McKesson has been in the healthcare business for 175 years. Their diverse portfolio of core businesses include pharmaceuticals, supply distribution as well as direct care. McKesson also has a fast growing business in software and services. They provide the software that manages the client experience from patient check-in all the way through the healthcare claims process. They are the single largest company to supply these services in the healthcare industry.
The growing number of regulations complicate desktop deployment and the sheer number of employees across their global presence make desktop deployment and management a very complicated situation.
Since McKesson has so many diverse worker-types across all their core business groups, IT has struggled to create the appropriate desktop images and deploy/update technology in a timely and efficient manner. End users struggle with scheduled update times and in some scenarios lose data while updates are being performed.
In the future, McKesson is looking at adopting a “bring your own device” approach to allow end users to leverage their own devices. They will need a process for streaming or managing the applications and compatibility with those devices as well.
McKesson was looking for the technology to:
- Deliver a streamlined image with the potential to build necessary modifications for all worker types.
- Create a desktop image delivery solution that reduced downtime and increased end-user flexibility.
- Prepare their infrastructure for the potential of moving into the cloud in order to increase customer ease and satisfaction.
McKesson participated with Microsoft Services in a Windows 7 Accelerate Production Pilot Jumpstart (PPJ) to test a deployment of Microsoft Services Optimized Desktop on its internal laptops and desktops.
Using Windows 7 Accelerate PPJ, McKesson has developed the ability to take the Windows 7 enviornment and deploy effectively with their hardware lease program. Once they make the transition to their new Windows 7 platform, every PC they create from that point on will have the most up-to-date and secure applications.
Remote users, nearly 7,000 of them, also benefit from a streamlined process without having to travel into an office. The solution provides these remote users with a USB drive and a network cable. The end user has the capability to plug the drive into their PC/laptop at their convenience and simply “plug and play” the installation. The installation upgrades their existing sytem to Windows 7 then automatically reinstalls all their data and applications.
“It is working flawless,” says Ron Burnett, VI IT Operations and Support, McKesson.
Single Desktop Image
Going into the Windows 7 Accelerate PPJ, McKesson discovered nearly a thousand unique desktop images across their end user base. During the assessment phase, they narrowed these down to roughly 200 different images. However, 200 is still a huge number of unique images and makes deployment, updating, and management complicated and expensive.
The Windows 7 Accelerate PPJ narrowed down and replaced nearly 28 images with what they are calling a “thin image”. To begin with, each images is given Windows 7 and then other tools are applied by the software distribution tool based on the end user profile.
"The biggest value was in changing the paradigm on how we do imaging," cited a McKesson IT manager. "When we instituted new hardware in the past we would have had a lot of work to do - we didn't have a single image. Now we have a McKesson certified PC and can deploy a single light image from which we can then layer applications."
Partnering with Microsoft Services to participate in a Windows 7 Accelerate Production Pilot Jumpstart provided a desktop image creation, update and deployment methodology that reduces the strain and cost of IT support as well as increase flexibility for end users.
McKesson runs nearly 38,000 applications across their organization—either purchased or internally developed. A key struggle has been to maintain compatibility and simply managing all the vendor updates and patches.
The new Windows 7 “thin image” approach allows McKesson to maintain, update and test the updates in a virtual environment, then simply stream the updates to users. New desktop images will be created automatically based on the profile and testing success—meaning compatibility issues will be significantly reduced and deployment of new desktops will be streamlined and much more cost effective. “We believe we can maintain currency of the applications and security patches like we’ve never been able to achieve before,” says Burnett.
End User Satisfaction
In the Windows 7 PPJ, McKesson has included nearly 400 different end users. They have encouraged feedback troughout the program and feel that improvements have already been made due to the collaborative process. “Overall they are very pleased with it.” Burnett says, “the greatest feedback we’ve received is the positive input around the flexibility it provides our end users to deploy updates.” Rather than losing their PC for days to IT for updates, they simply plug in (through the network or USB depending on worker type) and update at their convenience, losing no productivity.
Having completed the Windows 7 Accelerate Production Pilot Jumpstart, Burnett describes three key recommendations for organizations considering this engagement.
First, get started quickly, and get caught up. Optimize on the existing platform quickly.
Second, do it with your service providers in a collaborative process. Create new and creative process that best maximize your desired capabilities. Use your refresh cycle to introduce the platform, whether you lease or own your PCs.
Finally, consider using a “thin image”. It provides a very flexible foundation for building advanced capabilities, introduce new capabilities, and towards the cloud, you will need a thin image.
For more information about how Microsoft Services can assist with a Windows 7 Accelerate Production Pilot Jumpstart, please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/enterprise/products/windows-7/deployment. aspx.