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IT Showcase On: Microsoft Office 2010 Deployment

Quick Reference Guide

Microsoft IT Tests Pre-Release Versions of Office 2010 on More than 100,000 Clients at Microsoft


Download Quick Reference Guide, 136 KB, Microsoft Word file

Executive Overview

Situation: Starting with the pre-beta releases, Microsoft IT (MSIT) deployed Microsoft Office 2010 to its population of 89,000 full-time employees and 70,000 contingent staff. MSIT tested pre-release versions of Office 2010 on more than 100,000 client computers worldwide, resulting in a robust product that has been rigorously tested in a production environment.

Why You Should Care:

  1. Rigorous testing provided a strong feedback loop that resulted in a much-improved product.
  2. Other large companies can leverage the deployment best practices used by MSIT for their own deployments.
  3. MSIT developed a very effective method for testing Line of Business (LOB) application compatibility that conserved resources without sacrificing quality.
  4. MSIT also tested deployment tools to ensure that scenarios were fully tested.

Shared Goals with Office 2010 Product group

MSIT partnered with the Office 2010 product group on the following goals:

  • Test all critical LOB applications and mitigate 100% of the problems before deployment
  • Make sure that critical Microsoft Office product issues are resolved before release
  • Provide documentation on features, changes, and known issues in advance of each milestone
  • Document best practices and lessons learned
  • Test and validate deployment tools
  • Resolve top 10 support call drivers for each milestone before subsequent milestone delivery
  • Deploy multiple builds of Office 2010, with more deployments at each release.

Office 2010 Hardware Requirements

The minimum hardware requirements did not change between Office Professional Edition 2007 (previous supported standard) and Office Professional Plus 2010. This made the deployment easier because MSIT did not need to purchase new PCs or create an inventory of existing hardware.

Environment Analysis

MSIT used System Center Configuration Manager
2007 R2 to:

  • Determine the number of computers running Office 2007
  • Determine the number of computers running Windows Vista or the pre-release version of
    Windows 7
  • Determine the number of computers running 32 vs. 64-bit operating systems
  • Scan computers across the network for add-ins related to the deployment
  • Produce reports that identified whether software was successfully deployed to a targeted group and to target messages to users

LOB Application Compatibility Testing

  • MSIT targeted a small set (2% of application portfolio) of mission-critical Office-dependent applications for product validation testing.
  • The list of critical applications included high-usage and high-complexity examples, as well as applications known to experience issues with new Office releases.
  • Narrowing the list conserved resources without sacrificing quality.
  • Helpdesk call volume for LOB application-related issues was less than 1 percent.

Communication Among Groups

  • MSIT had biweekly meetings with the Microsoft Office product development team and monthly checkpoints with Microsoft executives.
  • The teams used Microsoft SharePoint® Server 2010 sites to publish a timeline that outlined all of the major milestone dates and deployment goals for each milestone.

User Communications

MSIT sent e-mail to employees to inform them when an updated version of Office 2010 was available. The messages included links to product installation pages, training resources, and community resources. The goal was to create excitement about the deployment.

User Education

MSIT provided the following training resources:

  • User Guides with known issues and top tips
  • FAQ
  • Demos and presentations
  • Instructor-led sessions
  • Brown-bag sessions
  • Installation fairs
  • Work Smart productivity guides (scenario based)

Customers can download and customize the Work Smart guides.

Helpdesk Readiness

Training the Helpdesk staff on new features saves resources. The FAQ that MSIT posted on an intranet site:

  • Helped to reduce the number of calls to the Helpdesk
  • Provided feedback to the Office 2010 product group
  • Provided a place to list additional self-help support tools

Building Office 2010 into Deployment Images

  • At the Office 2010 Beta milestone, MSIT added Office 2010 to the default image.
  • MSIT made Office 2010 the default choice for new installations of Windows 7, but users could choose between Office 2007 and Office 2010.
  • When the RTM version was released, MSIT replaced the image with the RTM version. MSIT did not deploy an image that contained the RC build.
  • MSIT's standard build/test and deployment cycle is two to three weeks from end to end.
  • MSIT used Windows Deployment Services (WDS) as the primary image distribution method worldwide.
  • For the Redmond campus, MSIT used System Center Configuration Manager Operating System Deployment (OSD). OSD technology enables more flexibility for managing the image components in the sequence and doesn't require a full build-test-release cycle.

Office 2010 Deployment Results


  • Over 50% of Helpdesk calls were related to user education and Setup assistance issues rather than product issues. This speaks to the high quality of the Office 2010 product.
  • The majority of the Helpdesk calls were issues related to upgrading from one pre-release version of Office 2010 to the next. Microsoft customers will not have this issue since they will be upgrading from a supported version of Office.

Deployment Metrics

  • Microsoft IT tested pre-release versions of Office 2010 on more than 100,000 clients at Microsoft. Office 2010 has been deployed to approximately 140,000 clients at Microsoft.

Deployment Best Practices

  • Anticipate the top client issues and address them in advance.
  • Educate users before, during, and after the deployment.
  • Use knowledge gained from Helpdesk calls to create self-help support tools.
  • Create deployment communications that are distinguishable from other corporate communications.
  • Train Helpdesk technicians before deployment.
  • Get stakeholder signoff on all possible customizations so that only relevant settings are modified.
  • Customize the deployment appropriately. Use caution in editing the Config.xml file since it takes precedence over other customizations.

LOB Application Compatibility Best Practices

  • Test critical Office-dependent LOB applications before deployment.
  • Focus on applications that use Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets or add-ins.
  • Plan and budget sufficient resources for testing.
  • Create a centralized application compatibility program with a dedicated testing coordinator.
  • Use an issue-tracking system and maintain an application portfolio database.
  • Enable application owners to perform testing.
  • Set schedules and create an internal Web site for communicating schedules.

Deployment Resources

User Education Resources

Available Deployment Methods for Office 2010




Used by MSIT?

CD/DVD or File-Based Installation

Suitable for users who are responsible for installing their own software.

Practical only for small organizations and remote users

Yes, used for small sites and remote users

Deployment Share

Simplest way to deploy over a network. Easier for smaller IT departments to implement.

Difficult to control which users install and when.


Windows Deployment Services/operating system image

Useful for global deployments

Requires a supporting infrastructure and appropriate technical expertise

Yes, used as the primary image distribution worldwide.

System Center Configuration Manager/OSD

Quickly deploys software to thousands of computers. Provides patch management, bandwidth control, and centralized monitoring. OSD technology enables more flexibility for managing the image components in the sequence and doesn’t require a full build/test/release cycle.

Requires a supporting infrastructure and appropriate technical expertise

Yes, used in the Redmond area

Group Policy Objects

Assigns specific startup scripts for starting an Office 2010 installation. Utilizes Active Directory® Domain Services and enables security updates.

Requires a supporting infrastructure and appropriate technical expertise.


Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010

Uses a deployment share for installation, but provides a console that enables predefined installation settings. Offers additional functionality that enables customers to configure Setup behavior.

Difficult to control and monitor which users install Office 2010 and when. Supports only first-time installations.


Microsoft App-V

Enables users to stream applications on demand to workstations. Provides centralized management of applications, roaming, and allows multiple versions of Office to coexist to help mitigate compatibility issues.

Requires supporting infrastructure, appropriate technical expertise, and increased bandwidth


Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services

Enables users to operate Office 2010 applications from their workstations. Offers centralized management of applications, roaming, and reduced network traffic compared to App-V.

Reliance of application availability on the network infrastructure. Possibly lower performance for graphic-intensive applications and documents


Available Deployment Tools for Office 2010



Used by MSIT?

Volume Activation

Helps protect license keys. Includes:

  • Key Management Service (KMS) for 50 or more computers regularly connected to an organization’s network
  • Multiple Activation Key (MAK) for computers that don’t connect regularly to a company network

MSIT used KMS.

Office Customization Tool (OCT)

Used to customize an existing installation

MSIT used OCT to include additional files and install additional programs alongside Office 2010.


Replaced the Setup.ini file starting with Office 2007. Takes precedence over all other Setup customization options, including OCT. It’s also the only way to add languages to an Office 2010 installation or to chain the installation of additional programs to the installation process.

MSIT used Config.xml to customize the pre-installation and post-installation tasks. For example, the team launched a Web page at the end of the Office 2010 installation that thanked the user for taking part in the early adoption and provided information on reporting bugs.

Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM)

Group of tools used to scan Office 97–2003 files for conversion issues, and convert older Office files to Office 2010 file formats

MSIT did not use OMPM because the majority of users were already running Office 2007.

Office Environment Assessment Tool (OEAT)

Free downloadable executable file that scans client computers for add-ins and applications that interact with Office 97 through Office 2010. Customers can use OEAT to assess applications that may require remediation before Office 2010 deployment.

MSIT did not use OEAT because the majority of users were already running Office 2007.

File Format Awareness Update and Compatibility Pack

Enables clients running Office 2003 to recognize new Open XML file formats introduced with Office 2007

MSIT did not use the Compatibility Pack because the majority of users were already running Office 2007.

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