I got a number of questions both in this blog and in e-mail as a result of writing about the first big Windows 7 deployment. I thought it might be more interesting to address them in another post. The biggest question was how much does it cost to roll the product out, and one analyst posted a crazy number, so I figured I'd ask Baker Tilly. It turned out this was audited and reported in a study by Gartner.
In addition, I assumed since Dell was involved, it rolled out new hardware. It didn't, and this makes the energy and support savings more interesting. Finally, I left out a major partner that made this solution work more quickly, and that was Computer Associates. One of the reasons Del Monte hadn't deployed was because the Microsoft tools it wanted to use weren't ready yet, so Baker Tilly used CA Unicenter and was very pleased with the help CA provided.
Getting to $26 Per Desktop
Like many enterprise customers, Baker Tilly has Software Assurance, which means it has rights to a variety of desktop products covered by a renewable contract. Like most, this means it has pre-paid for Windows 7, and that eliminated the software charge. It also found that Windows 7 ran on 4-year-old Dell hardware, which is why Dell was involved, and the company believes it might be able to get five more years out of this hardware by upgrading to Windows 7. It didn't see a need for additional performance.
Baker Tilly used CA Unicenter, which it had also already purchased, to centrally manage the rollout and, using current exchange rates, this means it spent $56,000 for 2,200 PCs migrated to Windows 7. Most of this money was spent for tests and to get existing software to comply with the new operating system. This means its net additional cost worked out to $25.45 per PC over what it was already paying for services under the Software Assurance program.
$261 to $852 Savings Per Year Per Desktop
Baker Tilly stated it was saving around $161 a year in energy and services. It listed these as improved network access, automated deployment ($51) and management ($82), and PC power ($28) savings. This would work out to a nearly 700 percent return on investment, which might explain why so many companies are suddenly so interested in Windows 7. But this savings does not take into account the extended service life of hardware that it otherwise would have had to replace. That would be an additional $100 to $400 a year (depending on the cost of the hardware it would otherwise purchase) in capital cost savings.
In addition, given this was an aging XP base, there was a measured productivity improvement of two days for each worker (estimated at $591). Because Windows 7 (and Vista, actually) can be patched more easily in the background, this is the estimated aggregation of time workers would otherwise be waiting for their systems to be patched and rebooted. That's a total of $852 per desktop in savings as a result of an additional $26 investment.
Baker Tilly and Gartner provided these numbers.
Wrapping Up: With Windows 7 Your Results Could Vary
I can recall years ago when AT&T folks came over to a shop where I was working and told us that Windows 95 would save us $1,000 per desktop per year. Given we were only tracking $400 per desktop per year, I asked them if they planned to write us a check at year's end. Needless to say, we didn't use AT&T and while we did eventually move to Windows 95, we never saw $1,000 in savings.
Baker Tilly is a snapshot of what is possible in an environment where a key part of the rollout of the product was a locked-down desktop and solid central control. My expectation is that, were this control not in place, these savings would be substantially reduced. Still, even substantially reduced, these results are rather compelling, and it will be interesting to see if any additional companies can match them.
The other interesting thing is that while early adopter companies often get special support, they also often get the biggest number of problems. Baker Tilly indicated it hadn't seen any really major ones, which is very unusual for a company deploying this early. But it likely points to the fact that Windows 7 is a maintenance release and resides on top of and benefits from the years of Windows Vista experience. That means that this product probably is as good as Baker Tilly seems to think it is.