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Corporate IT Success Story

A division of a Fortune 500 international corporation was looking for a way to make their desktop management more efficient. The IT Department was overwhelmed providing computer support services to the organization with over 700 users and 500 desktops. Even after adding several IT support staff during the prior 12 months, they saw little reduction in the support backlog. The downtime was negatively impacting business and the IT staff needed a solution in order to work more effectively and efficiently.

The IT Manager determined that moving to a Common Operating Environment (COE), where all computers would have the same base install of the operating system and application software, would streamline his support operations. He also knew that a comprehensive desktop management solution was required to support the new COE.

After reviewing several solutions, he selected IT Works by System Management Technologies Inc. The IT Works solution gave his team the ability to deploy, configure and install operating systems and software applications using an unattended installation process, i.e., no more manual computer configurations and no more “missed steps.” This capability streamlined the process of creating and installing their COE and the unattended installations reduced the project deployment time by over 80%.

IT Works enabled him to meet and exceed his goals.  Upon complete rollout of the managed desktops, service requests were reduced by 75% and end-user-caused service requests dropped to zero.

IT Works also delivered a Desktop Lockdown feature that prevented end users from installing software or making configuration changes. The IT Works security model created the ultimate desktop management scenario.

The project was completed on time and under budget. “We wanted to reduce the impact of end-user-caused service requests. In fact, we planned to eliminate all of these end-user-caused service requests,” reported the IT Manager.

The savings and improved support levels funded the purchase of 75 additional computers. The installation of the new systems created very little overhead for the IT staff, as the only manual work required was to boot each new system to the network. IT Works automatically built the 75 systems to the exact end-user state needed. The end users received their new computers in record time since there was no delay in finalizing configurations, missed software installations or lost data. The next system refresh will be just as easy - reboot the computer and let IT Works do the rest.

Business Challenges

  • Excessive downtime for desktop computers
  • Labor intensive manual support process
  • Variety of platforms to support

Solutions

  • IT Works
  • IT Works Education

Results

  • 75% reduction in support calls
  • 100% reduction in end-user-caused support calls
  • Consistent installations and configurations
  • Desktop lockdown prevents users from installing software or making configuration changes
  • Automated install and configuration as COE is deployed

Process Control Networks Success Story

A multinational oil company had plans to install a new process control system in one of its refineries. The process control network (PCN) manages and monitors the refinery’s manufacturing equipment, a necessity for refinery production. The installation of process control systems is labor intensive as the network and workstations are custom configured for each task. This particular 20 device PCN was comprised of nodes, operator stations and servers.

Before deploying a PCN, a test lab is created by the implementation team to define, configure and test the exact hardware and software configurations that will be implemented in the manufacturing environment. During the 4 to 8 month’s operation of this test lab, the software will be installed, changed, and reinstalled as configurations are modified for testing purposes. The initial set up for these 20 workstations would typically take a month with reconfigurations taking a shorter period of time, typically 2 to 2 ˝ weeks per build. In most circumstances, the numbers of builds are limited due to the amount of time required to complete each build.

Once IT Works PCN was implemented for this project, the time line for the initial installation in the test lab was reduced by 63%; from 4 weeks to 1½ weeks. For subsequent rebuilds, IT Works PCN reduced the build time to 8 hours; a 90% reduction. This short build time allowed the engineering staff to modify configurations and then rebuild the system to the new configuration multiple times, allowing them to fine tune the system for optimum performance.

Prior to kicking off this project, the engineering staff tasked with building this system decided they wanted to improve on their delivery time and increase their ability to tune the system prior to delivery. This would allow them to deliver a higher quality solution in less time. IT Works PCN was selected as the solution.

Without IT Works PCN, the engineering team would have been limited to the number of builds (perhaps twice) and would not have been able to fine tune the system. The flexibility to test out configurations helped them deliver the best product to their customer.

Typically, when the equipment is removed from the test lab and deployed in the field, the systems go through one or two final installations and configuration changes. Since these systems were precisely tuned in the test lab, the equipment was able to be deployed directly into the field with no changes, saving about 2 weeks of additional engineering time and expense.

The use of IT Works PCN enabled the implementation team to deliver a final system that that was higher in quality with optimum performance then previous deployments.

The engineering support staff will continue to use IT Works for the life cycle of the PCN software for maintenance, patch installation, and troubleshooting once the process control system is operational in the plant. And since all the installations and configurations are automated, the PCN will maintain a higher degree of consistency and up time.

Business Challenges

  • Installation of Process Control Network
  • Limited engineering budget
  • Maximize system optimization

Solutions

  • IT Works PCN
  • SMT Installation Services

Results

  • Reduced initial build time by 63%
  • Reduced rebuilds by time by 90%
  • Delivered optimized system on time
  • Delivered optimized system under budget

Financial Success Story

A large credit union, with 1.6 billion in assets, over 170,000 members, 14 locations and 1,000 PCs, was challenged to keep up with their PC support demands. Not only was the organization having trouble keeping up with current PC support  it also  was faced with increasing demand  on IT resources as the company continued  to grow. IT Management knew that in order to maintain its growth it had to keep pace and deliver to their customers the excellent standard of customer service they had built their reputation on.

In addition to managing the hardware and software at their current multiple locations, those sites used a variety of hardware by different manufacturers with multiple configurations.

The credit union was using disk imaging to begin the installation process for new hardware but this still required considerable work to be done to configure each desktop with necessary custom settings. Although in the long term the credit union plans to standardize their hardware as equipment comes up for replacement, their current situation calls for them to work with the hardware mix that is installed.

Their PC Support staff was the first line of defense the company’s help desk and support, although if they were overwhelmed with requests, teams from  other IT departments were asked to assist, disrupting their day and delaying projects they were working on.

After careful evaluation and consideration of several products, IT Works was chosen as the solution to their strained resources.

After a brief training program, the credit union staff began using IT Works to deploy their software. The credit union decided to stage their software deployment, starting with the corporate headquarters and working out to the branches. Instead of installing a software image of the software to be installed on each machine, which required them to manually customize each machine after the static image was copied on to the hardware, IT Works allowed them to install the operating systems and applications natively on each machine using the automated installation and configuration capability. This zero touch installation allowed the PC Support Staff to press a button and walk away to work on another project while the software was being installed.

Because they are no longer in “fire fighting” mode, they do not request additional manpower from the other IT departments. Their ability to manage and stay ahead of requests for support via proactive maintenance had enhanced their reputation within the entire organization.

The group has had much success using IT Works. They have been able to reduce support calls by 82% due to consistent, automated builds; the ability to keep current with patches, and updates on all their machines. 

In addition, they were able to gain an unexpected cost savings by canceling an outside contract they had in place to support their printers. Before they installed IT Works, the credit union had hired an outside firm because they did not have the manpower to support the printers. Once IT Works was in place, they were able to support their printer population with the PC Support Group.

For this credit union, IT Works streamlined PC help desk and support. IT Works enabled IT staff to become proactive in maintenance and support, and provide cost saving, reducing overall IT overhead.

Business Challenges

  • Difficulty keeping pace with support demand
  • Existing multiple locations, with more locations opening
  • Supporting  a variety of computer platforms
  • Using disk imagining to install software

Solutions

  • IT Works
  • SMT Education Services
  • SMT Installation Services

Results

  • Reduced support calls by 82%
  • Reduced travel to branch locations
  • Canceled outside contract for printer support
  • Increased customer satisfaction
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