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How to get the most out of your investment in Windows® 7
The choice to move to Windows 7 is more than a technology decision. It affects your bottom line, too. Here's how to get the most out of the transition.
Businesses that sat on the sidelines through the last major Windows operating system release are showing a new level of interest in Windows 7, and with good reason. Windows 7, particularly when running on Lenovo hardware, appears poised to set a new standard for performance and security at the enterprise level, and it arrives at a time when businesses are experiencing a spike in the costs of supporting the systems they've had in place for years. That's why for most organizations, the most pressing technology decision they are considering is when, not if, they should adopt Windows 7.

For financial decision makers, it can be tempting to look at the Windows 7 transition primarily as a charge against the bottom line — one that happens to occur in an extraordinarily difficult capital environment. But working in partnership with your technology team, you can use this as an opportunity to actually boost your bottom line. Because even in the face of some of the hottest new computing trends such as cloud computing and virtualization, PC-level engineering continues to have a significant impact on end-user productivity — which can pay big dividends in every department of your organization.

On its own, Windows 7 delivers many of these benefits. But with a few relatively simple moves, your organization can multiply the productivity and efficiency gains built into Windows 7 and brought to life on Lenovo machines. If you're focused on maximizing the ROI from your Windows 7 investment, here are some important tips for making it happen.

Get image-conscious
(it's not what you think)
When your technology team guides the transition to a new operating system like Windows 7, what is known as the "disk image" plays a big role. The PC image is all the pre-loaded basis software and configurations that govern how (and how well) the computer operates, connecting each user to a set of applications and a specific domain. If the operating system sings, the image provides the beat.

So what does this have to do with your bottom line? A lot more than it may initially seem. For starters, for any large organization it takes a tremendous amount of effort to evaluate different engineering approaches, design and test the image, create the optimal disk image for different groups of users, physically load the images on to individual machines, and route the right machines to the right people. And yet many organizations still elect to undertake this complicated task themselves.

Perhaps even more important, though, is the impact that the image can have on productivity at the user level. The right image design can transform all the raw benefits that come with Windows 7 into a breakthrough experience for individual users. But doing it right requires an intimate knowledge of all the intricacies of the Windows 7 operating system. The truth is, most organizations simply don't have this type of knowledge, nor do they really need it. Imaging initiatives only happen periodically and should not be considered a required core capability. Plus, they haven't worked with Microsoft at the engineering level. In fact, there aren't even a lot of PC makers who have worked as closely with Microsoft as an engineering-focused company like Lenovo has. Many PC makers were content to simply make sure their hardware worked with the new Windows 7 operating system as it prepared to launch. Not Lenovo. We worked directly with Microsoft engineers throughout the entire Windows 7 development process, not only ensuring that the new operating system would work with our hardware, but also testing, verifying, and helping improve the performance of the Windows 7 master image.

That's why so many organizations come to Lenovo to help guide and implement their imaging strategy. Our client list reads like a who's who of global Fortune 500 powerhouses. We have engineering-level insights into what makes Windows 7 sing — and we know how to make the software and hardware work together to create breakthrough performance and security advantages. In many ways, much of the engineering and preparation that has gone into optimizing the performance of Windows 7 is brought to life in the image design.

So the next time you meet with your counterparts in IT, surprise them — ask about their imaging strategy. You'll be glad you did. Because today, it pays to be image-conscious.

Make the connection between costs and processes
Making the transition to Windows 7 isn't simply a matter of making an enterprise software purchase and flipping a switch. A lot of work goes into a smooth deployment — everything from engineering time to hardware configuration and delivery. Which means a lot of the real costs of the transition are wrapped up in all the attendant processes required to make it happen. How your organization goes from the decision to adopt Windows 7 to the actual deployment makes a big difference to your bottom line.

There's also an important tactical consideration affecting cost. The image isn't just a piece of software that can be distributed electronically — in the end, it has to be physically loaded on to individual machines. Many organizations do this on their own, replacing the standard image that comes loaded on PCs with their own version. Loading the image in the factory, regardless of who designed the image itself, is a much more efficient approach than going the manual route and it saves the unnecessary step of loading a generic image that will only be wiped out to make room for the custom version. This probably isn't news to your IT organization. They've seen enough deployments to know that the right processes and automation tools are the key to a smooth, manageable transition. The bigger question is this: Does it make sense for your organization to develop these processes and automation tools? From an ROI perspective, the answer is no. Large-scale technology deployments simply don't occur frequently enough to justify such an internal investment. It's far better to have IT resources focused on other issues rather than gearing up for the next infrastructure deployment.

Still, many organizations are opting to go the internal route. Is yours one of them? If so, it may be time to challenge this approach before your organization becomes enmeshed in a massive, resource-intensive deployment initiative that could be handled much more efficiently — and with better results — by Lenovo Services.

Don't take performance for granted
Windows 7 delivers great performance — Lenovo benchmarks show it's faster than Windows XP on the same hardware. And that has a direct impact on productivity. But your team can lose that performance in real-world applications if you don't configure the operating system and install applications in a way that lets them complement one another. Optimizing the disk image is one way to get the most out of Windows 7. Another powerful way to improve performance is to apply Lenovo's Windows 7 Enhanced Experience offering — a certification only available on Lenovo products that consists of powerful features, tools, and optimizations specifically built for business, designed to improve boot and shutdown time and reinforce security. The result? When an Enhanced Experience approach is applied to Lenovo imaging, companies benefit from much faster start times. On select Lenovo Think PCs, Windows 7 starts up to 56 percent faster compared to running Windows XP or Vista, and shuts down in as little as five seconds. Consider the productivity gains when you spread those results over an entire organization. Enhanced Experience benefits can even improve performance and security on images not designed by Lenovo.

Along the way, you'll be delivering a better experience to the end users. Don't underestimate the impact that a responsive, lightning-fast computing experience can have on employee morale.

Make relationships work harder for you
One of the great things about Windows 7 is that it reflects years of feedback, insight, and collaboration from Microsoft's customers and partners. Lenovo has spent years working in tight partnership with Microsoft, sharing engineering insights and suggestions from a hardware perspective. And that relationship has kicked into high gear with the launch of Windows 7, leaving Lenovo uniquely positioned to deliver on the new operating system and its benefits through our imaging services and Enhanced Experience capabilities.

But sometimes companies still view Lenovo solely as their hardware provider, inadvertently overlooking the fact that our close relationship with Microsoft can deliver tangible results in terms of performance, stability, and security — results that in many cases would otherwise be out of reach. Plus, we bring the experience of having created thousands of images for millions of users around the world. We know how to make Windows 7 sing.

One lesson that many organizations have taken from the recent economic downturn is to lean more heavily on their partners to get more value from their relationships. If your organization isn't tapping Lenovo to deliver more value from the Windows 7 launch, you're missing out.

Invest in excellence
When your organization decides to make the leap to Windows 7, it will automatically be choosing to invest in improved performance and enhanced security. Many of these benefits come right out of the box. But organizations that take the next step and engage Lenovo to help lock in even more benefits in these areas are making a commitment to get the most value from their investment in Windows 7.

Lenovo has the scale and engineering muscle to make a big difference with a minimum of effort from your organization. That's a recipe for creating breakout value for your organization at a time when you need it most. Lenovo Services can help harness the advances made in Windows 7 in a way that makes a difference to your organization, to the individuals who make your business hum — and to your bottom line.
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Enhanced Experience PCs
IdeaPad U150
IdeaPad U160
IdeaPad U350
IdeaPad U450
IdeaPad U450p
IdeaPad U460
IdeaPad U460s
IdeaPad U550
IdeaPad V360
IdeaPad V460
IdeaPad Y450
IdeaPad Y460**
IdeaPad Y550
IdeaPad Y550p
IdeaPad Y560**
IdeaPad Y560d
IdeaPad Y650
IdeaPad Z360
IdeaPad Z460
IdeaPad Z560
IdeaCentre A300
IdeaCentre A600
IdeaCentre A700
IdeaCentre A710
IdeaCentre B300
IdeaCentre B310
IdeaCentre B500
IdeaCentre B505
IdeaCentre B510
IdeaCentre K300
IdeaCentre K305
IdeaCentre K320
IdeaCentre K330
Lenovo G450*
Lenovo G460*
Lenovo G550*
Lenovo G560*
Lenovo H220
Lenovo H230
Lenovo H305
Lenovo H310
Lenovo H320
ThinkCentre A58
ThinkCentre A63
ThinkCentre A70z
ThinkCentre M58
ThinkCentre M58e
ThinkCentre M58p
ThinkCentre M70e
ThinkCentre M75e
ThinkCentre M90
ThinkCentre M90p
ThinkCentre M90z
ThinkPad Edge
ThinkPad L412
ThinkPad L512
ThinkPad R400
ThinkPad R500
ThinkPad SL410
ThinkPad SL510
ThinkPad T400
ThinkPad T400s
ThinkPad T410
ThinkPad T410s
ThinkPad T500
ThinkPad T510
ThinkPad W500
ThinkPad W510
ThinkPad W700
ThinkPad W701
ThinkPad X100e
ThinkPad X200
ThinkPad X200s
ThinkPad X201
ThinkPad X201s
ThinkPad X301
ThinkPad X200 Tablet
ThinkPad X201 Tablet
ThinkStation C20
ThinkStation D20
ThinkStation E20
ThinkStation S20
*HD graphics support systems
**RapidDrive is an optional feature on Y560 and Y460
Look for the Enhanced Experience logo on our products in stores, or the EE icon next to our Enhanced Experience products throughout the site.
Learn more about Windows 7