2-page Partner Case Study - Posted 3/23/2010
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Government Upgrades Desktops to Give Users New Desktop Environment, Reduce IT Work
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government, which serves the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia, maintains 35,000 desktop computers in offices and schools. It is upgrading these computers to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system so employees and students can work more efficiently and use up-to-date software programs. The ACT Government IT staff will see reduced management and support time and be able to better secure portable computers.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia, containing the national capital city of Canberra. It is also the nation’s smallest self-governing internal territory with 347,000 residents. The ACT Government employs approximately 23,000 people, including teaching and administrative staff for the Territory’s primary and secondary schools.
InTACT, the ACT Government’s shared IT service organization, supports a total of 35,000 client computers in offices and schools across the Territory. It falls to Dave LaMaitre, the Platform Systems Manager for InTACT, to manage these far-flung computers and keep users productive and happy. “It was a major challenge to get our entire desktop fleet up to an acceptable software standard,” LaMaitre says.
The ACT Government refreshes its computer hardware every four years, but refresh schedules vary across the Government, so it was impossible to do across-the-board software upgrades. The need to test thousands of applications and minimize user disruption also slowed software deployment. Consequently, it took the ACT Government about two years to upgrade all computers to the Windows XP operating system.
LaMaitre wanted to get all 35,000 computers on the latest operating system to make desktop management easier and to help users be more productive. “Because it takes a long time to upgrade our systems, there is always a concern about continued support for our software,” adds Tom McLuckie, Desktop Services Technical Manager for InTACT.
In 2010, InTACT plans to upgrade approximately 5,000 desktops to the Windows 7 operating system. “We’ve always had Windows 7 on our road map,” says Daniel Wurzer, Project Manager for Desktop Services in InTACT. “When Microsoft invited us to join the Windows 7 Technology Adoption Program [TAP] in mid-2009, we jumped at the opportunity.”
||With Windows 7, computers are more reliable and much faster, both of which improve productivity.
Platform Systems Manager, InTACT, Australian Capital Territory Government
LaMaitre adds, “A key reason we chose to participate in the Windows 7 TAP is to encourage a cultural change in the ACT Government. As we refresh our standard operating environment every three to four years, we want our users to be aware, prepared for, and accepting of the new environment.”
InTACT worked with Microsoft Services to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise to 500 computers using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010. In January 2010, InTACT began territory-wide deployment, using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, and plans to have Windows 7 deployed to 5,000 computers by June 2010 as it refreshes hardware. Through the TAP, InTACT tested 55 of its 3,500 applications and did not encounter any compatibility problems with Windows 7.
InTACT uses Windows 7 in conjunction with the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system Group Policy feature to streamline logon scripts and thereby improve the overall user experience. It also uses Group Policy controls to improve computer management and safety.
“We are using Windows 7 User Account Control to limit the applications that users download and their access to computer settings,” Wurzer says. “We’re also using the built-in troubleshooting tools to speed the resolution of support calls, and the BitLocker feature to keep data on portable computers more secure.”
End users are taking advantage of Windows 7 features such as Windows Search, Snap, and the Windows Taskbar to work more productively. With Snap, users can easily arrange two open windows side by side, which is useful for working on two applications at once. Many ACT Government employees have 20 or more applications open at once, and they can now rest their mouse over an application icon to preview an open document.
By upgrading to Windows 7 Enterprise, the ACT Government is helping its employees and the Territory’s students save time throughout the day. In addition, InTACT staff can deploy software and solve user problems faster and better safeguard computers.
Increased User Productivity
“With Windows 7, computers are more reliable and much faster, both of which improve productivity,” LaMaitre says. “For example, our customer-facing employees can locate information faster when ACT residents call, which makes us better public servants.”
Deploying the latest operating system also enables ACT Government employees and students to run the latest software. “Running current software enables our employees to be more productive,” Wurzer says.
Streamlined Computer Management
The IT staff is able to manage its client-computer fleet more efficiently using Windows 7. “If a user damages a PC, we can have him or her up and running in 30 minutes instead of two hours,” McLuckie says. “Keeping our fleet of desktop computers safe, stable, and manageable will save taxpayer dollars.”
InTACT estimates that it can reduce support incident time-to-resolution with Windows 7, which helps users and the IT staff be more productive. “We’re also saving about 20 minutes per operating-system rebuild, which adds up to about 500 hours annually and enables us to perform other, more productive tasks,” LaMaitre says. “This is also a time-saver for users, since they are not waiting around for their computer.”
For more information about Windows 7, go to: