Tube Lines, the company that maintains and upgrades infrastructure on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly London Underground lines, is offering staff big discounts on Microsoft Office 2007 to build up support for its migration to the Windows Vista operating system next year.
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The company is planning a 2,500-user roll-out of Windows Vista in the third quarter of 2008. It plans to renew all desktop PC hardware and install Office 2007, Sharepoint Server and Microsoft Exchange 2007.
Tube Lines is offering staff the Microsoft Office 2007 Professional suite, which normally costs more than £350, for £17 under its Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft. Three hundred staff have signed up in the first eight weeks.
"We are making sure as many people as possible take advantage of the £17 offer so that they get used to the software," said Adrian Davey, head of IT at Tube Lines.
The offer will build up support among end-users for the migration and reduce their learning curve, he said. "If we reach our target of 70% take-up by May 2008, then the change process becomes easier," he said.
The company has been planning its migration from Windows XP Service Pack 1 to Windows Vista since the fourth quarter of 2006.
Davey has used the Apptitude tool from software and IT service supplier Camwood to identify which of the company's 211 applications could cause compatibility issues under Windows Vista.
Davey also plans to take advantage of other benefits Microsoft provides with its Enterprise Agreements, such as free training and consulting.
Tube Lines has joined Microsoft's Rapid Deployment Programme to gain early access to Windows Server 2008, and Davey is evaluating how the Terminal Service feature it offers compares to the company's existing Citrix implementation.
For the past three months Davey has been running a 30-user proof of concept to optimise the configuration of Windows Vista for Tube Lines' applications.