With three distributed locations, a flexible working policy, over 150 applications, and 350 users to support, the IT team at Montferland relies heavily on productivity tools. As Hans Volbeda, Senior IT Manager at Montferland council, explains: “As a long-term Novell®, now Micro Focus, customer we have always used GroupWise® as our email solution of choice. Our council is the result of a merger in which the other party used Exchange. When we compared the two solutions, it soon became clear to us that we would standardize on GroupWise for the newly formed council. It is a secure and stable solution which is always available and easy to administer. We particularly benefit from the calendar sharing functionalities, as meetings are often organized centrally. All calendar entries are automatically synchronized with mobile devices which supports productivity.”
In a distributed work environment, it is important to have central control in IT management. Data security is of paramount importance, given the sensitive nature of many council documents. Volbeda and his team need to ensure that data is shared securely, and is always kept in-house. With a new upgrade to Windows 10 and a replacement of most of the 300 work stations around the council locations, having automated tool support is key.
Montferland has long relied on ZENworks for its central IT management requirements. ZENworks Configuration Management is used to register all desktops and mobile devices. PCs are imaged in ZENworks Configuration Management and all application objects and configuration bundles are managed through it. This is particularly helpful for company-wide updates, as Volbeda comments: “It is important to us that our users remain fully productive, and so we don’t want them to spend time installing applications. We can easily adapt a ZENworks bundle for the whole organization, and within a short time it is implemented for all users. Users love the performance they receive, and we love the fact that we keep central control over our IT strategy.”
When new staff join the council, their hiring manager simply notifies the IT department of the applications they need access to. This varies per department, as the council manages over 150 different applications, for permit applications, driving licenses, passports, benefit payments, refuse collections, etc. The new user is connected to the correct Active Directory (AD), given their AD credentials, and they are up and running from the moment they arrive.
Having mobile phones included in ZENworks provided peace of mind for Volbeda: “It is great to have mobiles included in our central overview and management. If a device is ever lost, I can simply wipe any data remotely, with no security risk.”
Micro Focus Filr proved an effective solution to Montferland’s data sharing requirements. Users don’t carry laptops, but instead simply have a keyboard, mouse, and AD credentials with which they can access their ZENworkscontrolled workspace at any of the organization’s desktops. However, for meetings it is often important to have access to files on-the-go. For this purpose, Volbeda issues iPads with Filr installed: “Our users simply log on with their AD credentials and have access to shared folders, as well as their home directory, for secure file sharing. This prevents our users leveraging cloud-based solutions such as DropBox and ensures our data remains inhouse, and under our control.”
When Micro Focus introduced ZENworks Suite, Volbeda and the team saw an opportunity to leverage more of the ZENworks elements at an attractive price point: “We have implemented ZENworks Asset Management to improve our asset inventory, although this is not in active use yet. We’re also evaluating ZENworks Service Desk and ZENworks Patch Management.”
The partnership with Micro Focus has been a positive one throughout the years, as Volbeda comments: “We like seeing the ongoing development in ZENworks. It gives us confidence for the future. Having an integrated IT solution has really simplified our business processes. For us it’s completely second nature by now, but when we host external consultants they often compliment us on our infrastructure, organization, and security.”
Having all aspects of IT management centralized through one interface gives a complete overview and control of all devices at work in the organization. Application bundles are personal to each user and they can work anywhere while enjoying the same speed and performance.
Volbeda concludes: “ZENworks Suite is a great match for our organization. It helps us be productive and efficient with a relatively small IT team. I look forward to putting our processes to the test further when we implement Windows 10 on our new workstations.”