Network World Announces 18th Annual User Excellence Award Winner Royal & SunAlliance USA Demonstrates IT Ingenuity For First-of-its Kind Self-service XP Upgrade

SOUTHBOROUGH, MA – NOVEMBER 15, 2002 – Network World, the Leader in Network Knowledge, named Royal & SunAlliance USA (R&SA USA) the winner of its 18th annual User Excellence Award.


R&SA USA earned the 2002 award for performing a first-of-its kind network-based self-service upgrade to Windows XP for thousands of local and remote users. Simultaneously, R&SA USA put in place the technology foundation that is making it possible to implement a cutting-edge identity management system at a fraction of the typical cost associated with such large-scale enterprise security projects.

R&SA USA's award-winning project required the company's chief network executive and the newly-hired CTO to upgrade nearly 7,000 Windows 95 PCs to XP while the network staff simultaneously rolled out a new directory services architecture upon which the company is building its identity management system. In addition, the network team switched to a new software distribution server, certified 400 applications for immediate use with XP, and implemented self-service password management. The IT staff modified XP's self-installation feature, performed other customization tasks, then relied on the network to push the install program to the users' PCs where they performed their own backup, restore and operating system upgrades. Within a mere four months, R&SA USA accomplished the unheard of with all of its nearly 7,000 desktops upgraded by their users, saving $1.5 million in contract labor expenses.

"Network World's User Excellence Award honors enterprise network projects that stand as examples of how Network IT Executives use and adapt technologies or apply new infrastructure technologies to solve business problems," states Beth Schultz, Signature Series editor. "This year's winner demonstrated tremendous creativity an ingenuity leveraging network technology while turning infrastructure folks into corporate stars as employees gained a better understanding of IT processes."


Two companies earned runner-up honors in the prestigious User Excellence Award competition. Wells' Dairy wins for a convergence project that will allow plant personnel and company executives – in, around and outside the headquarters city – to conduct daily production and business meetings via IP video sessions. With this technology investment, Wells' Dairy has brought travel expenses under control and has seen an improvement in productivity as company personnel gain huge time-savings.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was commended for implementation of an immense enterprise content delivery network that combines IP multicasting and satellite technology to deliver distance-learning and telemedicine applications to its major medical centers across the country. This innovative project, serving 180,000 VA employees, allows the VA to meet federal and departmental training mandates while creating a better-educated workforce and reaping huge cost savings.

How the Winners are Determined

Network World editors evaluate User Excellence Award entries based on their business case, technology choice, costs and benefits achieved. Organizations are judged on how their networks mesh with their business goals. Winners are picked from a variety of industries, such as financial services, health care and manufacturing.

Network World features in-depth profiles of the winning projects, as well as a look at more than a dozen honorable mention winners, in the special edition Signature Series Best Issue and on Network World Fusion ( RS&A USA, Wells' Dairy and the VA will also be honored at an awards ceremony during the COMNET Conference and Exposition, January 28, 2003, in Washington, D.C. (

The annual Best Issue, winner of Folio Magazine's Gold Award for editorial excellence (2001), is a special edition issue highlighting the best of everything in the enterprise – from the best new products and services to the best practices in networking and best new ideas on buying, building and managing networks.

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