Microsoft Office 2010
Customer Solution Case Study
/ Dell Improves Analytics and Project Management with Early Deployment of Office 2010
Country or Region:United States
Industry:IT services
Customer Profile
Dell is one of the world’s leading computer manufacturers. Based in Round Rock, Texas, Dell employs more than 100,000 team members globally.
Business Situation
Dell wanted to address the challenges that employees experienced while performing analytics in dashboards and sharing time-sensitive meeting notes across geographically dispersed development teams.
Dell deployed Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to provide employees with improved dashboard analytics and collaborative note-taking.
  • Improves customer service
  • Generates dashboards
    75 percent faster
  • Streamlines project management during development
/ “With Excel 2010, it takes four hours a month to publish more data and requires fewer Excel Web parts—a 75 percent improvement in productivity. The hardware did not change, just the version of Excel.”
Scott Myers, Americas Service Delivery Manager, Dell
Headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, Dell is one of the world’s largest computer manufacturers, providing IT products and support services to businesses, consumers, and governments around the world. Dell strives to make IT more efficient for itself and for its customers, and the company consistently looks for ways to increase its quality of service and improve internal processes for efficiency. In December 2009, Dell Services joined the Rapid Deployment Program for Microsoft Office 2010 to preview how the latest capabilities could help its internal teams improve customer service and streamline project management processes. As of May 2010, Office 2010 has been deployed to approximately 1,200 Dell employees.


Ranked in the top 50 among the Fortune 500, Dell offers a range of IT products and services, including hardware, software, consulting services, support services, and managed services. Dell employs more than 100,000 employees at services, manufacturing, and design locations around the world. In late 2009, the Dell Services organization expanded to include Dell’s internal IT group to help the company, as well as customers of all types and sizes, solve problems and derive the best value from technology investments.

Call Center Dashboards

Within Dell Services, the Global Service Desk provides outsourced help-desk support to some of Dell’s largest customers. In the Americas region, the call center employs 275 agents. Each month, these agents and their managers review performance metrics in dashboards using Excel Services in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. With Excel Services, Dell agents can share workbooks in Microsoft Office Excel 2007 spreadsheet software through SharePoint portals and dashboards. The agents track compliance against contractual obligations, analyze efficiencies and staffing levels, and continuously look for ways to improve customer service. The Americas Service Desk improved its operations with this first version of a dashboard, but as the call center agents and managers became more comfortable with the dashboard and its data, they increased their requests for more information and analytical capabilities.

Scott Myers, a Service Delivery Manager for the Dell Service Desk in the Americas, is responsible for the data creation and administration of this agent-level dashboard. Myers explains, “As the call center teams wanted more analytical options, we began to run into limitations and time delays.” Compared to the actual Excel spreadsheets, which had numerous charts and condition formatting set up to help with visualization, the dashboards were perceived as “flat” or limited in visualization and analysis capabilities. In addition, the data was restricted to one month of historical data for performance and scalability reasons, which prevented the agents and managers from making decisions based on long-term trending and analysis.

The delivery team that created this data spent approximately 20 hours a month to pull the data together for the dashboards. Myers explains, “Large amounts of data are aggregated from multiple sources and then filtered, calculated, and summarized in Excel each month. We also had to constantly add new Web parts in SharePoint to provide the business with different slices or views of the same data.” The volume of data caused delays in the time it took to assemble and post the information.

Status Reports and Meeting Notes

As one of its top three global initiatives, Dell is enhancing the online customer experience in its eDell Internet commerce platform. To meet the aggressive timelines, a globally dispersed team of over 100 developers and testers from Dell Services are using the Scrum development methodology. Scrum is an iterative, incremental framework for software development designed to increase speed and flexibility. The process is facilitated by a ScrumMaster, whose primary job is to remove impediments that may prevent the team from delivering the sprint goal. A sprint goal is the outcome of two to fourweeks of intensive programming. “When time is of the essence, the strict framework of Scrum has proven to be successful within Dell Services,” says Max Ekesi, the eDell Commerce ServicesProgram Manager (in Agile development terminology, an Uber ScrumMaster).

For team communication during development sprints, the Scrum methodology calls for daily 20-minute status calls that include the full team, as well as two 20-minute weekly program calls for the development leads and ScrumMasters. Because the team covers a number of time zones, it has a short opportunity to meet and discuss the complex integration requirements of multiple applications within the eDell solution. Ekesi explains, “Scrum meetings are critical for us to discuss the dependencies across the global teams. However, we must keep these meetings short and concise so that we can optimize the development time during the sprints. Every minute counts.”

For the ScrumMaster and development leads, collecting and sharing status and meeting notes has become a time burden and distraction. Initially, each development lead prepared a status report and then sent it to the ScrumMaster for consolidation before each call. Then the development leads started posting statuses to their SharePoint wiki pages. “In either case, we spent valuable time looking for updates and then cutting and pasting them into a single place before each meeting,” says Ekesi. “If someone entered a status late, we would have to take time during these short meetings to find the status updates, which was distracting. After each call, I was responsible for distributing the meeting notes in an
e-mail message, which meant status updates were static and scattered throughout the team’s inboxes. We needed to reduce these extra steps and provide a collaboration tool for note taking that would keep our global team in synch.”


As part of a continuing commitment to provide technology that makes it easier for employees to work together and continuously improve customer service, Dell Services decided to participate in the Rapid Deployment Program for Microsoft Office 2010. In February 2010, Dell employees began upgrading from Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise and taking advantage of the communications and collaboration capabilities of Office 2010 Professional Plus combined with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. As of May 2010, Office 2010 has been deployed to approximately 1,200 Dell employees.

Pat Pitre, Senior Desktop Engineer for Dell Services, says, “We expect the total number of employees who are currently using Office 2010 to expand rapidly and reach approximately 60,000 employees within 18 months of release. Because we are using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, the Office 2007 and Office 2010 deployments are very similar, which eases the burden on IT.”

Dell employs a voluntary self-service deployment model that employees can use to install new releases on their own schedule from a portal site that is governed by System Center Configuration Manager 2007. Also, for a small percentage of employees who need to run multiple versions of Microsoft Office on the same desktop machine, Dell Services has a packaged solution for Microsoft Application Virtualization that helps minimize employee disruption. “Early deployment of Office 2010 is going really well. What started with a ‘buzz’ related to the new capabilities, has led to employees voluntarily downloading Office 2010,” says Pitre. “They can then immediately take advantage of new capabilities, such as the contact card that appears when you hover over presence indicators in Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, which improves communication within our enterprise.” The company also expects training costs and help-desk calls to be much lower with Office 2010 than with the previous migration to Office 2007.

Simplify Dashboard Analysis for
Dell Services Desk

The Dell Service Desk (customer IT help desk) in Americaswas one of the first groups at Dell to volunteer to deploy Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010. During the pilot of Excel 2010 and Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2010, the team immediately began to take advantage of new capabilities to improve data analysis for call center agent-level dashboards. Myers explains, “Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2010 opens up a tremendous opportunity for the agents and their managers to learn more from the data shared in the SharePoint dashboard. Rich visualization features, like conditional formatting, charts, and graphs from Excel 2010 files, are now available in Excel Services too. The biggest impact for us is the visual nature of clicking buttons to ‘slice and dice’ in the dashboard with the new Slicers feature in both Excel 2010 and Excel Services.”

Agents and managers use Slicers in Excel 2010 and Excel Services to help filter data in PivotTables and PivotCharts through an interactive Web part for Excel. Myers adds, “Because we work on multiple accounts and with multiple products, we can use Slicers as a simple graphical query tool to filter the data being viewed. The buttons in the Slicers even grey-out when no data is available in the selection. The end-user’s ability to filter the dashboard by agent, account, product, or some combination, is very powerful and helpful in addressing the performance objectives of the call center.”

The team is also taking advantage of the improved performance in Excel 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 to analyze more data. “With Excel 2010 and Excel Services, the dashboard can scale to give the agents a long-term glimpse into performance trends, and provide deeper analysis in a fraction of the time,” says Myers. With this wider time range of data, the team will also take advantage of the Sparklines feature in Excel 2010 and Excel Services. With Sparklines, the team can view small charts in a single cell and quickly discover patterns in service delivery and staffing levels.

Synchronize Shared Notebooks for Global Team Note Taking

In March 2010, the eDellCommerce Services ScrumMaster and development leads piloted shared notebooks in the Microsoft OneNote 2010 note-taking program and SharePoint Server 2010 to collect and share status and meeting notes. “During the pilot, we realized increased efficiencies by organizing and synchronizing information in a shared OneNote 2010 notebook. All leads can access a single notebook to enter status into organized OneNote folders and pages. During the 20-minute Scrum meetings, we can view everyone’s status and synch the shared notebook to see meeting notes captured in real time. After the meetings, everyone can easily access and search the meeting notes,” says Ekesi. OneNote 2010 also flags updates to shared notebooks with the author’s initials to help team members easily identify who made the latest changes. Ekesi concludes, “OneNote 2010 will be critical in our ability to optimize our time and share information during these time-sensitive sprints.” The team plans to adopt the OneNote 2010 solution once Dell Services deploys SharePoint Server 2010 to the organization.


With the upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, Dell expects to facilitate improved collaboration among its globally dispersed workforce in an effort to better serve customers. Early adopters are already experiencing improvements in customer service and employee productivity.

Improves Customer Service

Call center managers and agents in the Americas region benefit from enhanced visibility into agent-level data and metrics, which helps them work better together to improve customer service. Myers says, “With the improvements in Excel 2010 and Excel Services, the dashboard data is more powerful for sharing and analyzing on-going agent performance. Better metrics and analysis lead managers and agents to quickly identify and address areas for service-level improvements—resulting in higher-quality services for our customers.”

Generates Dashboards
75 Percent Faster

Dell takes advantage of performance improvements and interactive analysis tools, such as data Slicers, to drastically reduce the administrative time required to build the data in Excel 2010 and publish using Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2010. “Before, it took approximately 20 hours a month to prepare the agent-level dashboard. With Excel 2010, it takes four hours a month to publish more data and requires fewer Excel Web parts—a 75 percent improvement in productivity. The hardware did not change, just the version of Excel,” says Myers.

Streamlines Project Management

Dell development leads and ScrumMasters will use OneNote 2010 notebooks to reduce the time it takes to capture status, take meeting notes, and share status summaries with the team. With this collaborative note-taking program, Dell anticipates to improve its management efficiencies during development sprints. Ekesi says, “Every minute counts during development sprints. We expect shared notebooks in OneNote 2010 to save us valuable minutes and reduce distractions during and after our meetings. Synchronizing meeting notes into a single searchable location will also improve collaboration across our global development teams, which ultimately improves our ability to integrate applications across our development platform.”

With the upgrade to Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, Dell plans to build upon its office productivity infrastructure to better support employees and, ultimately, customers. Tom Piegat, Director of User-Centric Solution and Infrastructure at Dell, says, “When I look at Office 2010 and the role that it plays across our enterprise, I'm seeing the convergence of a variety of different technologies coming together and providing many common and valuable capabilities that we didn't see before. This ability for the applications in Microsoft Office to interoperate and share information is a primary driver for us to upgrade.”

Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 gives your people powerful, timesaving tools to do their best work from more places. With new capabilities and insightful updates to Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook, Office 2010 offers the complete package—with familiar, intuitive tools. Now you can express ideas, solve problems, connect with people, and create amazing results—in the office, at home, or on the go.

For more information about Microsoft Office, go to: