While many enterprise organizations like to evaluate all the alternatives when it comes to hardware and software, Real Deslauriers, vice-president of information systems at Bombardier Recreational Products wants to maintain as few different technologies as possible.

So when the Valcourt, Que.-based

firm, which makes Sea-Doos, Ski-Doos and outboard engines, recently began a complete overhaul of its desktop, server and storage infrastructure, it sought to standardize its operating system environment as much as possible, and that means Microsoft instead of open source or Linux.

To that end, it signed a seven-year deal for an undisclosed amount with Dell that will include the provision of both products and services including desktop support, asset and image management for more than 5,200 systems. The project will include multiple Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) locations in Canada, the United States and Europe.

“”We’ve done the same kind of strategy that we’re sticking to on the ERP, for example, with SAP,”” says Deslauriers. “”Not to say we won’t question that on an ongoing basis, but for the moment, on a large-scale deployment, we believe that with Microsoft we can achieve our goals.””

Deslauriers says the company had neglected or postponed some upgrades in its end-user environment following considerable investment around the year 2000. Although many of its desktops were already Dell machines, he said the company had only begun to introduce Dell servers and printers when it began searching for a partner to assist in its transformation.

“”It was not because we already had an existing relationship,”” he said. “”We took a white page approach, but of course there is a bit of a continuum in having used Dell in the past.””

The first stage of the project will see BRP design a new operating environment that will be based on Microsoft software, but will be validated and installed in more standard ways, he said. The goal is to lower costs and improve service delivery to the firm’s end-users, he added. At the moment, BRP is a mix of everything from Windows 95 to XP, with software installations of Office 97, Exchange and Lotus Notes. That design is expected to be complete by May, he said, after which the balance of the contract will involve Dell maintaining and supporting BRP’s pared-down infrastructure.

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