Provide a brief description of the Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative?
London is a city in Southwestern Ontario with a metropolitan area population of more than 350,000. Facing mounting budgetary pressures, London was looking to update its desktop computing environment in order for city officials to be more responsive to the public. London became one of the first Canadian municipalities to upgrade its desktop computing environment to the Windows® 7 operating system. Key Benefits • Enhanced It data and network protection • Cost-effective deployment • Improved productivity and user.
Describe what makes this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative original or innovative?
The City of London and CMS Consulting identified the organizations long term goals for the management of the cities desktops. It was found that the following were the most important for the City of London: 1) Improving the management and administration of desktops 2) Improve the security for desktops and laptops 3) Alleviate pain points caused by older applications 4) Improve the services to city staff and citizens. CMS recommended that the City of London pursued a Windows 7 rollout as the new Operating System would help reach these goals. CMS applied to the Microsoft Product team, on behalf of the City of London, for the City to become an early adopter of Windows 7 and to provide customer evidence for the Canadian launch. After conducting a thorough evaluation of its IT infrastructure, the City of London worked with Microsoft Gold Certified partner CMS Consulting Inc. to standardize its IT staff PCs on the Windows 7 operating system and begin the broader deployment of Windows 7. “The City of London knew what they wanted to achieve: a PC environment that helped staff find the information they need in a collaborative environment,” says Alex Chan, CMS Consulting Inc. “We recommended Windows 7 because it meets the City’s immediate security and performance needs and has the flexibility to help the City deliver top-quality services to citizens for years to come.” Windows 7 also helps the IT department streamline PC management. During deployment, the municipality took advantage of the enhanced User State Migration Tool, a command-line tool designed to migrate user profiles, files and system settings, to ensure that all information was transferred to the new system. As well, the Dynamic Driver Provisioning and the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool (DISM) helped the IT department leverage a single image for the entire organization. With it, staff can more easily create, change and manage desktop images across its 2,400 desktop PCs. The IT team also used the Windows XP Mode of Windows 7 to help during the migration to Windows 7. This enabled staff to easily create a virtual Windows XP environment capable of running those few applications that required Windows XP, while work was underway to update these applications to run natively on Windows 7.
Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s sales or revenues. What changed?
CMS worked with the Microsoft Product and Account teams to come up with a high value offering for the City of London. Because it was part of the Rapid Deployment Program, all three parties invested in this engagement by splitting the services costs equally. Great care was taken over several meetings to scope out the deliverables, the costs, and the responsibilities of all parties. Significant costs savings were experienced by the customer in terms of: – Deployment efficiency: Using the Microsoft Deployment tools, it took only 35 minutes to migrate XP users to Windows 7. The time line was much shorter than expected and thoroughly impressed the client. – Greater use of their equipment: Older applications had pain points requiring the City to run certain machines at 280 MB of RAM. Using Shims, the City of London is now able to run these machines at full capacity, greatly improving the performance of the client, in turn providing much faster service to the city workers needing to use the application for citizen facing tasks. The City estimates that they are enjoying a 10 per cent improvement in delivering citizen services. – The City reports great productivity improvements and fewer calls to the Help Desk from the departments that rolled out Windows 7. – Through participation in this solution, the City of London has saved significant costs on professional services and training for their IT staff responsible for managing their Desktops.
Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s efficiency. What changed?In the face of tightening budgets, the performance and flexibility of Windows 7 has enabled the City of London to reduce the cost of supporting desktop PC users, and deliver services more securely and efficiently. Just as important, the user experience has improved. Staff has summarized the Windows 7 experience in a single word – easy. “Our IT team receives fewer calls, which frees up their time to be proactive and focus on different areas of the organization. The less the support desk hears from our users, the more time we have to enhance our service portfolio,” adds Heathers. Enhanced IT data and network protection The City of London has realized several security and performance enhancements with the move to Windows 7. The Windows Firewall Client, improved in Windows 7, together with Microsoft AppLocker™ and Group Policy improvements, help provide a stronger level of PC security without incremental cost. With Microsoft AppLocker, the City of London IT staff can help prevent unauthorized software from running on PCs, which allows them to better manage application installations and create a standardized PC environment. “Earning and keeping the trust of citizens is paramount in everything we do. Ensuring that our desktops are as secure as possible helps us protect sensitive data, and allows us to build a connection with citizens that’s secure and reliable,” says Heathers. In addition, with Microsoft BitLocker To Go™ helping to protect data on portable storage devices and the enhanced User Account Control also helping defend the cities’ computers, the City of London has greater assurance that its data is secure and that it is meeting compliance requirements. “The City of London quickly embraced many of the new features in Windows 7, such as Microsoft BitLocker and BitLocker To Go for fixed and removable hard drive data encryption, and DirectAccess for more secure network connections,” says Chan. “With these additional security features, the City of London is able to protect data while allowing staff to work more productively.” Cost-effective deployment The hard link migration feature in the User State Migration Tool allows IT staff to confidently leave data on a computer while it is upgraded to Windows 7, and alleviates the need to back up data across the network, reducing the impact on bandwidth. The City estimates that it saved about 30 minutes per PC compared to its last operating system upgrade. As well, moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 did not require a hardware refresh, and has helped improve the performance of aging applications. There are also plans to take advantage of the Windows 7 features that can help reduce power consumption – such as the improved idle processing, which reduces background activities and Adaptive Display Brightness, which automatically reduces display brightness when a PC is idle – that will help reduce operational costs and over time shrink the city’s carbon footprint. “Innovation is the key to our success and we believe strongly in leveraging next-generation technology to foster it. But to do that, it has to work well out of the box. With Windows 7 we encountered no compatibility issues and we were quick to see performance benefits as well,” says Heathers. Improved productivity and user experience Using Windows 7, employees are now able to access data faster than ever before– allowing them to get more done in less time. City staffers, for example, are now delivering a higher standard of service by taking advantage of new features in Windows 7, such as Federated Search, which enables users to seamlessly search their own desktop computers and the city’s network resources. This also helps the City of London ensure compliance with MFIPPA and foster a greater level of openness and transparency. In the future, the municipality also has plans to deploy the Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating system to take advantage of the DirectAccess feature in Windows 7, which will enable city staff to more easily access information and resources securely without having to use virtual private network technology. “With greater visibility and easier access to our data, City of London staff can now spend less time trying to locate information and more time delivering strong service. When our frontline city staff can better use technology, they’re able to do more work for our citizens,” says Heathers
How did this Solution, Service provided, or Initiative improve the customer’s ability to serve its internal and/or external clients?
CMS used application shimming technology to alleviate the unique problem that the City of London had with their legacy applications. The City of London had machines with four gigabytes of RAM, but had to limit their processing ability to a maximum of 280 MB so an application for the Ontario Works Program could run. With Windows 7 and application shims, the CMS team found a way to ensure the City of London could fully utilize the power of their machines and run the legacy application. A lot of media and press buzz was generated with this solution.
In what ways does this Solution or Service Provided go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
This solution was unique to the marketplace because of the following reasons: • CMS provided Microsoft Canada with the only Partner led major deployment of Windows 7 before the official launch of Windows 7. • CMS used a variety of the Microsoft deployment tools, as well as the features/functions in Windows 7 to help alleviate pain points the City of London was experiencing. • The City of London also used Bitlocker to greatly improve the security of their desktops and corporate information. The solution was innovative in that it used the application shimming technology to alleviate the unique problem that the City of London had with their legacy applications. The City of London had machines with four gigabytes of RAM, but had to limit their processing ability to a maximum of 280 MB so an application for the Ontario Works Program could run. With Windows 7 and application shims, the CMS team found a way to ensure the City of London could fully utilize the power of their machines and run the legacy application.