Convergent Computing (CCO), an IT consultancy, struggled to ensure a consistent experience across the many devices that workers used. By deploying Microsoft User Experience Virtualization to preserve user settings instead of recreating them,
CCO recovered about US$25,000 per month in lost billings and boosted productivity. Testing and deploying new technology was simpler and faster, and employees easily changed devices while keeping user settings intact.
Convergent Computing (CCO), an IT consultancy based in Walnut Creek, California, designs, implements, and supports on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid environments. Since 1986, CCO has helped hundreds of companies benefit from the latest technologies
while navigating changing IT landscapes.
“Five years ago, each employee used one device for work: either a desktop or, if traveling was required, a laptop. Today, everyone uses at least three. Businesses everywhere struggle with how to enable a consistent experience for employees across their devices,”
says Rand Morimoto, President at Convergent Computing.
CCO had used roaming user profiles, which allowed profiles to be stored on a server and downloaded to different devices, to address this issue. However, because entire profiles had to be downloaded, it was time-consuming for users and did not fit their needs.
Instead, CCO maintained employee profiles on each user device. About once a month, when CCO updated key applications, key consultants that doubled as internal IT staff had to be pulled from client engagements so that they could update other employees’ system
settings. With 220 devices for the firm’s 68 employees, the 15 minutes that were required to update these settings quickly added up to 55 hours. Not only did CCO lose about US$25,000 a month in consultant billings, but employees were less productive while
their settings were being reconfigured. At times, when consultants couldn’t take time away from client projects, CCO had to delay application updates.
An active early adopter of new technologies, CCO participated in the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program for the Windows 8 operating system. “We really liked the enhancements to DirectAccess, BranchCache, and the mobile features in Windows 8. We redeployed
newer prerelease versions as they became available, but we couldn’t roam user settings between different releases of Windows or between devices running Windows 8 and Windows 7. We also had employees that were evaluating different tablet PCs with Windows 8
but were burdened by having to reconfigure user settings,” says Morimoto.
In January 2012, Convergent Computing, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, heard about the Technology Adoption Program for Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. UE-V is an enterprise-scale
user state virtualization solution that delivers a user’s personal Windows experience across many devices. User settings are stored in a central file share that the UE-V agent accesses from client devices, enabling settings to roam among rich desktops and
||Getting started with UE-V was simple thanks to its standard templates and UE-V Generator. Best of all, UE-V worked great. Employees could easily change devices and keep their personal experiences.
| Rand Morimoto
President, Convergent Computing
infrastructure sessions, and installed and virtual applications. “We were eager to test UE-V because we thought it would vastly simplify roaming,” says Morimoto.
CCO installed UE-V in its lab and then spent three months working with early versions of the product. “We wanted to test the functionality in different use cases so that we’d be able to quickly solve our internal IT challenges and help clients benefit from
UE-V,” notes Morimoto.
The consultancy used out-of-the-box UE-V templates for Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows Internet Explorer 9. It built templates for other key applications that everyone uses such as Microsoft Dynamics GP and Adobe Acrobat using the UE-V Generator feature,
a wizard-based tool for creating setting location templates. “Getting started with UE-V was simple thanks to its standard templates and UE-V Generator. Best of all, UE-V worked great. Employees could easily change devices and keep their personal experiences,”
In June 2012, CCO began deploying UE-V in production. By September 2012, the firm had installed it on all 220 devices. CCO is also deploying UE-V at several client sites, including an e-commerce company whose employees need to roam between devices running
Windows 7 and Windows 8. UE-V will run on 3,500 devices, beginning with 1,100 tablet PCs with Windows 8 in December 2012. CCO is also deploying UE-V at a manufacturing company where employees switch between rich desktops and devices that connect to Windows
Server 2012 with Remote Desktop Services.
By using Microsoft User Experience Virtualization, Convergent Computing saves money and boosts productivity. Testing new operating systems and devices is easier and deployments are faster now that the user experience is consistent across devices.
Recovers About $25,000 Per Month in Lost Billings, Improves Productivity
CCO consultants no longer spend time recreating employee settings during application updates. “Because user settings didn’t have to be manually reconfigured when updating applications, we save about 55 consultant hours and $25,000 in previously lost
billings every month,” say Morimoto. “Plus, we don’t pull consultants away from client engagements, and CCO operations aren’t interrupted because we’re not taking devices from employees in order to configure their settings.”
Eases Testing of Operating Systems and Devices
Testing operating systems is simpler. By using UE-V, CCO consultants installed several prerelease versions of Windows 8 without rebuilding user settings. “It’s easier now for us to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies—and that’s critical because
clients rely on our expertise,” says Morimoto.
CCO clients found that it was easier to test tablet PCs from different vendors because user experience roamed between devices.
Accelerates Deployments of Applications and Devices
The company’s application update cycle is no longer tied to the consultants’ availability to help recreate user settings. Now, application updates can happen faster. Similarly, when CCO rolls out 1,100 tablet PCs with Windows 8 for its e-commerce client,
it won’t have to rebuild user settings. Existing settings from the client’s Windows 7-based devices will work on the new devices. CCO estimates that this will cut five weeks from the deployment schedule, enabling it to complete the project by December 2012.
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