With a growing number of applications requiring Active Directory, Witt Gruppe needed to upgrade its desktop management solution to standardize directory services. Witt Gruppe decided to implement ZENworks® Configuration Management for its 1,500 desktops and 400 Citrix users.
"The migration ran seamlessly and we avoided interrupting the workflow of our users or significantly increasing the workload of IT staff."
Björn von der Grün
Team Leader Windows Client Systems
Headquartered in Weiden, Germany, Witt Gruppe is a European retailer with 2,400 employees. The company is a direct seller in ten European countries and operates 100 stores in Germany. With 11 million customers in Europe and up to 75,000 deliveries per day, Witt Gruppe generates revenues of €600 million per year (IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards—business year 2010/2011).
Aware that an increasing number of its business applications required Active Directory, Witt Gruppe wanted to standardize its directory services to increase efficiency and eliminate redundancies.
The company required a desktop management solution capable of supporting its new Active Directory service. "The solution needed to manage both our traditional desktop systems and our Citrix environment," said Björn von der Grün, Team Leader Windows Client Systems, Witt Gruppe.
Witt Gruppe's IT team also wanted to use the new desktop management solution to improve the quality of IT support it offers users. "We lacked real-time information about desktop systems which would enable us to identify and resolve users' problems in a timely fashion."
Ease of migration was another high priority for Witt Gruppe's IT team. "It was critical that the migration should have no perceptible impact on users. We were also keen that the migration process should not involve night shifts for our IT team," said von der Grün.
A long-term user of our solutions, Witt Gruppe's previous positive experience of our technologies informed the company's decision to upgrade to the latest ZENworks Configuration Management release. Working with Consulting Services, Witt Gruppe implemented ZENworks Configuration Management for its 1,500 desktops and 400 Citrix users. "We have been very happy with the service provided by Consulting Services," says von der Grün. "They have assisted us very competently throughout the duration of the project."
Witt Gruppe implemented two virtual ZENworks Configuration Management servers with load balancing on VMware. For easy administration, both servers are managed through a single ZENworks Management Console. Witt Gruppe has also replaced its desktop management solution's legacy database with the corporate-wide standard Microsoft SQL Server database.
When migrating to ZENworks Configuration Management, Witt Gruppe took advantage of our migration tools. The team migrated more than 500 bundles to the new desktop management solution. After all bundles were migrated, Witt Gruppe deployed the new our solution. “During the migration period, we used the new ZENworks Configuration Management client software to roll out new and clean images to all desktops,” says von der Grün.
Witt Gruppe configured the system to allow users to choose themselves when they wanted to upgrade their desktop. “We allowed users to decide, within a given timeframe, when would be the most convenient time to install the new ZENworks image,” said von der Grün. “This ensured that users' workflows were not unduly disrupted by the migration process.”
The new ZENworks Configuration Management solution offers advanced bundling capabilities, enabling Witt Gruppe to configure and roll out complex applications and sequences of bundles. This makes application deployment much easier, as it enables the consecutive deployment of several bundles, as well as triggering scripts and starting services to ensure smooth installation of complex applications.
With the new ZENworks Configuration Management solution, Witt Gruppe was able to successfully standardize its directory services, and operate a single central Active Directory for all its business applications.
In addition, by using Microsoft SQL Server to support the ZENworks solution, Witt Gruppe was also able to harmonize its database systems. The standardization of directory services and database applications has improved the efficiency and productivity of Witt's IT team. "With this standardization, our team no longer needs to support two different directory services and databases, which frees IT staff to concentrate on value-added tasks."
The flexible migration process to the new ZENworks solution met with approval from business and IT staff alike. "The migration ran seamlessly and we avoided interrupting the workflow of our users or significantly increasing the workload of IT staff," said von der Grün. "It was also a relief that our IT team was able to avoid working night shifts during the migration process."
The added flexibility of ZENworks Configuration Management has enabled Witt Gruppe to bundle and deploy complex applications more efficiently for easier software distribution.
"With ZENworks Configuration Management we have a more holistic view of our desktops and Citrix environment," said von der Grün. "We have been able to gain relevant, real-time information about policy compliance, system errors and device conditions. This improved insight helps us to provide better quality support to our users."