"With Application Virtualization we no longer have to deal with incompatibility issues between applications or manually install new applications on each desktop. We’ve also seen a significant improvement in desktop installation times. We used to spend about 45 minutes setting up a full desktop and now it takes just 20."
SENIOR IT POLICY ADVISOR
MUNICIPALITY OF VOORSCHOTEN
Voorschoten is a town situated in the western Netherlands, enclosed by the cities of Leiden and The Hague. The Municipality of Voorschoten consists of a town council and municipal council led by the mayor and elected councillors. The Municipality has a workforce of 250 employees and provides local authority services to the 24,000 residents of Voorschoten.
IT staff at the Municipality of Voorschoten are responsible for providing all municipal employees with access to the applications they need. As a result, the IT team needs to manage a large number of desktop PCs, which used to be a significant challenge given that all applications at the Municipality of Voorschoten were subject to manual installation processes. As a result, IT staff at the Municipality spent much of their time performing the lengthy tasks of testing, packaging and installing applications on individual desktops. The process was further complicated by conflicts and compatibility problems which arose between applications.
The lack of application flexibility was obstructing plans to offer Municipality employees more flexible working arrangements. “We wanted to implement a hot-desking system in which part- time employees could move freely between departments on days when workspaces were over-crowded,” said Hassan Akhiat, senior IT policy advisor at the Municipality of Voorschoten. “However, the lack of standardization of the applications found on different desktops made this impossible.”
The Municipality required a flexible solution which would reduce the workload of IT staff, solve application incompatibility issues and offer a high level of application security.
Working with Netflex, a Platinum Partner℠, the Municipality of Voorschoten decided to implement Application Virtualization.
“We had already used a number of Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) solutions for endpoint management and felt that Novell technology fitted well with the infrastructure of our organization,” said Akhiat. “We’ve been impressed with the stability and reliability of Novell products and support in the past, so Application Virtualization was the logical choice for us.”
With Application Virtualization, the Municipality of Voorschoten has already virtualized over 35 different applications which are now being run as standalone executables over the organization’s network. After testing, new applications can be distributed across large groups of desktops and run exactly as they would if they were installed locally.
Application Virtualization applications run in an isolated environment immune to incompatibility issues. “One of the best features of ZAV is the virtual shield it creates to protect existing applications when new applications are added,” said Akhiat.
The Municipality of Voorschoten also implemented ZENworks™ to assist in the management of user devices. The IT department is now able to control the management of users’ desktops from one central point.
The ZENworks software has enabled IT staff to grant Municipality users access to applications on a per-group basis, meaning that employees have access to the applications that are tailored to their position within the organization. For example, the Municipality’s accounts department now has sole access to accounts-specific applications.
“By installing and managing software on the server and then distributing specific applications to specific groups of users we are greatly reducing the risk of unlicensed software use,” said Akhiat. “What’s more, the mobility of users has improved because employees can now log in on any screen in any department in the building and they will find a desktop with applications tailored to their particular user group.”
With the implementation of Application Virtualization, the Municipality of Voorschoten’s IT staff have seen considerable reductions in their administrative workloads. “We no longer have to deal with incompatibility issues between applications or manually install new applications on each desktop,” said Akhiat. “We’ve also seen a significant improvement in desktop installation times. We used to spend about 45 minutes setting up a full desktop and now it takes just 20. As a consequence, our IT staff have more time to develop their professional skills and offer more comprehensive support to users.”
The security of the Municipality’s desktop environment has also improved, with better checks before application installation and a reduced risk of software license violations since it is easier to tell how many copies of an application have actually been deployed. Application Virtualization has also helped to improve the productivity of IT users at the Municipality.
“Application Virtualization applications start up more rapidly, so employees can get started on their work much faster,” said Akhiat. “What’s more, users can now work in any location in the building, allowing them to find quiet workspaces in which to concentrate during busy periods.”
The success of flexible work arrangements in the Municipality’s offices has led to proposals to expand the program to allow users to work from home.
“With Application Virtualization and ZENworks our IT systems are optimally organized, and this is having a really positive impact on the organization as a whole,” said Akhiat. “We are now better able to answer to the needs of our employees and ensure that our business keeps moving forward. We would not have been able to support these advances without the Novell solution.”