Keller Swiss Group has a rich company history, dating back to the mid 1800s. When technology became important to its business, it introduced a full IT infrastructure into each of the four locations around Switzerland, as Christian Fusser, Head of IT for Keller Swiss Group, explains: “We implemented Open Enterprise Server to deliver file, print, and networking services, together with GroupWise® for secure email communications, at all our locations. Our users were managed through an eDirectory and we began to see the benefits of collaboration across our company. GroupWise is easy to administer and the licensing structure worked very well for us. It is always available and we haven’t had any problems with it.
“However, as the years went on, having separate server environments at each location became impractical to manage. Our IT team was spending a lot of time traveling between the different sites and we realized having a replicated IT infrastructure everywhere wasn’t the most cost effective solution for us.”
Improved telecommunications made it feasible to introduce a virtualized infrastructure with a physical server located in the Basel headquarters, and the other locations just requiring a high speed internet connection and local desktops. This generated an instant hardware cost saving and made life a lot easier from an IT administration perspective.
To manage this virtualized infrastructure, Keller Swiss Group turned to Nakoma AG, IT implementation partner with a wealth of experience in realizing efficiency gains for its customers through the effective use of IT. Antonio Parrinello, CEO for Nakoma, recommended expanding the use of Micro Focus solutions: “For Keller Swiss Group we introduced ZENworks® Configuration Management to remotely support the IT infrastructure without having to travel so extensively between the sites. ZENworks gives us visibility into what runs on each machine or mobile device and we can centrally deploy setting changes or a patch release. We haven’t yet embarked on a larger scale project, a Windows upgrade for instance, but can definitely see the potential for that as well.”
Filr was implemented so that files, data, and network folders can be securely shared between employees in the different Keller Swiss Group divisions and locations. Part of its ISO certification stipulates that data and files need to be stored on premise, rather than through a cloud-based solution. Mr. Fusser could see the benefits instantly: “Filr is much liked by our users. It provides an easy way for us to always control our own data without any danger of version conflict. We are investigating extending the use of Filr to our customers and feel that’s where the real benefit will be for us.”
A new version of Filr integrates well with GroupWise with the ability to share files directly from the GroupWise client, adding transparency to the process as it will be instantly clear who has received what files.
Vibe joined the suite of Micro Focus solutions to provide a great collaboration platform. It gives a central repository where everyone can find process documents and project teams can collaborate through faster information sharing. Wikis are used to collect ideas and share knowledge, and process workflows ensure that users are more efficient. Mr. Fusser: “Transparency is key and Vibe is great for that. A central platform where everything is stored and where everyone can collaborate is just what we need to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently. The integration between Vibe and Filr works well for us in this respect.”
Other parts of the Keller Swiss Group run their IT infrastructure on Microsoft and Mr. Fusser can see a marked difference between the two environments: “The Micro Focus solutions are all stable and easy to administer. I can see the amount of time my colleagues on the Microsoft platform still spend on providing on-site support; time I can spend on adding value to our users and enhancing the functionality of our platform.”
Thankfully, Micro Focus and Microsoft platforms work together perfectly, so Keller Swiss has not had any OES incompatibility issues which were not easily solved with a quick patch, always timely provided by Micro Focus.
Mr. Parrinello adds: “We like the roadmap of the products and the new functionality on the horizon plays to an increasingly mobile workforce, which is something we all have to manage.”
Mr. Fusser concludes: “We can see a lot more potential for the Micro Focus solutions. They are already delivering cost and time savings for us, but will enable us to work even more collaboratively with our customers in the near future.”