Axon had Windows 7 running on all of its 270 machines before launch day last week and Service Management Solutions Manager James Walls spoke to The Channel about some of the benefits and opportunities of the OS.
A team worked for 38 working days from design to implementation to make sure that the company’s 270 employees were using Windows 7 before the official launch, including a rollout of a number of 64-bit Windows.
The company decided to achieve 100% implementation to show that they were committed to the technology and could deliver to a deadline. The lack of drivers for a number of USB-attached peripherals presented a challenge, but ultimately the lack allowed the technical team to get creative. Overall, Walls said that migration was easier than originally thought as a number of XP and Vista drivers worked seamlessly.
Another added benefit was cost savings after the initial estimation of upgrades were less than expected.
“Our initial estimation was that we were going to possibly have to upgrade 20% of our fleet,” Walls said. He said that when the company installed Vista after its launch, Axon had to replace 30% of its machines, which required a significant investment.
But with Windows 7, he said, “After our initial testing we actually got down to a number where we only had to significantly upgrade or replace 6% of our fleet.”
Walls said another benefits of Windows 7 is that it is ‘rock solid stable’ and that it is “built for users as opposed to being built for computers”.
The company also ran an internal competition that asked employees what they thought was the coolest feature of Windows 7 and received more than 80 replies from sending out the one email. The prize was a copy of Windows 7 for home.
“What that said to us is that people are actually pretty excited about this stuff,” Walls said.
Axon took the submissions and worked them into training sessions for employees as one of the dangers with new software releases is assuming that the staff already know the technology, which will create a workforce “that uses the technology in the same way they were using the old technology”.
He said that unlike the Vista launch, Windows 7 was a bit more understated, but the OS “is living up to the hype, and it’s really refreshing to see that”.
And while he thinks that for most resellers Windows 7 will be business as usual, those who embrace the technology will have a lot of integration potential between products such as Windows Server 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010.