4-page Case Study
Posted: 9/24/2010
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Hankins & Anderson Engineering Firm Benefits from Agile Operating System and Notebook PCs

Launched in 1947, engineering consultancy firm Hankins & Anderson provides guidance in the areas of mechanical, electrical, life safety, structural, and civil engineering to federal, embassy, military, and government markets. The company is renowned for innovation and impeccable service, having received a 2010 American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia (ACEC Virginia) “Engineering Excellence Honor Award” and the “Best Multidiscipline A/E Service Firms to Work For” distinction from ZweigWhite. To uphold this reputation of excellence, the managers at Hankins & Anderson needed efficient, high-quality solutions that maximize productivity. When introduced to the Dell Latitude E6400 running on Windows 7 Professional, they found a combination of speed, performance, and enhanced security that aligned with the company’s vision.

At Hankins & Anderson, existing systems were notorious for lengthy start and resume times that disrupted workflow. Employees also noted that older systems drew a lot of energy, which often translated into employees having to stop working—even in the middle of customer meetings—to recharge their notebook computers.

For mobile users, connecting to the right network printer in disparate offices was tedious and frustrating. Because of this, many employees avoided bringing their notebooks to remote offices altogether, which then posed productivity issues when trying to locate pertinent files and folders.

* Running Windows 7 Professional on my Dell E6400 gives me the most stable, reliable machine I’ve used. It’s sturdy, reliable, and intuitive—and that’s everything I could ask for in a system. *

Chris Underwood
IT Manager, Hankins & Anderson

Creating training manuals was also laborious for users who had to cut, paste, and reformat screenshots into new documents one at a time. Employees also found that encrypting files was tedious and time consuming. When they experienced any IT issues, employees would call on the tech team for help, and then wait for technicians to run back and forth between systems before being able to resolve PC issues—and resume work.

When Hankins & Anderson managers discovered the Dell Latitude E6400 running the Windows 7 Professional operating system, they found a way to overcome these challenges.* “Running Windows 7 Professional on my Dell E6400 gives me the most stable, reliable machine I’ve used,” says Chris Underwood, IT Manager at Hankins & Anderson. “It’s sturdy, reliable, and intuitive—and that’s everything I could ask for in a system.”

By deploying the Windows 7 and Dell Latitude E6400 solution, Hankins & Anderson expects to gain the following benefits:

Enhancing Productivity and Mobile Performance
Third-party test groups found that the Dell Latitude E6400 running Windows 7 starts 10 percent faster and resumes 61 percent faster than previous systems. Hankins & Anderson employees agree—pointing out that this increased speed is in part due to the faster resume, shutdown, and standby times of Windows 7.

“With Windows 7 Professional, my Dell E6400 powers up at least a minute or two faster than previous systems,” Underwood states. “That adds up to hundreds of hours of savings across the organization annually.”

Windows 7 Power Management, which conserves energy by using features such as adaptive screen display brightness, helps employees get more life out of their notebooks. With the Dell Latitude E6400 long-lasting battery life, users get a more reliable mobile solution that works for up to 19 hours. For example, the Dell Control Point Software includes All Day Battery mode, which automatically powers down unused features for prolonged use.

“I’m a high-powered PC user, and I’ll work until my battery dies,” Underwood states. “With previous systems, that could be just a few hours. But with Windows 7 Professional and my Dell E6400, my battery lasts much longer.”

Boosting Efficiency in the Office and on the Go
Location Aware Printing, a feature included with Windows 7 Professional, automatically detects when an employee changes to a new network and connects to the appropriate network printer, saving hours over the course of the year. “Location Aware Printing is saving us time, of course, because our systems automatically recognize the right network printer,” says Underwood. “But more than that—it’s completely eliminating frustration.”

For businesses considering the switch to Windows 7 but are concerned that legacy applications may be incompatible, Windows XP Mode, a benefit of Windows 7 Professional, provides the solution. Hankins & Anderson uses this feature to run older programs while still taking advantage of the power and performance of Windows 7 Professional.

* I’m a high-powered PC user, and I’ll work until my battery dies. With previous systems, that could be just a few hours. But with Windows 7 Professional and my Dell E6400, my battery lasts much longer. *

Chris Underwood
IT Manager, Hankins & Anderson

“Once we found out about Windows XP Mode, we knew we could benefit from the power of Windows 7 Professional while still being able to use legacy programs,” Underwood says. “Every business can make the switch without worrying about compatibility.”

Fortifying Security, Minimizing Costs
Protecting sensitive client information is a top priority for Hankins & Anderson employees, but they found that previous file encryption systems were difficult—and time consuming—to use. With the Windows Encrypting File System, users can protect important information faster and easier than ever before.

”Data theft is always a concern, but the solutions out there can be complex and costly,” says Underwood. “With the Encrypting File System, it’s so easy to protect critical information.”

Discovering New Opportunities
The company has found an unexpected benefit through the use of Problem Steps Recorder, a feature of Windows 7 Professional that enables users to record their actions while using a system or performing a task and create a simple step-by-step account that they can then annotate. While originally designed to help IT technicians better understand and resolve technical issues, the Hankins & Anderson training team has discovered that they can create robust training manuals in less time.

”Problem Steps Recorder is the ultimate technical solution for us,” says Underwood. “It saves time in terms of helping employees solve PC issues, and our training team can create rich manuals in half the time.”

* As part of the solution deployment through the Windows 7 SMB Evidence Program, the customer received complimentary notebooks and technical support from Microsoft and Dell.

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:

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:

For more information about Dell products and services, call (800) 456-3355 or visit the website at:

For more information about Hankins & Anderson products and services, call (804) 285-4171 or visit the website at:

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 15 employees

Organization Profile

Launched in 1947, Hankins & Anderson is a full services engineering consulting firm with offices in Virginia and California.

Business Situation

Hankins & Anderson needed to improve productivity, enhance flexibility for mobile workers, and boost security while minimizing costs.


With Windows 7 Professional and the Dell Latitude E6400, Hankins & Anderson provides employees with more intuitive, efficient ways to complete tasks, work on the go, and protect sensitive information.


  • Enhances productivity and mobile performance
  • Boosts efficiency in the office and on the go
  • Fortifies security, minimizes costs
  • Discovers new opportunities

  • Dell Latitude E6400

Software and Services
Windows 7 Professional

Vertical Industries
Architecture, Engineering & Construction

United States

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Mobility

IT Issue
  • Identity, Security and Access Management
  • Personal Productivity


Dell Inc.