Vodafone takes the XP path

Vodafone Australia is moving its front-end infrastructure to the new Windows XP operating system in the expectation the change will lower applications support and management costs at the desktop level while reducing total cost of ownership for its front-end IT network.

Peter Fleming, CIO of Vodafone Australia, said, "Vodafone seized the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by moving to the new operating system as an early adopter.

"With the technology market moving so fast, particularly in the telecommunications sector, it is critical to remain as up to date with technology as possible, and take advantage of the functionality it provides as early as possible," Fleming said.

Fujitsu will provide development assistance through its recently launched Fujitsu Microsoft Solution Centre. Fujitsu will replace two discrete environments, NetWare and an NT system, with a consolidated environment comprising a Windows XP front-end supported by a Windows 2000 Active Directory-based infrastructure for the mobile carrier.

The decision to move to the Windows XP over Windows 2000 was prompted by the new operating system's greater compatibility with applications used by Vodafone and the extension of the support cycle, according to Owen Thomas, manager of Fujitsu's Microsoft Solutions Group.

"When looking at Windows 2000 we found a problem integrating it with a legacy application used by Vodafone that we couldn't make work on the operating system," Thomas said. "We found in tests we could make more applications work inside XP than Windows 2000."

Windows XP allows applications to run in different modes to support different application types, he said. This was a deciding factor for Vodafone when it chose an operating system, because the telco uses numerous applications written for specific operating systems.

Other attractive features of XP, for Vodafone, include the security of data for mobile users, and the ability to manage the environment remotely.

According to Fujitsu, the migration to XP could decrease the recruitment overhead to support multiple operating systems by 11 per cent.

Through its solution centre, Fujitsu is testing more than 100 applications Vodafone intends to use on XP, from office productivity tools through to business-specific applications. Fujitsu has initiated a pilot program that should be completed in early January. If it is successful, the full deployment of XP to Vodafone Australia's 3000 users will follow.

Fleming said the new technology and the resources and expertise of the solution centre was compelling in its selection. He said Vodafone expects XP will deliver long-term cost and productivity benefits.

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