siemens employees in the Internet Explorer 9 pilot have already experienced enhancements in the Internet browser such as the combined search and address box, called One Box, and tear-off tabs that they use to view sites or pages side by side. Employees can use site pinning to open web applications directly from the Windows taskbar without having to open the browser. “I am impressed with the Internet Explorer 9 interface,” says Zane Hensley, IT Account Manager, Siemens Building Technologies at Siemens. “Now our employees can focus on content instead of the mechanics of the browser.”
Early feedback from the IT professionals at Siemens has been overwhelmingly positive about enhanced features that make Internet Explorer 9 easier to deploy, manage, and support. They are excited about built-in F12 developer tools that they can use to design, test, and debug web pages, and support for HTML5 that will help them standardize web development and minimize browser and application compatibility issues in the future.
Both Minnick and Hensley characterize the TAP as a success, and cite what they call the expertise, dedicated engagement, and eager assistance of Microsoft Services as major contributing factors. After evaluating the benefits of Internet Explorer 9, the Siemens Workplace Architecture Team decided to recommend that Siemens adopt the latest browser.
||We participate in 10 to 12 TAPs a year, and I have never seen a solution as ready to go as Internet Explorer 9.
Director, Global Siemens Workplace Architecture Team, Siemens
With Internet Explorer 9, Siemens can support its enterprise IT strategy, enhance the web experience for its employees, and transform its workplace environment. “We participate in 10 to 12 TAPs a year, and I have never seen a solution as ready to go as Internet Explorer 9,” says Minnick.
Support IT Strategy
Siemens can use Internet Explorer 9 to support an IT strategy that will rely more and more on efficient, reliable browser technology. Because the company’s existing web applications work seamlessly with Internet Explorer 9, the future upgrade from Internet Explorer 8 will be faster, easier, and less expensive. Based on the positive testing experiences during the TAP program, the Siemens Workplace Architecture Team expects that deployment of Internet Explorer 9 can be done in a few short months rather than the year or more it took the company to adopt Internet Explorer 8.
“It will be easier to roll out Internet Explorer 9,” says Daniel Silverman, Enterprise Consultant for Client Desktop Management at Siemens. “By using the same compatibility mode that we used with Internet Explorer 8, we will be able to avoid a lot of application remediation.” Improve IT Efficiency
By delivering more IT resources through the Internet, the company can reduce the complexity of its IT infrastructure and increase the efficiency of its IT staff. With support for HTML5, Siemens can use Internet Explorer 9 to develop and support internal and external applications built on the most advanced industry standard, which will simplify application development and management.
“Promoting an advanced development standard with HTML5 will probably do more to simplify web development and reduce management costs than anything else,” says Minnick. “It’s a bit too early to quantify precise cost savings, but we hope for a 20 percent improvement in development time and a further reduction in support calls to our help desk.”Enhance Web Experience
Siemens will use Internet Explorer 9 to deliver a faster and cleaner web experience to employees that will enhance efficiency throughout the organization. “It’s very intuitive to enter addresses and searches in the same window, and employees that have to access several web applications a day can use site pinning to save steps,” says Minnick. “When I tested Internet Explorer 9 against Firefox and Chrome, it was noticeably faster, and in an organization of 400,000 employees, it will save time.”
As Siemens develops its Workplace Environment of the Future, it can rely on Internet Explorer 9 to deliver cloud-based solutions such as Office 365 and support the consumerization of IT at Siemens. “By delivering more of our IT resources through Internet Explorer 9, we can let employees interface with whatever tool works best for them,” says Minnick, “whether it’s a Siemens PC in their office, their own tablet computer at home, or a mobile device on the road.”
Windows Internet Explorer 9
Taking full advantage of your PC’s hardware through Windows, you can enjoy graphically rich and immersive experiences that are as fast and responsive as native applications installed on your PC. With a new, streamlined user experience, you can focus on the websites you love with a clean look that integrates seamlessly with Windows 7. A robust set of built-in security, privacy, and reliability technologies help keep your browsing experience safer and virtually uninterrupted. Developers enjoy support for HTML5 and modern web standards to enable the same markup to work across web browsers and the Internet.
For more information about Windows Internet Explorer 9, go to:For More Information
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