Home Group has just completed a major desktop refresh programme across its 250 sites with the help of European Electronique.
Beginning in October 2008 and ending in February 2009, the aim of Home Group’s programme was to provide a consistent operating system and IT environment across the organisation to reduce maintenance and support. In common with many organisations, Home Group PCs and laptops had been replaced over the years without consistent procurement policies, resulting in a wide range of machines across the group, with many different operating systems and images.
The plan was to ‘re-image’ existing and new networked machines (approximately 1200) with a common image. Where possible, Home Group wanted to keep as much of the existing equipment as possible, only replacing those machines with an unacceptably low specification.
After Home Group had selected HP desktop PCs and laptops for the standardisation of new equipment, the scope of works was extensive. It included the transfer of customer data from PCs while they were re-imaged and then transferred back again, the supply and delivery of 350 new PCs (and their subsequent imaging and tagging), the re-installation and testing of all local approved software and printers, re-asset tagging of all existing PCs, monitors and printers, and a full equipment inventory. The project scope also included communicating and scheduling all site visits, providing documentation packs for both customer sites and engineers, pilot site implementations, and final implementation at the remaining Home Group sites.
European Electronique used Rico Parts Point, with its network of 150 collection and delivery points across the UK, to deliver, collect and store equipment using a pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) system. Mike Ahlgren from European Electronique said, “One of the reasons why Home Group chose European Electronique was our proposal to use a PUDO delivery service. This ensured that the right equipment was delivered to the customer site at the right time. Many sites only had one member of staff at any one time and the PUDO service meant they were able to continue working uninterrupted right up to the install date.”
The PUDO service was also used to store Home Group’s old equipment in a secure environment overnight, ensuring the protection of any personal data stored on it. The hardware was then stored for a further 30 days at European Electronique’s premises to ensure that data was retrievable from the old machine in case of any unexpected data transfer problems. After 30 days, all the machines to be disposed of were wiped of any data to a standard agreed with Home Group, prior to disposal through Euro Recycling.
The project began in October 2008, with each site contacted two weeks before the proposed install date. The project coordinator stayed in touch and following email confirmation of the date, contacted the site again 24/48 hours beforehand to ensure that there were no last minute hitches. The final sites went live during February 2009.
Kieran McLaughlin, senior project manager, Home Group, said, “I received lots of good feedback from our customers praising the attitude of the European Electronique engineers on site. I am absolutely delighted with the work that European Electronique has done over the last 3-4 months. Our European Electronique project manager has worked very hard to keep the project moving forward and has delivered the project ahead of schedule.”