Since its last major hardware deployment three years ago, Dow Chemical’s workforce increased by six thousand individuals. Dow employees deliver exceptional client service but a lot more employees were now traveling to meet client needs. As a result, Dow was in need of a major operating system and hardware upgrade that had to be seamless and incorporate its recently acquired companies, including Rohm & Haas.
Dow turned to its PC technology partner Lenovo to deliver the hardware, system migration tools and global service they needed allowing Dow to successfully reach that upper echelon of technology innovation its employees across its corporate ecosystem could take advantage of each and every day.
Dow’s major goal was to migrate to Microsoft Windows® 7 to enable better security and performance of its global IT offerings to support its’ large mobile workforce.
For 13 years, Dow has provided its’ employees with Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops to support global operations, management and sales activities. In 2010- 11, the company retired many of its aging PC assets and deployed new Lenovo ThinkPad T510, W510 and X201 notebooks to provide its mobile executive team, sales forces and employee base technology that balances performance and portability with enhanced data security. In addition to the ThinkPads, Dow chose Lenovo docking stations, adapters and other accessories to be deployed at the same time as the system units. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M90 and M90p desktops were selected to enable in-office teams to manage large amounts of information supporting products and services, order fulfillment and other customer data.
Dow required the PC rollout and Windows 7 migration process to have little or no negative impact on employee productivity whether they were working onsite or remotely. Dow is one of only 19% of all companies worldwide who successfully accomplished an accelerated PC refresh cycle based on a recent IDC study. The adoption and rollout of Windows 7 added an increased level of complexity to what was already a challenging project of refreshing the entire Dow install base of laptops.
Add to that the need to migrate thousands of desktops currently running Windows XP to the Windows 7 platform with the enormous challenge of remediating existing applications, peripheral drivers, and moving to a more secure platform with minimal user impact and it becomes clear that Dow and Lenovo accomplished amazing technology feats. This hardware rollout and Windows 7 migration impacted more than 50,000 employees across 250+ worldwide locations without disrupting any day-to-day activity or customer service. The company also needed to ensure its recently acquired companies like Rohm & Haas were part of the mix.
The Lenovo Imaging Technology Center helped create a customized image and conduct an enterprise-wide pilot for the migration of the laptop software image. The large scale customized migration using Lenovo’s System Migration Assistant tool moved all the data and applications settings to the correct locations in the deployed Windows 7 solution.
For the desktops, the Lenovo Imaging Technology Center developed an InPlace Migration solution to transition from Windows XP to Windows 7 while retaining the user’s local data. Each system’s migration was completed in an average of just 2 hours using the In Place Migration solution. This created a unified migration process for laptops and desktops across the environment which was essential for a company as large as Dow Chemical.
Dow was able to meet its goal of equipping most of its 50,000 employees with new PCs within nine months. Individual time spent on the migration was reduced by 75% globally without the need for desk side support. Dow’s transition to a Windows® 7 solution was aided by Lenovo’s ThinkVantage System Update toolset within the image. This toolset allowed for an efficient and stable process for installing drivers and hardware specific applications, creating a single core image for their systems.
The ThinkVantage System Update toolset leveraged the Lenovo Enhanced Experience for Windows 7. The Lenovo Enhanced Experience is the latest optimization of Lenovo’s multipronged approach to maximizing the performance of a Windows 7 rollout. This resulted in an image that gave Dow PC users the benefit of optimized software and hardware for the best possible performance in terms of boot up times and application responsiveness.
While ThinkVantage did the heavy lifting, it was Lenovo’s global account team and client service that made this a truly seamless deployment. The Lenovo and Dow teams ensured Dow’s employees wouldn’t miss a beat with the new Windows 7 operating system assuring consistent productivity throughout the workday. They also integrated new security requirements associated with the new system and made sure older applications employees were compatible with the transition. The In Place Migration solution was so effective for the rollout that a modified version of the solution is under development to facilitate moving Dow’s existing Windows 7 machines to a new domain and user profile structure.
In today’s global economy, large enterprises are entering new markets, identifying new revenue streams by adding other companies to the fold. During this phase it’s essential that these enterprises get their new teams into their tech ecosystem. Such was the case with Dow Chemical and Rohm & Haas. Shortly after acquiring Rohm & Haas, Dow executed their deployment and needed Lenovo to get them on board. Essentially the full deployment involved two companies, and no stone was left unturned. The same deployment, migrations tools and service were delivered to Rohm & Haas employees, allowing two large enterprises to be equipped with the latest Lenovo PCs and Windows OS.
Dow used a near zero inventory-on-hand strategy to eliminate the need to store units before they were delivered to the end user’s desk thus reducing warehouse costs. The aggressive implementation plan had installations being done simultaneously at various worldwide locations. Lenovo utilized global fulfillment and logistics processes to ensure that all systems and options arrived at each Dow location one week prior to implementation. Dow decreased storage costs by using a Customer Requested Arrival Date (CRAD) managed process to ship from Lenovo and arrive one week prior to implementation at a particular site.
The explosion of mobile devices means that the most successful employees will have more than two devices at any given time. Screen resolution on handheld devices, touch, easy customizability and quick or no boot up will be key differentiators in the future. The real question is whether there will be easily obtainable and reliable apps to enable this mobile explosion that can match the performance and features of enterprise level applications. Dow is looking forward to a more mature mobile space to enable the next level of organization and employee expectations.