EDS intros Microsoft desktop management serviceElectronic Data Systems\u00a0last week unveiled a service to manage the deployment of Microsoft desktop applications and system software in companies and government agencies.Features of the offering, called\u00a0myCOE (my Consistent Office Environment), include giving end users the flexibility to choose applications for their desktop and a pricing model under which companies pay only for the services used, according to EDS.EDS' services contrast with the traditional approach of giving machines with the same configuration and application setup to users who do different jobs. This rigid approach and lack of desktop customization inevitably leaves some users with less functionality and others with more than they need.The new EDS managed service, which is based on desktop management software from Microsoft, has been designed for machines running the Windows XP operating system and Office XP and upcoming Office 2003 suites, says Carol Wyatt, global offering executive for EDS' Distributed Systems Service line. However, the service can be expanded to support other Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications and software, she says.MyCOE delivers applications and desktop services from a Web portal. From there, end users can pick and choose applications from a list compiled and approved by their IT department.That way, end users can configure their machines - desktop PCs, laptops, handheld computers - with the software they need. They can drop and add applications as their needs change.Companies pay for only the services and applications their employees use. This approach taps into an increasingly popular trend in IT of paying for software, hardware and services based on usage, just like one pays for utilities such as electricity and water. Big names such as HP and IBM have developed strategies for offering their clients "pay as you go" options.EDS built its myCOE service around Microsoft's Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) software.Free and available for download now from Microsoft's Web site, Solution Accelerator BDD is a desktop management tool Microsoft says can reduce XP, Office XP and Office 2003 deployment tasks by 75% through automation. Solution Accelerator BDD comes with scripts and templates as well as with documentation detailing best practices and guidance for deploying desktop applications and upgrades throughout a company.Perez is a correspondent with the IDG News Service's Latin America bureau.