4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/22/2011
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STX OSV Global Shipbuilder Increases Productivity, Saves $900,000 with Operating System

STX OSV is a global shipbuilder that designs and builds specialized and offshore vessels. The company had used the Windows XP operating system since 2004, but employees needed an operating system upgrade to increase startup speed and improve performance. STX OSV wanted 64-bit support so its designers could better manage the creation of complex 3-D models and large-scale drawings. And it needed to help its employees be more productive through easy access across wireless networks and improved data encryption, especially on portable computers. The company deployed the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system to 1,000 workers. STX OSV has benefited from increased productivity, significant cost savings, improved power management, and a reduced IT workload. Cutting-edge technology helps ensure the company can remain competitive and attract talent to its workforce.

Situation
Headquartered in Ålesund, Norway, STX OSV is part of the Korean-based STX Business Group. STX OSV has nine shipbuilding facilities located in Norway, Romania, Brazil, and Vietnam. STX OSV designs and builds offshore and specialized vessels. This includes ice-going ships, ships used to lay fiber optic cable under the sea, and ships fueled with liquefied natural gas—a more environmentally friendly option than petroleum or diesel fuel. STX customers include vessel owners and operators in North America, Asia, Europe, India, and Russia.

The company has approximately 9,000 employees, roughly 2,000 of whom use computers; the majority of these workers use portable computers. STX OSV uses Microsoft technology at all of its business units—including 10 locations in Norway—that are all interconnected. All units have been using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and Microsoft Office 2003 productivity tools. The company has been using the Windows XP operating system since 2004.

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* The Windows 7 Enterprise operating system works almost flawlessly. Our employees can be more productive and bring forward vessel designs that help us get new customers and keep existing customers. *

Noralf Gamlem
Chief Information Officer, STX OSV

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Employees using both desktop and portable computers asked for an operating system upgrade because they wanted faster startup times and better overall performance. They also reported having difficulty waking up computers that were in sleep mode. Users of portable computers had problems with their machines freezing or restarting when they used the docking stations. There were also companywide issues with backing up data on portable computers. “We were using a third-party encryption tool that gave us headaches on several occasions,” says Noralf Gamlem, Chief Information Officer at STX OSV.

The company wanted a high performance operating system that started up quickly, reduced costs, and lightened the burden of support on the IT staff. It also needed to make it easier for users to find and connect to wireless networks from anywhere. Because STX OSV is interested in managing its infrastructure by the most environmentally sound means possible, it wanted to optimize power consumption. STX OSV was particularly interested having cutting-edge technology for supporting employees and attracting and keeping talent.

Additionally, STX OSV engineers needed more memory support so they could manage the creation of the large-scale drawings and 3-D models required to design sophisticated vessels. Building a ship can involve 20,000 drawings or more, and the work requires hardware that features at least 4 gigabytes (GBs) of RAM. “Our designers struggled with the memory capabilities of the 32-bit Windows XP operating system,” says Gamlem. “Their computers couldn’t handle the load even with hardware that had adequate memory built in.

“Since the time we deployed Windows XP six years ago, we have managed a variety of technology solutions because the IT infrastructure has changed as a result of acquisitions and mergers,” says Gamlem. “We’re standardizing the infrastructure now, starting with the operating systems for employees in Norway.”

Solution
Long before the Windows 7 operating system was launched, STX OSV received detailed information about the operating system from its Microsoft account managers. The company had a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that entitles it to upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise across the organization. In November 2009, it started planning for a companywide rollout, and STX OSV executives approved the implementation in January 2010. By April, it was running a pilot deployment of Windows 7 on 30 portable computers.

During the pilot, STX OSV realized that it had done too little testing on some specific software—in particular for programming programmable logic sequencers (PLSs) that are used in many systems on ships and which employ large electrical installations. PLSs typically require a connection with computers through serial ports and the controlling software is rarely compatible with Windows 7. The company is considering using Windows XP Mode, a Windows 7 Enterprise feature that organizations can use to run line-of-business software that require a computer running Windows XP.

In fact, most of the challenges with deploying Windows 7 were related to addressing compatibility issues with the company’s line-of-business software. The company used the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.6 to evaluate and mitigate application compatibility issues, and it also performed manual compatibility tests. Says Gamlem, “In cases where we have maintenance agreements—such as with AutoCAD design software from Autodesk—we have upgraded to the newest versions of that software, which run better with Windows 7.”

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* STX OSV needs the capability available with Windows 7 Enterprise to use high-performance processors and increased memory—especially in our Design and Innovation department—so that we can effectively compete in the global shipbuilding marketplace. *

Noralf Gamlem
Chief Information Officer, STX OSV

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Following the successful pilot during which employees quickly learned to use the new operating system, the company began a broad deployment of Windows 7 to half of its information workers. By the end of 2010, STX OSV will have deployed Windows 7 for 1,000 employees in its Norwegian offices in a range of departments, including Accounting, General Administration, IT, Production, and Design and Innovation. Users reported that their computers performed well and started quickly after idling. Designers were able to manage developing complex 3-D models with greater ease with the 64-bit operating system.

As part of its Windows 7 deployment, STX OSV implemented the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, which integrates with Windows 7 and increases the reliability of the IT infrastructure. It also deployed Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 to allow employees to safely use the Internet without worrying about malware and other threats. It also uses Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 as a virtualization solution and to support live migration. Additionally, the company used Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to deploy Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. “System Center Configuration Manager is our main tool for deploying the new operating system and the productivity software,” says Gamlem. “Our IT staff uses it to assess and update servers and clients across physical, distributed, and mobile environments.”

To address data protection on computers, STX OSV uses BitLocker, a Windows 7 feature that encrypts the entire drive on which Windows 7 and user data resides. The company is planning to take advantage of additional Windows 7 features such as AppLocker, which IT workers can use to manage which applications are allowed to run on a computer. The company also intends to use DirectAccess with its portable computers, so that employees can access corporate resources from the road without using a virtual private network (VPN). DirectAccess works with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and establishes bi-directional connectivity with a user’s enterprise network every time a portable computer connects to the Internet.

STX OSV had already deployed the Windows Internet Explorer 8 Internet browser before upgrading to Windows 7, and uses it as the preferred browser for business applications. It plans to employ Group Policy to manage browser use and establish security features.

Benefits
Since deploying Windows 7, STX OSV has greatly reduced costs and increased employee productivity, moved to a more environmentally sustainable IT infrastructure, tightened data security, and reduced the help-desk workload of its IT staff. Additionally, the company can use the new operating system strategically to increase its competitiveness in the worldwide shipbuilding industry. “The Windows 7 Enterprise operating system works almost flawlessly,” says Gamlem. “Our employees can be more productive and bring forward vessel designs that help us get new customers and keep existing customers.”

Decreased Costs
Because Windows 7 is easy-to-use, fast, and stable, STX OSV employees can operate their computers and perform their duties much more efficiently. Labor costs in Norway are generally high, so every minute the company saves provides a noticeable cost reduction. The company estimated annual cost savings based on the improved capabilities and performance of Windows 7: U.S.$500,000 from faster startup times, $125,000 from increased stability, $8,000 from improved power management, $250,000 from an improved user interface, and $17,000 from better management tools and deployment support. In total, STX OSV expects to save $900,000 annually with the implementation of Windows 7 and an advanced IT infrastructure.

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* With Windows 7 Enterprise, it’s easy to put your computer in standby or hibernation and then to quickly restart it and continue working. It’s one way to reduce power usage significantly. *

Noralf Gamlem
Chief Information Officer, STX OSV

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Improved Power Management
STX OSV is taking advantage of the improved power management capabilities of Windows 7 to make it simpler for employees to reduce their energy consumption. “Like every organization today, we’re focused on being as environmentally sustainable as possible,” says Gamlem. “With Windows 7 Enterprise, it’s easy to put your computer in standby or hibernation and then to quickly restart it and continue working. It’s one way to reduce power usage significantly.”

Reduced IT Workload
The IT staff at STX OSV also expects to lighten its workload because of the superior performance and stability of the Windows 7 operating system. “Not only does the operating system provide for improved management functions, but we’re also taking advantage of System Center Configuration Manager to manage deployment, applications, and maintenance,” says Gamlem. “When implementation is complete, we expect to see reduced maintenance costs, get fewer support calls, and be able to move our IT workers to higher-value projects.”

More Secure Data
Now that the company has installed BitLocker and BitLocker to Go, its IT workers no longer have to troubleshoot data protection. Says Gamlem, “Once BitLocker is turned on, any file that an employee saves to a drive is encrypted automatically.”

Enhanced Competitiveness
Because Windows 7 Enterprise supports 64-bit processors, which can handle larger amounts of information than 32-bit systems, STX OSV employees can work more efficiently and deliver excellent results in less time. “STX OSV needs the capability available with Windows 7 Enterprise to use high-performance processors and increased memory—especially in our Design and Innovation department—so that we can effectively compete in the global shipbuilding marketplace,” says Gamlem. “Our ability to design and innovate is really our key competitive advantage. Plus, we’re providing our workforce with the most modern and user-friendly tools, which help us attract and retain talent.”

Windows 7
Works the way you want: Windows 7 will help your organization use information technology to gain a competitive advantage in today’s new world of work. Your people will be able to be more productive anywhere. You will be able to support your mobile workforce with better access to shared data and collaboration tools. And your IT staff will have better tools and technologies for enhanced corporate IT security and data protection, and more efficient deployment and management.

For more information about Windows 7, go to:
www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about STX OSV products and services, call (47) 70 21 06 00 or visit the website at:
www.stxosv.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 9000 employees

Organization Profile

Headquartered in Ålesund, Norway, STX OSV is a major global shipbuilder of offshore and specialized vessels. The company has nine shipbuilding facilities around the world.


Business Situation

To reduce costs, keep its data safe, and remain competitive, STX OSV needed a faster and more reliable operating system with 64-bit support for creating large-scale drawings for shipbuilding.


Solution

The company updated its IT infrastructure and deployed Windows 7 Enterprise to 1,000 information workers. The BitLocker feature in Windows 7 encrypts data on computers.


Benefits

  • Decreased costs
  • Improved power management
  • Reduced IT workload
  • More secure data
  • Enhanced competitiveness


Software and Services
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2
  • AppLocker
  • Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption
  • DirectAccess

Vertical Industries
Manufacturing & Resources

Country/Region
Norway

Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Mobility
  • Business Productivity

IT Issue
  • Identity, Security and Access Management
  • Desktop, Device and Server Management
  • Personal Productivity

Languages
English

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