Talk about a short deadline.
In 2010, sugar, ethanol and energy producer Wilmar Australia needed to transform its entire IT environment and rebrand its technology image as part of its divestment from parent company CSR. The catch: the project needed to be done in under a year for 1,500 employees in 31 locations to meet the divestment schedule.
The project involved leveraging the latest Microsoft technology for a desktop upgrade while outsourcing core IT functions and moving Wilmar Australia's IT infrastructure to Infrastructure as a Service. Wilmar Australia also wanted a brand makeover; it saw itself as developing into a more engaging, dynamic organisation and wanted its technology to reflect that.
A sweet solution
A lot of IT solutions providers might’ve balked at that lofty task. Not Datacom.
Wilmar Australia's new vision aligned very closely with Datacom’s approach to doing business – delivering enduring performance through fresh thinking. These shared values, along with Datacom’s technology knowledge and commitment to building strong partnerships with its customers, made choosing an IT solutions provider easier for Wilmar Australia.
The eventual solution for Wilmar Australia's IT needs was a Microsoft stack running on Datacom’s IaaS cloud. The list of tasks involved to complete the project included:
- Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7
- Migrating from Office 2003 to Office 2010
- Adding messaging with Exchange 2010
- Establishing a new Active Directory 2008
- Updating legacy unified communications systems using Cisco and Microsoft Lync 2010
- Incorporating document management with SharePoint 2010
- Establishing database management and consolidation using SQL 2010
- Integrating with BizTalk
- Establishing security via Threat Management Gateway
- Creating full disaster recovery
Datacom also helped move 240 of Wilmar Australia's servers and over 90 of their critical business applications to the cloud.
Better technology, better business
Wilmar Australia's employees across locations are now able to leverage the latest technology to collaborate and communicate better. With the latest operating system and office and communications tools, each employee is able to complete his or her tasks and assignments with renewed efficiency and simplicity.
Brendan O’Kane, General Manager of Information Services at Wilmar Australia, says the Datacom migration has set the organisation on a course toward greater agility and innovation.
“We have given people new tools and better access to help them do their jobs more efficiently and take a lot of noise out of the business,” he says. “The IT strategy is now supporting the business.
“The solution is a much better fit to our DNA than where we came from. We needed to be able to support change and innovation in a fast-moving environment, and the Datacom cloud allows us to do that.”
With support for Windows XP – which is still in use by about 42 per cent of the enterprise market, according to a May IDC white paper –, ending by April 2014 and the typical operating system migration taking 18 months, it was time to start thinking about your next desktop upgrade yesterday. This time around, there’s even more to consider: Bring Your Own Device, new technologies and a slower pace of desktop rollout. How will these factors affect your desktop strategy?
New technology trends in the enterprise
Mobility, cloud, virtualisation and the consumerisation of IT – even if they were around in some capacity in previous years, they didn’t infiltrate the corporate IT landscape to the same extent they do now. These new kids on the block might entail some level of device management, updated security and governance policies and data centre overhaul, all of which require the organisation to reshape its IT strategy.
At their core, these technologies transform how apps and data are managed, secured and delivered to employees. What’s more, bringing together all these different technologies during a desktop modernisation project might necessitate a new licensing arrangement. Take, for instance, the new Companion Device License (CDL) Microsoft will require organisations to purchase for Windows 8 users who access corporate desktops through VDI on personal, non-Windows mobile devices. If you are unsure of how your licensing arrangement might be affected by your desktop optimisation project, Datacom’s licensing experts can assist you.
Mobile devices as desktop replacements vs. supplements
Did you ever think the day would arrive when the PC as we know it would become obsolete? Some technology and IT thought leaders believe Windows 8 will signal this shift; Windows 8 and its cross-platform nature will give workers what they’ve come to want most – the ability to work from any device, at any time and in any location. Even research firm Garner posited that Windows 8 will end the traditional desktop to which we’ve grown accustomed by the year 2020, as tablets and mobile devices will step in to become the primary devices used in the office or on the road.
Other CIOs, IT managers and technology evangelists sing the opposite song – PCs will always be relevant and will continue to be the foundation of enterprise desktop computing. Some argue mobile might never allow for the type of productivity tools and applications required in the corporate space.
A longer refresh and rollout cycle
About two thirds of organisations now undertake large desktop refreshes involving both operating system upgrades and hardware replacement, according to international research by firm Freeform Dynamics. This combination approach has allowed some organisations to push the traditional three-year refresh cycle to four or five years for a number of reasons. On the hardware end, trends like Bring Your Own Device mean more employees are using their own computing devices, thereby extending the life of corporate desktops in some instances. From the OS perspective, some organisations have chosen not to follow the sequential order of operating system releases, opting to bypass Windows Vista and go straight from Windows XP to Windows 7, for example.
Even when an organisation does get to the point of a desktop modernisation project, Datacom has noticed the length of rollout is lasting longer. This is due to a number of reasons, including tight budgets, the need to give certain departments upgraded desktops faster than others and management constraints. Organisations wanting a full-scale desktop upgrade can take advantage of IT outsourcers that provide an end-to-end solution for desktop deployments, including post-rollout support. Datacom has helped organisations with as few as a couple hundred seats to as many as a several thousand upgrade their operating systems and desktop hardware, traditionally in less time than it takes internal IT staff to complete.
What has changed in how you approach desktop modernisation at your organisation?