Businesses around the world have made great progress in their Windows 7 deployments in 2011. And if your company has not yet begun a Windows 7 deployment, you might want to consider putting some remaining IT budget to good use with a Windows 7 pilot program – there are a number of tools to get you started here. Time is running out for Windows XP support, and we want to help all of you migrate to a modern operating system in time.

Since we launched Windows 7 more than two years ago, we’ve heard from many of you about the benefits you’re experiencing and the advice you have for your peers. You might be surprised by some of the industries furthest along in their Windows 7 deployments. Interestingly, the Consumer Goods and Distribution and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industries have made significant headway with above average Windows 7 deployments. Customers in these industries are quite savvy to the benefits of a modern operating system and value the improvements they’ve been able to gain in productivity and security. Also well on their way are folks from the Manufacturing industry.

I’d like to reflect on a few of the great enterprise deployments we’re hearing about from our customers in these industries that have made significant progress. I am always inspired by the benefits and value Windows 7 is bringing to businesses around the world every day.

Consumer Goods and Distribution

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In the Consumer Goods and Distribution industry, General Mills needed a solution that would make it easy for their IT staff to recover access keys and report on compliance with the BitLocker drive encryption feature in Windows 7, and for employees to reset their PINs. General Mills is now combining Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) with Windows 7 Enterprise and BitLocker to streamline their reporting and encryption tasks, while also boosting overall security.

Information Systems Program Manager at General Mills, Shelly Halford explains, “MBAM will help us streamline deployment of Windows 7 by enabling us to centralize BitLocker management and ensure that computers are encrypted with minimal effort.”

General Mills expects to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise, BitLocker, and MBAM on 80 percent of their PCs by February 2013. This effective combination of technologies lets General Mills continue delivering innovation in everything from food development and recipe promotion to the technologies that run their business.

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Family-owned grocery distribution company, Harbor Wholesale Grocery, is another customer in the Consumer Goods and Distribution industry that you may recall we mentioned a while back – they were able to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise on existing company PCs, eliminating the need to purchase new hardware.

By moving all our users to Windows 7, we’re delivering on our promise to provide a high-performing, high-security computing environment, without having to upgrade any hardware,” says Tony Caufield, Computer Operations Manager at Harbor WMholesale Grocery.

Without having to pay for new hardware, Harbor Wholesale Grocery is able to dedicate more budget to merchandising and promotional support, and providing superior service to more than 2,000 retail customers.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing businesses have seen a positive impact on their bottom line. Take for example Stavropolskiy Broiler, one of Russia’s largest poultry operations, which quickly upgraded 90 percent of their 300 PCs to Windows 7 Enterprise from Windows XP in just two months. They immediately noticed improved employee productivity and security, while also significantly reducing IT costs.

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“Since deploying Windows 7, we have achieved a 60 percent decrease in help-desk calls, reduced our maintenance costs, and strengthened IT security,” says Evgeny Baranov, Director of IT at Stavropolskiy Broiler.

This gives Stavropolskiy Broiler a 60 percent increase in productivity, allowing them to focus on continuing to grow their poultry operations instead of worry about help-desk calls.

Manufacturing

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In the Manufacturing industry, STX OSV is a major global shipbuilder of offshore and specialized vessels. They needed a modern OS with 64-bit support for creating large-scale drawings and 3-D models required to design sophisticated vessels, and a way to lighten the burden of support on their IT staff. By moving to Windows 7, STX OSV reports increased employee productivity and reduced help-desk workloads for their IT staff.

STX OSV needs the capability available with Windows 7 Enterprise to use high-performance processors and increased memory—especially in our Design and Innovation department—so that we can effectively compete in the global shipbuilding marketplace,” says Noralf Gamlem, Chief Information Officer at STX OSV

By implementing the advanced technologies of Windows 7 to improve their production and IT management processes, STX OSV is able to increase their competitiveness in the worldwide shipbuilding industry.

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Also part of the Manufacturing industry, GOTEK Enterprise Group is one of the largest producers of packaging materials in Russia, specializing in all phases of the production cycle, from design to delivery. As an expanding company, GOTEK realized they needed to upgrade their IT environment to help decrease IT costs, increase employee productivity, and remain compatible with their existing line-of-business applications. They found Windows 7 to be the perfect solution for their needs. Oleg Artamonov, IT Department Director at GOTEK Enterprise Group, explains:

“Overall, we expect a 10 percent decrease in IT costs and a 10 percent increase in employee productivity as a result of migrating to Windows 7.”

With the great benefits of Windows 7, GOTEK can focus on growing their business instead of worrying about technology efficiencies.

I encourage you to check out our Windows 7 Enterprise site to see how you can get started planning your own deployment. As always, we welcome your questions, thoughts and feedback. And if you’re looking for more resources on how to plan your deployment, please visit our Windows Enterprise Resources and Tools site or the Springboard Series on TechNet. For more customer case studies, check out our Customer Stories site or go to the Microsoft Case Studies site for a broad selection of Windows 7 customer stories.