To support remote users, Industry and Investment NSW uses ZENworks Suite for remote imaging, software deployment and support, reducing travel costs and accelerating desktop provisioning.
"Our IT helpdesk has seen the volume of standard operating environment-related incidents fall by 55 percent—so they spend less time troubleshooting, and users spend less time with their machines out of action."
Industry & Investment NSW
Industry & Investment NSW was established in July 2009 to assist in building a diversified state economy that creates jobs. The department has about 4,000 staff in approximately 170 locations across NSW, and several staff members overseas. Industry & Investment NSW brings together a number of former NSW Government departments and authorities, including the Department of Primary Industries, whose responsibilities included agriculture, mining and fisheries throughout the state.
Following a restructuring exercise, the former Department of Primary Industries required a single IT strategy capable of managing disparate systems used by the agriculture, mining and fisheries divisions.
"We have 3,000 PCs at over 130 sites that support the agriculture, mining and fisheries divisions," said Warrie Holman, Manager—Desktop Environment. "Our IT team had to visit these sites regularly to install new software and fix problems—and it could often be a five—or six-hour drive. All this travel was sapping our budget and reducing productivity; users often had to wait several weeks until an IT person was available to visit."
The department realised that by standardising its IT infrastructure for agriculture, mining and fisheries, it could improve efficiency and cut costs by managing IT support remotely.
The department was already using ZENworks in a limited capacity and realised that extending the use of this tool could help to meet its needs.
"We realised that if we could establish a standard operating environment, or 'SOE', for all our PCs, we could then use ZENworks to deploy software remotely," said Holman. "However, we were using at least 13 different types of PCs, all requiring different hardware drivers—which made the establishment of an SOE quite challenging."
Directory Concepts, a Partner, recommended and assisted with implementing the ENGL Imaging Toolkit, a solution that integrates with ZENworks and enables the creations of modular, hardware-independent SOE images. This allowed the department to create a single image for all machines, with different drivers for each different model of PC.
"Directory Concepts had good knowledge of the Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) software and helped our in-house team to deploy an effective solution," said Holman. "With the ENGL toolkit, we have a single DVD which is able to install the SOE on any of our machines. The SOE includes a ZENworks client, so most subsequent software deployment and IT management processes can be handled remotely."
With the SOE in place on all 3,000 PCs, the department is able to install 47 of its most commonly used applications remotely via ZENworks, eliminating the need for IT staff to travel to local sites to deploy this software. The Department also uses ZENworks Patch Management to distribute updates and security patches for Windows and other software.
"We use ZENworks for remote support, allowing us to take control of users' PCs and fix problems for them," said Holman. "In the future, we plan to take advantage of ZENworks Asset Management, which should help us to manage software licensing more effectively."
The department is already seeing significant benefits from ZENworks and the ENGL solution.
"The fact that we now have a single SOE has made a big difference to the manageability of the whole desktop PC estate," said Holman. "It's a much more stable environment, and it's much easier to avoid incompatibility issues and other problems. As a result, our IT helpdesk has seen the volume of SOE-related incidents fall by 55 percent—so they spend less time troubleshooting, and users spend less time with their machines out of action."
The ability to deploy software remotely via ZENworks has significantly reduced the need for IT staff to waste time and money travelling from site to site.
"We are currently completing approximately 25 remote deployments a month with ZENworks," said Holman. "If you consider that it could potentially save us 25 ten-hour round trips, it's clearly a much more cost—and time-efficient way of managing our infrastructure."
Before the introduction of the solution, the department often waited for a site to build up several IT requests before scheduling a visit. This was more efficient from the perspective of the IT department—but it could mean that users had to wait several weeks for new software. With ZENworks, most requests can be handled in a matter of hours, so users get access to the tools they need much more quickly—boosting productivity throughout the Department.
"The remote management and software deployment capabilities of ZENworks are a real asset for our agriculture, mining and fisheries divisions," said Holman. "Our next project is to upgrade to ZENworks Configuration Management, which we hope will deliver even better value for our organisation."