All-American Sports Posters® (a division of All-American Publishing) focuses exclusively on helping high schools raise additional funding through uniquely designed full-color schedule posters, pocket schedules, and other products. Advertising local businesses generates revenue, while communicating vital schedule information to each school’s community. A percentage of the revenue is paid to the schools using a rebate system.
All-American has over 300 employees. Its small IT department struggled to keep up with the support demand, as Benjamin Hare, Network Support Technician at All-American, explains: “We run a central helpdesk and the logistics of it meant that if someone rang in with a problem, a technician would need to run over to their desk and fix the issue for them. There was no central repository of all the machines in use, and so the only way to help was to physically go and see them. While the technician was away from his desk, another five calls may go unanswered in the meantime. The reputation of our helpdesk was not great, and things came to a head when we needed to roll out 150 new computers to our sales force. There was just no way we could configure and distribute them all, and we knew we needed some help.”
The IT fleet consists of Windows clients, without an Active Directory domain set-up. In this scenario there are a couple of automated configuration tool options, but ZENworks Configuration Management for unified endpoint management soon stood out as the most cost-effective solution. Benjamin had worked with ZENworks in previous roles and had implementation experience: “Having worked in environments without ZENworks, I’m staggered at the amount of resource waste and frustration I experienced trying to do a good job. As soon as you show an IT department what is possible using ZENworks, they can’t believe the efficiency gains.”
ZENworks Configuration Management was implemented to manage close to 200 devices. These are managed both directly and by user identity. The direct devices are set up by department and standard bundles and policies are easily applied to manage upgrades or new machines. The devices managed by user identity typically belong to mobile users. Their policies, printer set-up, etc. follow them. User identity device management is set up using job roles.
Creating a test environment through ZENworks Configuration Management has proved particularly useful. Benjamin describes a recent scenario: “One of our user’s computers died. Previously, this would have meant an outage of two days while we configured a replacement machine. With ZENworks we already had a replacement configured on our test bench. We used imaging bundles to deploy the relevant applications, and policies to configure the laptop appropriate for this user’s role. We also used ZENworks Endpoint Security Management to apply the correct security policies and the user was up and running again within an hour. A massive productivity gain.”
ZENworks really came into its own when All-American decided to open a satellite office. Management wondered if this office would need its own local IT staff and helpdesk, but using ZENworks Configuration Management, Benjamin and the team manage everything remotely. The set-up of the new office was easily done and the solution is fully scalable and ready to cope with further expansion.
An ongoing migration from Windows XP to Win7 and Win10 is also managed through ZENworks Configuration Management and Benjamin is very clear that these would be time-consuming and complex projects without the automation and standardization ZENworks has brought to All-American.
Benjamin on the benefits: “ZENworks has given us an agility we didn’t have. As an IT department we were reactive and it felt like in constant firefighting mode. Now, our increased efficiency allows us to be much more proactive and think about how we add value for our users. We made changes to our helpdesk management which has transformed the perception of IT within the company.”
He concludes: “The support from Micro Focus® has been amazing. The ZENworks team is really responsive and has hands-on IT administration experience which means they completely understand where I’m coming from. We’re delighted with our results and look forward to deploying further parts of the ZENworks portfolio.”
Having worked in environments without ZENworks, I’m staggered at the amount of resource waste and frustration I experienced trying to do a good job. As soon as you show an IT department what is possible using ZENworks, they can’t believe the efficiency gains.