SanDisk's CIO Leverages SSDs to Enhance Employee Productivity by 35%

The rationale behind the SanDisk CIO's decision to replace the HDDs from the pool of laptops with high performance SSDs and why it worked.

As a storage solutions provider, SanDisk caters to a broad spectrum of the market – from mobile devices to data centers. Its flash memory technology ensures digital storage anytime and anywhere. The US headquartered company sells its products in more than 100 countries with manufacturing facilities in China, Japan and Malaysia. Sluggish Laptops Impacting Productivity The company had 4600 corporate laptops across its locations. As part of their configuration, the laptops had hard disk drives (HDD), which made them sluggish. The slow laptops were in turn impacting the productivity of employees across the organization. There were other challenges also with HDDs.  The disks crashed frequently, thereby adding to the annual IT labor cost. Besides, they also impacted the battery life of laptops. To overcome the bottlenecks, Ravi Naik, Chief Information Officer, SanDisk, decided to replace the HDDs from the pool of laptops with high performance SSDs.

“I am highly budget constrained, which means that I need to make sure that every dollar that I spend goes towards enhancing the productivity to my company and my users,” he says.
Eventually Naik decided to replace the HDDs with SanDisk X110 SSDs. A Phased Approach SanDisk's decision to embark on this important initiative was made after a careful benefit review and pilot study of performance improvements, and the projected secondary benefits. The SSD worldwide deployment program was spearheaded by IT and consisted of four distinct phases. The goal of Phase I was to clearly establish guidelines in order to measure the primary and secondary benefits of deploying SSDs to ensure a reduction in the TCO and a meaningful increase in ROI for SanDisk IT and the corporation. During this planning phase, SanDisk IT set the parameters for the SSD deployment, selected benchmark standards to measure performance, and estimated the cost and time required by both IT and SanDisk employees to complete the program. Phase II was undertaken to prove clear ROI, measure TCO and SSD benefits, including performance against installed HDDs and establish protocols for SSD ordering, distribution around the world, and support/training and documentation. The employees who were part of the pilot were asked to leave their computers with IT for no more than three hours. As an extra measure of precaution, all of the hard disk drives were catalogued and securely stored after the HDD data was transferred to the SSDs. Most IT laptops were upgraded with SSDs during this initial phase. With the initial success of the pilot, the company made the decision to create a company-wide corporate laptop SanDisk SSD standard. As part of Phase III, plans were put in place for full deployment, and, in addition, SanDisk IT worked with major computer manufacturers to deploy SanDisk SSDs as part of the Customer Factory Integration (CFI) process for all new laptops purchased for SanDisk internal use. In Phase IV, SanDisk IT was responsible for the execution of the program in all locations, except in the very small (one or two employees) global offices without IT personnel. In these cases, a point of contact was provided with precise instructions and, where needed, they would work remotely with IT engineers. In locations with IT employee(s), the swap-out cycle time improved to no more than 1.5 hours, and employees generally dropped off their laptops and retrieved them – loaded with their fully encrypted new SanDisk SSDs. The full rollout, to 4,600 employees, took about 20 weeks. Enhanced Productivity The replacement of HDDs with SSDs yielded several benefits for SanDisk.
The company was successful in enhancing employee productivity by as much as 35 percent as a result of nearly instant access to applications and increased uptime due to improved reliability. Since the SSD deployment, SanDisk benchmark tests showed that employees saved 24 seconds of unproductive time in faster boot process and 9 seconds in faster shutdown time. The battery life enhanced by 20 percent.
This is a significant productivity benefit for mobile employees who travel regularly. Besides, there has been increased reliability and endurance since SSDs consume low power, generate little heat and have no moving parts,” says Naik. The SSDs also extend the laptop lifecycles by 33 percent, from three years to four years. In SanDisk’s case, this can defer approximately $1.84 million each year and enable the delay of new laptop purchases until next generation processors and graphics are available. “The company also realized an 86 percent reduction in annual IT labor costs to evaluate, fix, and repair crashed or improperly working disks and recover lost data. The frequency of hardware-related service tickets alone issued by SanDisk's Global IT Help Desk has declined 59 percent since the beginning of the SSD deployment, from 8.5 percent of all Help Desk cases to 3.5 percent,” Naik added.


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