The desktop features of the new OS, such as the revamped taskbar, are not usually mentioned as enterprise benefits. However, Huber envisions improved worker productivity with features like thumbnail previews, which allows for quicker switching between applications.
Huber also expects Windows 7 will further promote efficiency via its speedier startup times and improved memory management.
"Windows 7 uses its resources well and starts the applications perceptibly fast," he says. "This will make the upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 easier than it would have been with Vista."
Huber adds that BMW will be using XP Mode, a free virtualisation feature for enterprises in Windows 7 that runs older XP-only applications through a Microsoft virtual machine containing a licensed copy of Windows XP SP3.
"With the help of application virtualisation features like XP Mode, whatever software we have that is still not compatible with Windows 7 can be further used as we roll out the new OS. We can migrate legacy applications immediately and establish Windows 7 readiness later," he says.
Enterprise Features = More Efficient Users
Huber's department is also responsible for connecting PCs, phones and other devices to the corporate network and handling the patch management and security of all devices and applications.
BMW plans to use the Windows 7 security and networking enterprise features that work with Windows Server 2008 R2, which will release the same time as the client OS. Huber says that plans to deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 are well under way in order to use "the full potential of Windows 7."
Huber highlights features tailored for BMW's mobile workers such as DirectAccess, a networking tool that eliminates the need for VPNs, BranchCache, which speeds up networks in remote offices by caching files locally; and BitLocker To Go, an encryption feature that protects portable devices such as thumb drives and external hard drives.
"These features will give BMW IT more efficient remote management abilities and will replace third-party products which must be purchased," he says.