When Shaun Mundy joined global engineering consultancy Buro Happold as group IT director, it was using a disparate mix of 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP desktops to run its various computer-aided design (CAD) and niche engineering software applications.
"It's a very centralised environment and very standardised. We have done a lot of work over the past few years and are now at about 85 per cent Windows 7, 64-bit," said Mundy.
"One of the things that made it easy for us to move to Windows 7 was the performance improvement we got at 64-bit over XP, which was as much as 30 per cent," he added. As a result, staff were very willing to make the move.
Behind the scenes, Mundy also deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server along with Polycom's HD Telepresence and Video, providing voice and video to the desktop. As a result, staff across the world can communicate and work together on complex designs without having to pick up a phone, let alone get on a plane.
At the beginning of June 2012, Mundy also implemented Microsoft Lync to improve the levels of collaboration with partner organisations.
"We are using Office 365 to enable some of our partners to work with us, federate with us, and to be able to see when our people are available. But we do that on an as-needed basis. We pay the utility rate for Office 365 for partners as they come in and work on a project or drop out," said Mundy.
However, the decision to move from Windows 7 to Windows 8 is less clear cut.
"We haven't been involved in any early adoption of Windows 8. I don't think that would have done us any good. We will wait, see and try Windows 8 in that space first. We are not going to jump just because it's Windows 8," said Mundy.
He added: "Our thoughts are that it's very much about the tablet. I don't see any great performance improvement, but the Metro interface is something we're interested in looking at and the tablet devices we expect to see will provoke a lot of interest."
Tablet computers are primarily used within Buro Happold for document review, but the hybrid devices being touted by a number of vendors might be useful at a company like Buro Happold where everyday collaboration among staff is key.