Considering a Windows 7 deployment? Get the right tools to rationalize your applications before you start.

This is a guest blog post written by Dave Kawula, a Senior Consultant with 1E. Dave was the guest on our January episode of the AlignIT Manager Tech Talk where we talked about how IT managers can take the risk out of their Windows 7 deployment projects. Here Dave outlines a key strategy to employ at the very beginning of your project and some of the tools that you can use.

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As the clock keeps ticking towards end of support for Windows XP we need to find ways to accelerate our Windows 7 Migrations. Just because you accelerate your Windows 7 Migration you don’t have to increase your budget. In fact what if you could do the opposite…accelerate the project and reduce cost.

Wait a minute – this is an IT Project. The words “reduce costs” don’t really exist in a typical IT Project. Well maybe they can…

Most Windows 7 Projects I have seen project over 80% of the costs for that project on Application Packaging and Remediation. What if there was a way to have an organization quickly rationalize their deployed applications. What if there was a way to remove unused software from a desktop prior to the migration.

I can sum it up in one word: “Rationalization”.

Well there are a couple of tools out there that can help us out with this. One is the Application Compatibility Toolkit “ACT” from Microsoft. It is a great tool that allows us to gain insight into our organization. This unfortunately requires an agent to be deployed on the workstations and requires us to scan them to see what is installed. Then pull the information back to a central database and try to analyze what is deployed.

The second tool is one that many of you will already own and have probably deployed. Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager has a software metering component that will allow us to use simply scan the machines using the Configuration Manager agent. One problem this requires a lot of configuration and won’t automatically pull back unused software to keep licensing in check.

The third tool is one from 1E Software call AppClarity. You can checkout a link to this product here: 1E AppClarity I have personally seen AppClarity give money back to an organization in less than 60 Days after the acquisition of their software. Think about it…why waste money getting shelfware or unused software ready for your brand new Windows 7 Desktops. Once again “Rationalize” not only the amount of software that needs to be migrated to the new platform but also the amount of work.

Checkout the screenshot below of this software package. It has revolutionized the way I approach Windows Migrations.


So in my perfect world that I live in I need a tool that will do the following for my Windows 7 Project:

Product Rationalize Applications

Provide Detailed License Utilization Information

Provide an intelligent Reclamation Engine Quantify the amount of Wasted Software for Management
System Center Configuration Manager Yes — but requires customization through rules Yes – there are good built-in reports for Microsoft Products // Need to build reports for third party software No – It can be done but needs to be manually configured or customized with Scripts No – It can be done but reports would need to be manually configured

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit

Yes – Built in Database and Rules from Microsoft are extensive and give a good snapshot of an organization – Requires anNo agent to be deployed on end workstations No No No
1E AppClarity Yes – Connects to existing SCCM database information and almost instantly provides a snapshot in a readable format Yes – Extends on existing Configuration Manager information and has an intelligent import wizard to allocate licenses an organization owns. Yes – Extends the functionality of SCCM by providing uninstallers for software that has been identified as unused or prohibited. YES – Built-in Reports quantify the amount of software waste organizations have. Most organizations can fund a large portion of their Windows 7 Project by simply reducing Software Waste.

If you can drive cost savings at the start of this project you will be well on your way. Gartner has estimated that it costs on average between $1000.00 to 3000.00 + per desktop to migrate to Windows 7. Most of this cost comes from the work required to migrate unused applications. What if you could get back all that time and save hard dollars by removing shelfware before your projects starts. This makes your project sponsors very happy and allows you to accelerate this project.

Deployment costs reduced by 30 % simply by “Rationalizing” the number of applications that need to be ported to Windows 7 and automating the delivery mechanisms for the images. You could easily save over $90,000 in soft costs out of the gate.

Reduce the amount of Software Renewals, Support, Deployment, and licensing costs. Once again we “Rationalize” all of our apps. Assume a 50% savings for your organization what does that return? How about an estimated 1 /mil + savings in hard and soft costs. By the way – now that you have a tool that helps rationalize this – think of the savings the next time the licensing police come visit you.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I welcome any feedback or if you want to share your experiences with your Windows 7 projects thus far.

About Dave Kawula

clip_image002Dave Kawula is an MCSE and CNE with over fifteen years of experience in the IT industry and a senior consultant with IE. His background includes data communications networks within multi-server LAN/WAN environments. He has experience with project management, network strategic planning, network design and integration. He has led the architecture for NT, SMS/SCCM, Exchange and Internet Gateways, including managing migration paths and issues as well as implementation. He has supported a variety of network infrastructures as well as architecting and defining technical standards.

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