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TEKsystems supported a Windows® 7 upgrade for a large U.S. bank, migrating approximately 80,000 systems and packaging 100 applications.
One of the largest diversified financial services organizations in the U.S., our client operates approximately 2,700 branches in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Among their core services are retail banking, asset management, corporate and institutional banking, and residential mortgage banking. TEKsystems has partnered with this client since 2010.
When Microsoft introduced Windows® 7 in 2009, they also announced they would end support of an older operating system, Windows XP, in April 2014. The end of product support would mean Microsoft would no longer provide updates or security patches for XP. Companies that did not switch to Windows 7 would run the risk of being exposed to security threats from hackers or bugs. However, when the support deadline arrived, it was estimated that 1 in 4 desktops were still running on XP.1
Businesses have known that they needed to upgrade to Windows 7, but the logistical complexity of such a large, enterprise migration can overwhelm organizations. For a successful migration, several steps need to be considered, including evaluating readiness, managing costs, developing a deployment strategy, assessing application compatibility and training. Organizations that do not have the manpower available to handle the extra workload, or the right skills on staff, may feel challenged to take on such an endeavor and either begin a migration without a comprehensive plan in place, potentially creating more issues down the road, or delay it and pay support-extension fees.
By partnering with an IT services provider with experience and expertise in Windows 7 migrations, organizations gain peace of mind that their migration effort will be completed successfully while minimizing the impact to their internal IT team and their end users.
Our client, a major provider of diversified financial solutions in the U.S., was behind schedule in migrating approximately 80,000 back-office and retail business systems, including 20,000 desktops and laptops, to Windows 7 before Microsoft ended Windows XP support. If they continued to run XP without support, their systems would be more vulnerable to viruses and hacking, and if they extended support for XP, they would face expensive fees. It was important that there would be minimal disruption and impact to the business, especially to branches and the call center, and that security and regulatory objectives for data would be met.
The bank was looking for a partner who had experience successfully managing a large Windows 7 migration, was responsive in addressing issues and could provide detailed reporting and analysis to create efficiencies. A longtime staffing partner, TEKsystems proposed an end-to-end outsourced solution to manage the deployment of Windows 7. However, the client had a very strict budget that did not fully cover the proposed outsourced solution.
As a result, the client began migration efforts on their own. However, they ran into communication issues; namely, leadership was not impressing the importance of execution onto their associates so the associates were not scheduling or making their desktops or laptops available for migration. During the pilot PC migration, a TEKsystems staffing contractor working on the project made recommendations on how to create efficiencies in the process. The client, impressed with our resource’s knowledge and other high-quality resources we placed with them, began to consider using TEKsystems to co-manage the engagement. In the new arrangement, we would provide and manage high-quality resources as well as offer greater value through continual improvement processes, but allow the client to remain in charge of the scope and final outcome, which would reduce costs associated with a fully outsourced solution.
We proposed setting up a multiphased Windows 7 Command Center out of the client’s location in Cleveland. To provide the most cost-effective solution, we would operate under a managed services model in which we would be responsible for resource acquisition, onboarding, training, performance management of resources’ day-to-day activities, and identification of process improvements. The client would retain control over the final product and direction of the project while leveraging our skilled resources managed by our delivery manager.
The delivery manager would begin the first phase focusing on project planning, gathering institutional knowledge, documenting work processes and designing a comprehensive onboarding program to help our resource team get acclimated and become productive faster. He then would perform resource capacity planning and define specific resource roles and responsibilities, as well as create a communication and risk management plan. Finally, he would source, hire and onboard a team of eight technicians; the team could subsequently be scaled up or down to match the changing needs of the project over its duration.
During the execution phase, the delivery manager would manage the technical resources. The Command Center would conduct preupgrade tasks to increase the success rate of automated deployment. The team would then monitor upgrades as they progressed to ensure successful deployments. For failed systems, our team would troubleshoot for 15 minutes and then the systems would be escalated to the client’s internal help desk to resolve. This would help keep cost downs while meeting the client’s strict budget. Technicians would work in three shifts, with migrations occurring in the evening hours and overnight to minimize impact on end users.
Throughout the process we would provide daily and weekly status reports, sharing various metrics such as metrics on unit completions, unit rescheduling or failed systems, and financials.
The client chose to partner with TEKsystems in a managed services capacity because of our proven capabilities, long-standing relationship and ability to access talent quickly. We provided onboarding, orientation and performance management to alleviate the administrative burden on the client’s team and allow them to concentrate on priority business initiatives while feeling confident their Windows 7 migration would be completed on time and within budget.
Our centralized Windows 7 Command Center monitored the heavy volume of migrations daily to help the client efficiently move toward hitting their deadline. We successfully completed the Windows 7 upgrade of approximately 80,000 back-office and retail business systems PCs within a 15-week period.
Prior to our involvement, the client hired a systems integrator to package their applications. Several of the client’s applications would not work on Windows 7, so several applications had to be upgraded and then packaged for the upgrade. However, as the project progressed, the vendor was unable to keep up with the migration schedule. They were not aggressive enough in communicating with the application business owners to get the information they needed or to complete user acceptance testing.
While we were able to migrate some PCs during this time, we were unable to migrate several machines because their required applications were not ready. To ensure the project met its deadline, we took over application packaging for the final 100 packages and built out an application packaging team within one week. Our team consisted of a project manager, four application packagers and four application coordinators.
The coordinators worked with the business to push through issues with the business application owners and work through user acceptance testing. They created an issue log and had regular meetings with the packagers and project manager in which the team could sort through and resolve issues. Our coordinators and project manager worked rigorously with business stakeholders to resolve issues and get the final 100 packages completed for the client. In addition to application packaging, we also upgraded several of their office, database and Web-based applications that were outdated or had certifications issues to make them Windows 7 compatible. Our client appreciated our diligence in completing the migrations, flexibility in our delivery model to meet their budget, and our ability to step in and assist with application packing to meet their deadline.
Scalability and quick access to high-quality resources
TEKsystems has the largest pool of resources in North America—81 percent of the domestic IT workforce is in our proprietary relationship network—and in 2014 we deployed approximately 5,400 resources in support of Windows 7 migrations. Our network and reach were critical to our success in being able to provide high-quality resources quickly.
To meet our client’s budget needs, we came up with a creative solution to set a 15-minute limit on troubleshooting and send unresolved issues to the client’s internal support desk. Also, when it became clear that the client’s application packaging vendor needed help to complete the packages, we were able to assemble a highly skilled team of application packagers and coordinators within one week.
Logistical and subject matter expertise
Our National Logistics Office centrally coordinates the sourcing, screening and deployment of resources across geographically dispersed and logistically complex national installations. We leveraged best practices that are based on 15 years of technology deployment experience and were supported by an ISO 9001-certified Project Management Office. Plus, we have extensive experience with Microsoft implementations and are a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner.