Office 2007 Deployment: And so it begins...

I wish I could start this with “My name is Earl” but alas I cannot. My name is Paul Hughes, and for a short time, you will find entries on this blog written by myself as well as Cliff Saran.

But before I go further, it’s best to start off as to why these guest entries have come about.

Office: it’s one of those programs that most organisations cannot live without. That vital email, the presentation winning you that all important client, it seems that Microsoft Office is the underlying technology in most businesses today.

Now say you were in the position of deploying out Office 2007 to a number of users, say around 800 users. Now I would imagine right now you would more than likely use SMS in some form or push out Office 2007 via Active Directory with some ADM templates added for good measure to customise Office settings for users.

Sounds rather smart at the moment, let’s all go for tea and biscuits to celebrate a job well done!

But what if you don’t have either of those options, plus you had numerous other programs to deploy with it at the same time? That’s the challenge that will be presented here as we endeavour to deploy out the suite to the users over the next couple of months.

This venture first surfaced a while ago, the situation was presented where we needed to push out Office 2007 in a short space of time, with customisations and other add-ins, all at once.

We didn’t have the options of using System Centre as it wasn’t approved software for use internally. And we couldn’t use Active Directory to push it out because, as in many companies, the administration of AD is handled elsewhere and we could not add to any policies or import the templates.

So in essence, to achieve all this, we used the KIX logon script so that Office and all the other parts are installed when the user signs in.

This time we are in the position of deploying out to users, not only in different companies at once but in different locations across the country.

One of the main requirements is that the installation process need no user intervention, which as we all know is basically the fancy way of saying “make sure they can’t break it while it’s doing things.” Pretty understandable, as the last thing you need during a mass rollout like this, is for Michelle or Michael to start pushing buttons that could alter the install process so they miss out on functions being installed at the time.

As well as Office as stated above, the other requirements are to deploy some custom office ribbons for functions and some help files provided by Microsoft to show where functions are within Office after the upgrade.

Hopefully during the course of my posts over the project, you will be able to find information that might aid you if you face a similar scenario, such as discovery of existing issues with Office in use, deploying files and how to ensure – as much as possible – that the scripts can recover from any issues which arise.

It’ll be fun! :) 

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