How Dell Creates a More Connected Workplace

MICROSOFT WINDOWS 10 CUSTOMER VALUE CASE STUDY

DELL ENABLES ITS PEOPLE STRATEGY THROUGH A CONNECTED WORKPLACE POWERED BY MICROSOFT WINDOWS 10 ENTERPRISE

How Dell uses Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise to enable its People Strategy, and create a Connected Workplace where employees collaborate in a highly mobile and flexible work environment to deliver breakthrough performance for customers, partners and team members.

Background

Dell has been on an incredible journey for over three decades, with strong growth on a global scale. Dell attributes its success to its people — customers, business partners and team members — who keep the company moving through a rapidly evolving world of technology. Dell’s People Strategy is designed to attract and retain the world’s top talent, and ensure that Dell is a compelling place to work where everyone feels valued, engaged, productive and inspired.

Flexibility is a key aspect of Dell’s business strategy because it enables the company to compete for the best global talent. Dell’s Connected Workplace initiative is a great example of strategic flexibility, because it enables team members to do their best work in the way that works best for them. Connected Workplace provides an innovative opportunity to promote changes in cultural norms, leadership practices and work processes to the benefit of individuals and the business. Connected Workplace also provides a new way for people to approach work in terms of how, when and where work is conducted.

“Combining the best Windows OS ever, with our award winning touch enabled Dell Notebooks unlocks a new level of power and productivity. I believe we have contemporized the desktop like never before and have really changed how people work every day.””

– Chris Murphy – Vice President, Dell IT, Team Member Experience Services

In Dell’s Connected Workplace all team members use a suite of applications and common collaboration tools based on a corporate standard. Securing and making data accessible allows Dell employees to be productive in a variety of work scenarios.

Dell’s People Strategy and Connected Workplace is a significant achievement that truly enables the business in the way it establishes an advanced ecosystem where people work and play in a flexible way that produces outstanding results and fosters high workplace satisfaction. Windows 10 Enterprise platform has become an important part of the Connected Workplace vision because it provides the security, scalability, flexibility, features and quality user experience required.

Challenges

In early 2014 Dell realized that operating system version fragmentation within their IT ecosystem had increased support complexity. Windows 7, their primary OS, had been deployed for years, and its aged feature set and limited ability to support Dell’s mobile strategy negatively impacted employee productivity. Windows 8.1 had also been deployed as part of Dell’s modernization initiative, but IT found it difficult to support and user adoption was low.

Increased security risk was another challenge. Dell security engineers were more concerned than ever about the frequency and severity of attacks they read about at similar technology companies whose systems had been compromised, and they knew more had to be done to mitigate risk at Dell. Endpoints were not the only target perceived to be at risk; Dell security engineers knew they had to harden the entire IT environment — enterprise security was a top priority because a high percentage of Dell’s workforce work remotely.

CHALLENGES

  • Increased support complexity and costs
  • Increased risk of security breach or data loss
  • Diminished employee productivity
  • Application & client platform teams out of sync
  • Burdened IT service desk support

Dell DevOps was impacted as well. Application developers for Windows clients were experiencing elongated application development life cycles because their efforts were out of sync with the client platform team – causing both groups to work without a common timeline for collaboration and communication. This made it difficult to verify platform changes did not impact existing application interfaces, and it also hampered both groups’ ability to simplify workflow and drive faster adoption.

A similar challenge surfaced when development teams in Dell’s consumer space started work on applications in the Windows 10 platform, in advance of Windows 10 enterprise general deployment; resulting in a gap between what developers wanted and what the older systems and technology could support. One has to remember that Microsoft released Windows 10 in the consumer space first, so it was natural that application development teams supporting consumers would want to take advantage of newer capabilities that Windows 10 had to offer.But their enthusiasm created islands of technology, and internal support teams had to catch up.

Finally, Dell’s quality assurance process had been complicated by the need to test both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of all updates, and the IT Service Desk was burdened with multiple problem determination procedures for each device. All this added up to increased staff time, labor cost, employee frustration, and decreased employee satisfaction.

Dell tried to accelerate the pace of IT modernization within the OS and application development groups, hoping it would fix or at least minimize many of these challenges. But they soon discovered that broader platform changes were necessary to equip the company with the technology it required to enable robust business growth, a connected workplace, cloud migration, and services adoption.

Impacts

By the middle of 2014 internal customer experience ratings were dropping, and it was clear that steps were needed to address the growing level of employee dissatisfaction with the existing technology platform supporting the business. More alarming, however, was a growing concern that issues would spill over and impact Dell partners and consumers because of the high level of interaction Dell employees typically had with these external groups daily. After all, when employees are dissatisfied with their work environment their frustration often becomes visible through interactions they have with people outside the company, and Dell places too high a priority on those relationships to let that happen.

IMPACT

  • Poor customer experience

  • Slow time-to-market for apps and upgrades

  • Low productivity, high frustration

  • Inability to fully enable plans for mobile users

We are excited about the potential of Windows 10 as a client platform because it promises to be more than just another OS deployment but rather a platform that continuously delivers value to our Business.

JP Glick

Director, Client Computing, Dell

Dell also believed their industry reputation as a technology leader was at risk if they continued to nurture and patch an aging technology platform. It took many years to build the Dell brand as a leading channel partner and strategic services provider for Microsoft solutions, and being recognized as a thought leader who fully understands the technology behind their solutions and services portfolio was very important for growth.

Alternative Solutions

Dell IT evaluated several options to improve the technology environment, and because Windows 8.1 had already been deployed on a limited scale, they considered broader deployment as a logical choice. So, they embarked on a path to transform their standard platform based on Windows 7 Enterprise to a platform based on Windows 8.1.

But feedback from technical and business team members using the Windows 8 platform was mixed, and only a small percentage of folks who received early versions of the platform said it met work requirements and their expectations for an enhanced mobile experience. Some employees reported that the Windows 8.1 platform reduced their productivity due to differences in the user interface, loss of the Start Menu, and other unfamiliar features.

Therefore, Dell IT decided their fullest realization of a Connected Workplace based on a single integrated platform required a more comprehensive and innovative solution to address the magnitude of challenges they were experiencing. The end goal was to put the IT ecosystem back on track as a business enabler that met everyone’s needs; from technical engineers to application developers, to partners.

Opportunity

Dell and Microsoft enjoyed a close business relationship, and they worked closely during Microsoft’s Windows 10 Technology Adoption Program (TAP). With Microsoft’s launch of Windows 10 in the consumer space just a few months away, Dell engaged fully in the Windows 10 early adoption program to better understand the new operating system’s features, capabilities and benefits – and to make it easier to bring Windows 10 capabilities into Dell with assistance from Microsoft. TAP helped Dell gain advanced information on Windows 10 enhancements, updates and other aspects of the operating system.

Dell takes security very seriously to protect its own, its partners’ and its customers’ information, and active discussions within Dell at both technical and executive levels had taken place about data security, device security and network security. When senior managers and executives began to realize the potential security benefits that Windows 10 provided, they immediately agreed to establish a strategic initiative to implement Windows 10 as Dell’s standard enterprise client platform. Security was a top priority, and Dell was convinced that helping itself, its partners and its customers move in the right direction to secure their assets was the right thing to do.

The security improvements in Windows 10 play an important part in how we protect our data, and have enhanced the overall security posture of our endpoints.

Alan Daines

Chief Information Security Officer, Dell

Dell IT worked closely with senior management to establish a project mandate, and work began immediately. The Windows 10 deployment project was targeted for completion by end of 2017, with deployment occurring in phases across the company. The end goal of the project was rock solid, and included the following objectives:

  • Improve engineering productivity
  • Improve data, device and network security
  • Reduce problem remediation time
  • Continuously deliver client features
  • Support mobility and connected workspace
  • Reduce time to market for upgrades
  • Simplify software distribution
  • Reduce IT service desk load
  • Improve IT agility and responsiveness
  • Improve customer experience

Everyone agreed that undertaking enterprise-wide deployment of Windows 10 would provide Dell with hands-on experience related to the challenges partners and consumers will face in their own deployments, and better equip Dell to serve as an expert advisor. Dell’s vision was to be able to leverage their expertise to help partners and consumers have a better experience of their own with Microsoft Windows 10 and Dell services. Dell learned a lot along the way, and the knowledge they acquired has been readily shared with customers and partners who are beginning their own deployments.

Lessons Learned

Today, when customers ask Dell to help them understand and prepare for Windows 10 deployment, Dell advises them that the technical challenges Dell experienced during and after their enterprise rollout were not too difficult to overcome. But they did find it challenging to foresee and plan for the cultural impact that Windows 10 as a Service had on previously established communication, collaboration and procedural processes that supported their pre- Windows 10 environment. Dell encourages customers to think through this challenge — especially how the benefits of ongoing application development and testing, occurring in full synch with service-based platform changes, may impact their environment.

Solution

Dell implemented Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise to take full advantage of its ability to connect with Microsoft Office 365 solutions in the cloud, as well as to integrate with One Drive for Business, Exchange Online, and manage both business and personal accounts. Within the Windows 10 platform, Dell plans to enable Windows 10 advanced security features like Device Guard, Credential Guard auditing, Windows Information Protection and other core components. Dell IT is mindful that security, connectivity, and device support must not impact employee productivity; it should operate below the radar. Windows 10 Enterprise fulfills those requirements, and Dell IT is satisfied with the security protection, ease of use, and device support Windows 10 provides as user-configurable options.

Dell leveraged components of Office 365 to facilitate quick rollout and adoption by using integrated cloud services to enable Connected Workforce with web functionality for business and technical applications. This helped Dell IT reduce the time necessary for new device builds and device reimaging because employee data resided in the cloud and not on a local drive. This provided Dell IT with flexibility in provisioning, ongoing maintenance, and application deployment efficiencies. Employees need only authenticate once, and everything else is seamless.

SOLUTION

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise

One Drive for Business and Dell cloud-based storage was leveraged to help employees store their data securely in the cloud, and easily transition between devices; mobile or otherwise. One Drive for Business also facilitated their mobile user’s “work from anywhere” capability in Dell’s Connected Workspace.

Deployment

In August 2015, Dell’s plan was to deploy the first wave of Windows 10 standard platform laptops to a limited number of engineers and application developers while they were still participating in the Technical Adoption Program. This would be followed by a second wave of deployments in October 2015 to customer-facing employees who worked remotely and who support partner and consumer communities. The rest of the deployments would occur in waves beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2017.

From a deployment and manageability perspective, Windows 10 and Windows as a Service deliver improvements on clearly defined timelines that are adaptable and advantageous to businesses. The resulting standardization that each iterative cycle of branch update delivers will have positive effects on operational support processes and the types of feature deliveries that our customers expect.

Bill Moore

Product Owner, Dell

As part of the plan, Dell IT Service Desk assumed support for Windows 10 just prior to the beginning of the second wave. Service Desk employees were provided with two types of training to enable them to deliver primary support for the new platform – general training on Windows 10 was provided by Microsoft, and platform-specific training was provided by Dell IT Client Engineering.

Dell IT offered three deployment methods. Method 1 was receiving a new “factory generated” device, or through a service offered to employees by which they could have their existing device upgraded to the new Windows 10 platform. Method 2 was self-service, and employees were provided with the ability to download media and install a corporate image on their own. Method 3 was through a service provided by IT where a technician reimaged the device.

Deployment is proceeding on track, as planned, and no unanticipated events that present an obstacle to project completion. Dell IT Service Desk, employees, managers and IT staff were all surprised at how smoothly and quickly the transition took place.

DEPLOYMENT

  • Aug 2015 through 2017 (in waves)
  • Phased implementation by group
  • One or more devices per person
  • 19% desktop, 79% laptop, 2% tablet

Benefits

Business

Dell gained significant business benefit from standardizing on Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise. Dell executives and senior managers were pleased the project moved through phased deployment with little change to their departmental budget, or the company’s CapEx and OpEx structure.

We get to enable our users with the most award-winning portfolio of products. Many folks have already been using Windows 10 which translates to a smoother implementation/less disruption.

Jaynene Hapanowicz

Senior Vice President, Global Services & IT, Dell

The following table lists the business benefits Dell achieved by upgrading to Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise:

  • Improve engineering productivity
  • Improve data, device and network security
  • Reduce problem remediation time
  • Continuously deliver client features
  • Support mobility and connected workspace
  • Protection against data loss
  • Robust support for mobile strategy
  • High employee satisfaction

Today, employees at all levels of the organization are pleased with the new features and capabilities they have in the new Windows 10 platform; particularly the way it enables them to work freely from wherever they choose. Many users received the latest and greatest Dell laptop technology with Windows 10 enterprise and all of Dell’s solution components fully enabled to support them right out of the box. Instant productivity, simplicity, enhanced communication and collaboration drove adoption, and employees are excited about the freedom and flexibility they had to customize their desktop to best suit their role and responsibilities. User experience has improved substantially.

Technical

From a service desk perspective, the upgrades Dell IT made to the configuration manager environment to support Windows 10 brought a significant reduction in call volume and trouble tickets related to device, and Windows OS. Dell also saw better operating system reliability, less migration issues, and less questions about usability and functionality. Most employees did not require any additional training beyond what they already knew to fully utilize the new Windows 10 platform, so training staff and training costs were far lower than in similar technology rollouts Dell had executed in the past. Dell believes this is attributed to Microsoft’s decision to roll out Windows 10 in the consumer space first, thus increasing general knowledge about the OS and leveraging what people knew from previous versions of Windows. Microsoft’s decision to bring back the Windows Start Menu and other familiar features greatly simplified end-user adoption and satisfaction. Another benefit Dell saw was improved productivity of its employees because of their familiarity and ease of use of the new Windows 10 platform. This has further reduced IT Service Desk support demands, and helped Dell empower employees to do more on their own with minimal direct support and cost from IT.

BENEFITS

  • Reduction in Help Desk incident volume
  • Faster resolutions to incidents 
  • Increased Security and Data Protection

Early indicators show that Windows 10 is helping Dell address some of the challenges it had with application testing and deployment, and enhancements such as HTML 5 are simplifying their application test and deployment processes.

The challenge Dell IT used to have developing and synchronizing updates across a heterogeneous environment is now gone as well. With Windows 10 it’s easy to maintain configurations across the enterprise, and keep Windows 10 devices is current with patches and security updates.

DevOps collaboration is much better with Windows 10, and the Client Platform team and application development team are now in sync, deploying apps in a manner that enhances overall release quality and stability. Integration between development resources and timelines are synchronized with operating system upgrade and maintenance cycles.

Dell’s ability to standardize their technology platform in a way that reduces risk, cost and complexity, while increasing security and enhancing customer experience has led to the simplification of many processes that used to be required to support the old environment. The new Windows 10 servicing model is enabling IT to push new capabilities and services to employees, so they always have the latest client technology.

Windows 10 allows us the opportunity to move our client base to a single OS eliminating the cyclical historical upgrade efforts required to upgrade applications & users from one EOL OS’s to next gen, while increasing our Client support efficiency by reducing the volume and complexity of Operating System incidents presented to our field techs and Help Desk.

Pat Quigley

Vice President, IT Operations, Dell

Productivity Improvements

Dell IT initiated several surveys to business units and marketing to gauge the success of the Windows 10 deployment initiative, and overall satisfaction with new platform is high, and employee productivity has improved.

DevOps and IT Service Desk realized significant labor savings — particularly in the time required for provisioning, imaging, find fix, security issues, and call support and response.

COMPANY INFORMATION

  • 144,000 employees
  • 56 IT staff involved in deployment
  • 115 Service Desk staff involved in support

The following table shows the quantified improvements in productivity in several key areas:

For More Information

For more information on Dell, visit www.dell.com

For more information on Microsoft Windows 10, visit www.microsoft.com/Windows10

For more information on Windows Insider Program, visit insider.windows.com

For more information on Microsoft Office 365, visit www.microsoft.com/Office365

Note

This publication describes how Dell benefited from the enterprise-wide deployment of Microsoft Windows 10 and Microsoft One Drive for Business. Many factors contributed to the results and benefits described herein that may not be extant in other IT environments. Dell does not guarantee comparable results elsewhere.

DELL PROVIDES THIS PUBLICATION AS IS WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

MICRSOFT CORPORATION PROVIDES THIS PUBLICATION AS IS WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

ALINEAN INC. PROVIDES THIS PUBLICATION AS IS AS IS WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

 

Prepared for Microsoft Corporation by Alinean Inc. – Ronald Paxton, Principal Analyst