blog With Windows 8 broadly still being ignored by many in both enterprise IT and consumer circles, it is perhaps no surprise that Microsoft’s previous Windows 7 operating system is still being deployed in corporate Australia. A case study published by Redmond this week details how retailer The Reject Shop deployed Windows 7, plus Microsoft’s remote management tool InTune, to its several hundred PCs and other devices across Australia. Some sample pars:
Most company computers still ran the Windows XP operating system, and the IT team had to manage separate tools for distributing and updating software, safeguarding against malicious software (malware), and enforcing network access requirements. “We did not have a widely deployed, holistic solution for PC management,” says Darren O’Connor, CIO at The Reject Shop. “Every time we added another tool, we added complexity and IT staff time.”
Instead of using several different tools, The Reject Shop uses Windows Intune to simplify and centralize PC management, and the IT team is freed from having to configure and maintain a separate PC management infrastructure. “The simpler we can make it to manage and help safeguard PCs the better,” says O’Connor. “By using Windows Intune, we save significant time and effort for our most valuable staff resources, people who are in high demand and who we can use more effectively in other areas.”
The Reject Shop will also save money by eliminating some third-party licenses and gaining better insight into its software inventory. “By eliminating several third-party solutions, we almost entirely offset the cost of Windows Intune,” says O’Connor. “With fine-grained visibility into the software on every device, we can continue to simplify our environment.”
This kind of deployment really demonstrates what’s happening in enterprise IT circles with respect to Microsoft at the moment. Microsoft is a little like Oracle; once you deploy a little bit of Microsoft technology, you often realise how comprehensive the vendor’s stack is, and it becomes apparently logical to deploy other aspects of it. Because Windows XP didn’t have great remote deployment and management capabilities built-in, it was common for IT departments to use third-party tools to help automate these kinds of processes. Windows 7 changed a lot of that, and Microsoft extended and embraced a lot of the software market here which was held by other companies.
There’s two ways to look at this. Most IT people I’ve talked to like it as it makes things easier. But if you’re on the other side of the fence — say, if you’re a Unix admin — the gradual encroachment of Microsoft into every aspect of enterprise IT life can be a little disturbing ;)
A subsidiary issue to ponder here is whether The Reject Shop will ever truly migrate these machines from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Personally, given the shelf-life of Windows XP and the fact that Windows 7 is pretty much, in my view, an almost perfect desktop operating system upgrade, there is very little likelihood that The Reject Shop will ever see the business benefit in an upgrade to Windows 8 or anything which comes after it. It will take the next computing paradigm shift to change that situation. In this sense, Microsoft is likely to become a bit of a prisoner of its own quality with Windows 7, as it did with Windows XP for so many years.
Image credit: Microsoft