Today at TechEd Europe 2009, one of our Windows 7 enterprise customers, Petter Wersland, Lead Architect at Statoil, participated in a panel discussion with Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft’s Business Division as a part of the keynote presentation. We caught up with Petter Wersland just before this appearance to get more information on their Windows 7 deployment.
Rich Reynolds: Tell me about Statoil and your role at the company.
Petter Wersland: Statoil is an international energy company based in Stavanger, Norway. We operate in 40 countries with 30,000 employees with an additional 10,000 consultants. With roughly 40,000 desktops under management, we have a significant IT team.
I’m the lead advisor within the IT infrastructure area covering the Windows ecosystem and storage solutions. I’ve been at the company since 1991, covering several positions in IT and Windows infrastructure.
We’re moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 and are looking forward to using the new functionality introduced in Windows 7. We’re preparing a rollout that includes a hardware replacement of most of the PCs in the entire company.
Rich Reynolds: How are you driving productivity in the organization? What results are you seeing with Windows 7?
Petter Wersland: We’re expecting productivity gains with Windows 7 and Unified Communication. The efficiencies we expect include enhancing the end users’ ability to collaborate across the organization and across borders. With Windows 7 we’re seeing three really great benefits: enhanced IT security, faster file access for traveling users within the company, and improved remote connectivity from Internet. For security, we’re implementing the Standard User security level and BitLocker for drive encryption. Because of these features, we’ll be able to eliminate the encryption software we currently use and expect to save $330,000 based on our current number of portable computers.
For our increasingly mobile workforce, we’re taking advantage of DirectAccess. With DirectAccess the users will have a seamless access to corporate services whether the users are connected to the corporate network or connected to Internet. We can therefore eliminate VPN for most users. Also the client management tool we use, System Center Configuration Manager, can maintain the PCs with updates and security patching while they are outside the corporate network.
We’re also hearing from employees that Windows 7 just makes their PCs snappier and more responsive– especially for laptop users. Employees who are already on Windows 7 are telling us that it is easier to move between meetings and start and stop laptops.
Rich Reynolds: What advice would you give to IT Pros?
Petter Wersland: I recommend IT professionals educate themselves on the enterprise functionality in Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and other Microsoft products. Features like DirectAccess, BranchCache, App Locker and other security features are important tools for implementation of Windows and can really benefit your organization.
Rich Reynolds: How do you approach getting approval on new projects? Any lessons learned?
Petter Wersland: In these economic times it is hard to get approval and it takes time for a significant project like this. We have noticed financial restrictions on new projects and in some cases projects have been postponed, but we’re balancing that with investments for the future of our IT infrastructure. For example, the PC replacements we are planning company-wide were originally scheduled for this year, but now we have postponed them to next year. When moving to a new version of the Operating System, you’ll need to plan time for application testing. We have about 1000 applications we support on the Windows Client and all of them needed to go through a formal testing process.
I have just bought windows 7 and found it is fast than Vista. But I am thinking if it could be better?
Love the "inside scoops" on how large organizations are handling their Windows 7 deployments--and why. How about some similar interviews with IT pros and/or CIOs who are deploying Windows Server 2008 R2?
It's great to see more "inside looks" at Windows 7 deployment. Keep 'em coming! Would love to see how/where/why companies are deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 as well.