Car-maker Volkswagen Group has released details of a project to update desktop systems and reduced third-party applications by a third.

The manufacturer claimed a dependence on 18,000 third-party systems had been reduced to 600, as it consolidated desktop systems on to Microsoft Office 2010 for 60,000 PCs throughout the organisation.

The move is alongside a migration from Windows XP and Vista to Windows 7.

The project is part of an initiative by Volkwagen, called Global Workplace to help employees work more effectively together by standardising the desktop environment. As many as 500,000 employees could be affected by the initiative.

In a statement, VW head of client and communication technologies Dr Frank Plagge said: "We wanted to take a fresh comprehensive look at our technology and work together to focus it on our business goals."

The migration took less than four months.

"People from VolksWagen and Audi need to collaborate with colleagues almost anywhere in the world. We are talking and working much more closely together than we did before."