"Connectivity: DirectAccess and BranchCache are 2 features that greatly improve the connectivity feature-set of the new OS.
Direct Access allows mobile users to securely connect to the corporate network without a VPN client provided the organization has a Windows 2008 Server R2 backend in place. The cost savings here come from the fact that the organization no longer needs to have a VPN solution in place. More so, however, is the fact that IT can push out updates/patches and general service to laptops regardless of whether or not they are connected via VPN to the corporate network. DirectAccess basically creates a secure connection between the client and the corporate network as long as there is an internet connection, resulting in easier pushes for IT and, generally, more efficiency.
BranchCache is another great feature for organizations with branch offices. BranchCache basically caches large, often-accessed files on intermediary servers at the branch location, drastically reducing bandwidth costs as other users in the same office look to retrieve the same files. The reduced bandwidth usage should result in some cost savings for the organization.
Security: On the security side, Microsoft has included BitLocker and AppLocker technology with Windows 7, improving the OS’ current security offering.
BitLocker encrypts the contents of hard drives on desktops and laptops that have Trusted Platform Modules embedded in hardware. It’s also capable of encrypting and protecting removable media, relieving IT of the burden of often lost or stolen USB keys.
AppLocker allows IT to exercise control over the applications users are allowed to install and run, decreasing the potential for malware infections and providing more control regarding compliance. The functionality secures applications at the digital signature level, ensuring that users can update/install their own updates to allowed software, freeing IT to deal with more support-intensive issues.
We are seeing (Windows 7) adoption across industries and verticals, but Business Services and Manufacturing tend to be leading the way.
From what we’ve seen at client organizations that have installed it, the implementation has been relatively smooth. End-users find the Windows 7 desktop interface to be very similar to XP and migrate to it rather quickly and with little training. The heavy lifting is in planning, preparation, and testing.
In terms of training end-users to use the new OS, our clients had success with setting up virtualized instances of the OS for users to 'bang' on before deploying it enterprise-wide."