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Windows 7 End User Experience Reduces Support Costs

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Published: October 2009

At Microsoft, the deployment of Windows 7 led to an improved end user support experience, resulting in decreased Helpdesk costs. New diagnostic features, improved software and hardware compatibility, and an investment in self service support content supported an accelerated adoption rate.

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Intended Audience Products & Technologies
  • Business Decision Makers
  • IT Professionals
  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • BranchCache technology in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
  • DirectAccess technology in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Agile VPN technology in Windows Server 2008 R2
  • User State Migration Tool, version 4.0
  • Windows Easy Transfer tool in Windows 7
  • Action Center in Windows 7
  • Windows Troubleshooting Platform in Windows 7
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0 in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Introduction

Windows 7 brings a new and improved client experience. Microsoft IT (MSIT) incorporated key support strategies while deploying approximately 100,000 copies of Windows 7 through a dogfood pilot. The deployment within Microsoft significantly reduced operating system support and resulted in a high level of user satisfaction.

Windows 7 Improvements

Windows 7 is built around the productivity-enhancing features that customers asked for, with significant improvements in the areas of desktop experience, networking, search, Internet exploration, and application and device management.

Windows 7 also offers the following improvements for IT professionals:

  • OS installation and deployment is much simpler and faster. Due to its smaller footprint, Windows 7 is able to run on machines with a lower configuration, reducing hardware procurement costs.
  • Improved data security through BitLocker™ Drive Encryption. In a mobile world, data loss has become an increasing concern. BitLocker helps protect against data theft or exposure from lost or inappropriately decommissioned PC hardware.
  • Greater out-of-the-box compatibility with third-party applications and devices due to comprehensive partnerships with OEMs and third-party companies.
  • Tools such as the User State Migration Tool (USMT) 4.0 and the updated Windows Easy Transfer make it easy to migrate, back up, and recover data. End users can do these tasks themselves with minimal help from technical support.
  • Technologies such as DirectAccess, BranchCache™, and Agile VPN provide secure and seamless networking and connectivity within or outside an enterprise.
  • Features like the new Action Center and the Windows Troubleshooters promote self-help and decrease support overhead, resulting in tangible savings for the enterprise. IT professionals can also create custom diagnostic packages to manage and troubleshoot computers using new scripting and automation capabilities based on Windows PowerShell™ 2.0.

Driving Product Feedback through the Windows 7 Dogfood Program

Microsoft believes in being its own first customer through early adoption of its products. As part of its First and Best dogfood program, MSIT:

  • Deployed approximately 100,000 copies of Windows 7
  • Tested DirectAccess remote connectivity enhancements on 5000 clients worldwide
  • Tested BranchCache data access and download capabilities on over 300 machines in Europe

HelpDesk Improvements

"The incident rate for operating system support went down by 42 percent, which is a huge drop by industry standards. The Microsoft Helpdesk also experienced lower call-handling times. Not surprisingly, as support costs went down, the user satisfaction level went up."

The feedback received by the Microsoft Helpdesk was triaged on a daily basis. This helped Microsoft understand the product issues and also the IT challenges. Product defects were tracked for various categories like device compatibility, third-party applications, networking, user experience, and so on. Tight partnership with the engineering team and the robust feedback process resulted in faster resolution of client issues.

MSIT also made other improvements to Helpdesk processes to enhance the product feedback loop. The improvements included:

  • A dedicated Helpdesk queue for Windows 7 dogfood issues
  • An improved Helpdesk documentation process for issue analysis and problem management
  • Detailed root-cause analyses and top-incident reporting
  • A new bug management process for driving, tracking, and reporting bugs

Communications Improvements

MSIT recognized that effective communications were an important part of a successful deployment. To improve communications, MSIT:

  • Created weekly newsletters for dogfood participants to drive education and evangelism of the new productivity-enhancing features
  • Created new online user guides, called WorkSmart guides, for areas such as setup, BitLocker, and FAQ
  • Made use of an internal Web site to post information on known issues, installation scenarios, new capabilities, WorkSmart guides, and other pertinent support information

Cost Savings and Improved Satisfaction

The Windows 7 deployment resulted in significant cost savings. The incident rate for operating system support went down by 42 percent, which is a huge drop by industry standards. The Microsoft Helpdesk also experienced lower call-handling times. Not surprisingly, as support costs went down, the user satisfaction level went up. In fact, the user satisfaction level with the operating system rose to over 96 percent. Users experienced quick and easy network installations (under 25 minutes). Testing results and Helpdesk feedback also indicated large drops in performance issues and there was very high satisfaction around compatibility with third-party devices and applications.

Conclusion

MSIT deployed Windows 7 to approximately 100,000 users worldwide through its First and Best dogfood program. The Windows 7 deployment resulted in decreased operating system support costs due to incident avoidance and reduction in call times. Many factors contributed to the decrease in support costs, including self-help solutions through the new Windows 7 Action Center and online troubleshooters, easy migration of data through USMT 4.0 and Windows Easy Transfer, new networking technologies such as DirectAccess, BranchCache, and Agile VPN, greater out-of-the-box compatibility with OEM devices and third-party applications, and improved Helpdesk and communications processes. The overall customer satisfaction with the new operating system exceeded 96 percent.

For More Information

Please visit http://technet.microsoft.com/video/windows-7-end-user-experience-reduces-support-costs.aspx to see a multimedia presentation on the content of this article.

For More IT Showcase content please visit http://www.microsoft.com/itshowcase

The following table lists additional resources to learn more about Windows 7.

Resource

URL

Microsoft TechNet: Windows 7

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb687804.aspx#7

Windows 7 Home Page

http://windows.com/windows7

Enterprise Products: Windows 7

http://windows.com/enterprise/windows7

Microsoft Partner Network

https://partner.microsoft.com/windows7

Microsoft TechNet: Springboard Series

http://www.microsoft.com/springboard

For more information about Microsoft products or services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada information Centre at (800) 563-9048. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information through the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com

© 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft, BitLocker, BranchCache, PowerShell, Windows, and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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