The Public Power Corporation (PPC), the largest business in Greece, provides 93 percent of the country’s power. To reduce operating costs and improve user productivity, PPC is upgrading as many of its 4,200 client computers as are hardware-capable to the Windows 7 operating system. PPC expects to reduce IT costs and improve user productivity by speeding computer deployments, and to trim energy consumption with power management features.
The Greek government created the Public Power Corporation (PPC) in 1950 to implement a national electric energy policy and exploit domestic energy resources. Today, PPC provides 93 percent of the power capacity in Greece, generated by lignite, fuel oil, hydro-electric, and natural gas power plants and wind and solar energy parks. PPC is the largest business in Greece in terms of assets, with 98 power plants and 2008 revenues of €5.82 million (U.S.$8.6 million).
As Head of Office Systems in the PPC Information Technology department, Ioannis Symeonidis oversees 4,200 desktop and portable computers that are shared by 7,500 users. Until recently, all computers ran the Windows XP operating system and key business applications that included the Oracle E-Business Suite, customized Oracle forms applications, customer service software, e-mail messaging and portal software, and Web-based applications.
Business needs vary significantly among PPC departments, so the IT staff needed to create and maintain multiple software images and service many types of hardware. Deploying new computers and applications involved a great deal of manual work, which delayed deployments and impaired the company’s ability to make new employees productive and meet new business needs. The utility’s large computer fleet not only was expensive to maintain but gobbled loads of kilowatts.
Delays in deploying computers also impacted everyday user productivity, as did waiting for computers to start up and shut down, searching for information, and dealing with occasional downtime.
When Microsoft announced the Windows 7 operating system, PPC was interested. “We saw the deployment of Windows 7 as a great opportunity to revisit and update our desktop management procedures and reduce IT labor costs,” Symeonidis says. With the assistance of Microsoft Services, PPC deployed Windows 7 Enterprise to a test environment of 20 computers, and then to 200 more.
||“[With Windows 7] We expect to cut our desktop deployment time and costs by one-third and thus increase by 50 percent the number of PCs deployed each day.
Head of Office Systems, Information Technology,
Public Power Corporation
Most existing applications worked without adjustment, including several customized Oracle forms. “We were impressed with the excellent application compatibility of Windows 7,” Symeonidis says. “I was also surprised to find that Windows 7 performed well even on an older portable computer. Boot time is amazingly short, and all our peripherals work well with Windows 7. We did not need to update drivers for most applications; most were installed automatically.’’
The PPC Office Systems staff used the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) with image Light Touch Installation to create a single software image that is hardware independent and can be modified to meet diverse user needs. “It’s very easy to update this image,” Symeonidis says. “After installation and configuration, we can flexibly add or remove applications.” The IT staff has also found it easier to configure remote computers with Windows 7. It distributes the image to users on a DVD-ROM, and the operating system configures itself with minimal user intervention. When PPC deploys Windows 7 more broadly, the IT staff will consider using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, which provides automated deployment efficiencies.
PPC users, even those who were unfamiliar with computers, found Windows 7 to be very user friendly, which has reduced support calls. Improved usability, faster startup and shutdown, and improved search capabilities also improve user productivity. When users do call for help, the IT staff uses Windows 7 troubleshooting tools to resolve problems faster.
PPC is using Windows 7 energy-saving features to better control energy usage. “Windows has a rich set of power-saving features, including the ability to turn off the display and automatically put the system to sleep when the user is not interacting with the computer,” Symeonidis says.
By deploying Windows 7, PPC expects to reduce IT costs, save energy, and improve user productivity.
Reduced IT Costs
“With Windows 7, we will gain better, centralized control over all our computers so that we can better serve users while maintaining an up-to-date and secure environment,” Symeonidis says. “We expect to cut our desktop deployment time, and costs, by one-third and thus increase by 50 percent the number of PCs deployed each day.”
The IT staff also expects to lower support costs due to reduced help-desk calls and to spend less time responding to users who do call for support because the staff can diagnose and resolve incidents faster.
Lower Energy Costs
Thanks to the power management efficiencies of Windows 7, PPC will be able to reduce energy consumption. “We believe that Windows 7 will help us reduce overall power consumption through performance optimizations, idle-resource utilization, and device power management,” Symeonidis says. “Windows 7 has important features that help reduce wasteful power consumption, thus helping us be more environmentally conscious, which is important to us as a utility.”
Improved User Productivity
Faster computer deployments will also improve user productivity by enabling the IT staff to get new users up and running quickly and be more responsive to business needs. “Rapid deployment helps us to achieve economies of scale, especially when we upgrade computer hardware in bulk orders,” says Symeonidis. “We can get computers to users much sooner and resolve problems faster, which helps users get more done every day.”