LTK’s IT department manages more than 10,000 users, with communities at headquarters, and in the district schools. It also manages a public IT service, with a network of kiosk devices. All audiences have different IT needs and to manage the IT assets, LTK originally deployed Altiris (Symantec).
Bjørn Kelsen from Next Level Education works with LTK and explains some of the challenges faced: “Although Altiris had worked well with Windows XP, when LTK decided to upgrade its infrastructure from Windows XP to Windows 7, using a new version of Altiris, things started to go wrong. We encountered lots of technical issues. With a view to the future and bearing in mind that our workforce was becoming increasingly mobile, we needed a more robust solution to help us manage this.”
LTK looked for a partner to better assist them with endpoint management and Windows migration, but it was also looking at ways to secure its environment more effectively, given the confidential data it manages.
ZENworks® Configuration Management stood out because of its easy-to-use Web interface and the flexibility and speed it had demonstrated in other customer scenarios. After several challenges with Altiris, LTK decided to quickly implement ZENworks Configuration Management. The first Windows 7 roll-out was done within a week and the entire upgrade went smoothly.
With ZENworks Configuration Management firmly embedded within LTK, Access Manager™ and Identity Manager were also introduced. Access Manager is a secure and scalable solution that now handles all LTK’s web access needs with a single sign-on experience.
The Identity Manager implementation was a revelation to LTK, as Kelsen comments: “Our main objective with Identity Manager was to provide a self-service portal. Previously, new employees would need to be provisioned manually and there was a lot of work involved from the individual managers and the IT staff. Now, users are automatically activated within their domains and on their start date so that they can be productive straight away. Identity Manager is granular so that specific access is granted based on the role of the new employee, as well as the department they will be working in.
ZENworks Configuration Management sets up the basic application access and will integrate with Identity Manager via the user application portal where the user will be able to directly request access to further applications. The self-service aspect frees up our IT resources and it has also really tightened our security as we have a clear overview of who can access what. De-provisioning happens automatically as well.”
Meanwhile, Windows 10 is on the horizon. The LTK workforce is moving predominantly towards a virtual desktop environment with over 1,000 virtual machines, coupled with approximately 1,500 physical desktops at headquarters, and another 3,000 devices managed in the district schools. The entire Windows 10 upgrade with ZENworks Configuration Management will be completed within a 5 month timescale which is very fast compared to similar environments.
All machines, virtual and physical, are re-imaged and are essentially given the same treatment. Whereas previously manual scripting would be necessary, with ZENworks Configuration Management this process is much improved with simple drop-down menus, enabling easy tweaks to the process. The automation means the technical upgrade process happens quickly and IT can spend its time focusing on organizational benefits, such as making sure users have access to the right applications and experience minimal disruption.
Mikkel Arp, Support and Operations Manager for LTK, comments on the more mature IT infrastructure: “Security and control over our IT environment were really key to us. We feel the implementation of the Micro Focus solution has helped us enormously here. The self-service identity management aspect saves us so much time and gives us the visibility we need. Major OS upgrades such as to Windows 10 could be a real headache for an organization like ours. However, using ZENworks Configuration Management we can focus on functional and application testing and making sure our users are supported. The analytics and reporting capabilities are turning ZENworks into an effective decision making tool for us.”
He concludes: “Through clever use of IT solutions, and with help from Micro Focus, we are able to support our organization with fewer employees than industry analysts suggest for organizations of a similar size.”