After a string of business acquisitions, global energy company TAQA was faced with different computer infrastructures across its business entities. It engaged Microsoft Consulting Services to develop a standardized, repeatable process for deploying Microsoft Windows 7 among its computer machines. With the deployment, TAQA's end users experienced the same look and feel in all computers. This led to improved worker productivity and efficiency.
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) is a global energy company, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, with a footprint spanning four continents. After a string of business acquisitions across the globe, TAQA was confronted with different computer systems and infrastructures across its business entities.
As a result of legacy systems and its acquisitions, TAQA had a mix of over 2,100 computer machines of various models that had different operating systems, drivers, specifications and configurations. "Imagine all these companies bringing in their own infrastructures and systems," said Antoine Kamar, TAQA's project manager for integrating the company's IT framework. "When you have different systems among different business entities, you can face a lot of technical challenges, especially when your users are mobile and move frequently between TAQA offices around the globe," Antoine added.
"We saw a clear need for TAQA to have an integrated IT framework where everyone was using the same Microsoft Windows 7 operating system and had standardized user setups and access to the same set of software applications," explained Abubaker Sadiq, TAQA's Systems Administrator. To have an integrated IT framework, "we needed a standardized, repeatable process for deploying Microsoft Windows 7 in all of TAQA's computer machines across its business entities around the globe," said Abubaker.
A business case was developed for the proposed integrated IT framework and submitted before TAQA's investment review board, which includes managers from TAQA's business entities. The board "agreed to have a global initiative to develop a standardized IT infrastructure to support our business needs," said Antoine, and requested and assessed bids from Microsoft partners and Microsoft Consulting Services to deliver this.
Following the success of TAQA's two previous engagements with Microsoft Consulting Services, they were selected for the project. Microsoft Consulting Services Gulf, headquartered in Dubai, has a staff of 30 who cover the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait. The scope of engagement included the creation of two Microsoft Windows 7 base operating system images, setting up Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager to deploy applications including Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Microsoft Silverlight 4, and Microsoft Visio Viewer 2010, and deploying the image and applications initially to five PCs using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.
The engagement was for a period of 19 days, in which delivery of the scope of work within the agreed budget and time frame was essential. TAQA "did not want to deal with vendors who promise 19 days and end up doing the work in 40," said Jon Sabberton, Microsoft Consulting Services Gulf Lead Infrastructure Architect who worked on the project. "What convinced TAQA to use us," Jon explained, "was that we are Microsoft, and we know how to do these projects and have done these projects lots of times. Also, if something does really go wrong, we can escalate things to the Microsoft product team, if necessary."
Savings in Doing It Right From the Beginning
Microsoft Consulting Services completed the project as scheduled and within budget in 19 man days. "We did it in 19 man days because we know what we are doing," said Jon. "As a result, TAQA had a repeatable process of upgrading and deploying Microsoft Windows 7 in their environment and across their business entities around the globe. It worked really well and TAQA saved a lot of time and energy," he continued. Niveen Mustafa, Microsoft Consulting Services Engagement Manager, added, "Customers are seeing the value of us doing it right from the beginning. They save their money in the process and avoid any rework and lost time."
Same Look and Feel Leads to Improved Worker Productivity and Efficiency
"With the deployment of the automated image and Microsoft Windows 7, TAQA's end users experience the same look and feel in all of our computers, leading to improved worker productivity and efficiency," said Antoine Kamar. He added, "Users are happy to have the new gadgets and tools. They now have Microsoft Window 7 which simplifies everyday tasks, allows faster log in, and is more nimble, efficient, and responsive." As a result, there are improvements in worker productivity and efficiency, especially since users, many of whom are mobile, can now have the same computing experience in any of TAQA's computers. "The project," said Abubaker Sadiq, "is a source of pride because it has impacted on each user's experience. When you consider that they spend about 6 hours per day behind the machine, we are definitely proud that we were able to deliver a good computing experience for them."
Easy Deployment and Resolution of Computing Issues
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From the technical side, the use of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 "enables a new machine anywhere to be rolled out in a few minutes," said Antoine Kamar. "It's also easier to deal with computing issues. Now, when we fix one issue, we can leverage this to help resolve other users' issues as well," he added.