Lincoln, UK, City Council Manages IT infrastructure, networking, virtualization, cloud adoption and migration
Endpoint management automation for efficiency, time savings
Intelligent automation for a customized environment
Every growing organization reaches a turning point when the benefits of IT automation outweigh the familiarity and comfort of long-standing manual processes. That moment had arrived for the City of Lincoln Council in the United Kingdom when Richard Hunt, senior IT officer, took his role presiding over the council’s seven-technician IT department. Upgrading the methodology and toolset used for managing and securing more than 600 Windows endpoints for end users spanning a variety of job responsibilities would ultimately provide more reliability, better endpoint security, and higher productivity.
“The amount of IT man-hours required to set up and maintain around 600 employee devices had become overwhelming because we were doing it all by hand,” Hunt said, speaking about the lack of IT tools in the department. However, this manual process wasn’t only painfully time consuming. Hunt saw right away that implementing an intelligent solution would lead to improved reliability, better security, and higher productivity for both end users and IT.
Growing device driver complexity
The department was managing a long list of hardware models from multiple vendors, including Dell, Microsoft, and Toshiba. Managing a disparate inventory required significant time for device driver management to keep endpoints updated and secure. Additionally, every device configuration and software payload differed by department or job role. And as an added layer of complexity, the department used a lot of custom software, forcing IT managers to port over all the software and updates individually.
Advocating for a more efficient solution
Having been a SmartDeploy user at his previous job, Hunt knew there was a more efficient way for the small IT department to manage the complex environment. Better yet, it wouldn’t require any additional infrastructure or a lengthy and expensive implementation process. He quickly made the case for SmartDeploy. “It quickly became clear that the cost of a SmartDeploy license was at least one fourth of the cost of the man-hours we were spending per week to keep devices running,” Hunt said. Not only was the 75% reduction in IT labor cost obvious, but SmartDeploy was also at a price point so reasonable that Hunt could avoid burdensome bureaucratic procurement mandates. “For our council in the UK, once the cost goes over a certain amount, you have to go to market. You can’t mention names; you just have to say, ‘we want something that does X, Y, and Z,’ and then everyone registered on that catalog is able to respond with their products / solution. The cheapest one wins generally. But SmartDeploy was priced so well that we didn’t have to go through that process.”
Along with clear cost saving benefits, SmartDeploy was able to alleviate the inconveniences and headaches of managing device drivers, bespoke software, and individual device specifications. More than 1,500 model-specific, prebuilt device driver packages were available for download, which made managing all the devices easier and more consistent, whether IT needed to reimage existing devices or provision new hardware.
“When we got the mandate that no one could come into the office anymore, we had a two-week period to get everyone working from home. So that’s more than 600 users within two weeks that we got working from home by leveraging SmartDeploy’s cloud deployment service.”
— Richard Hunt, Senior IT Officer, The City of Lincoln Council
The quick shift to managing users remotely
Like so many organizations and their IT departments within them, the COVID-19 crisis caused considerable changes to Hunt’s department roadmap. Just a few months before the onset of the pandemic, Hunt and his team had started a trial process of migrating users to Microsoft Office 365 for most of their office services. But it was an adoption process set to take place over the course of years.
The manual process of provisioning laptops prior to SmartDeploy took seven to eight hours per device. With SmartDeploy, that process was trimmed to just under one hour, which is an 85% time savings. Had Hunt and his team not been leveraging SmartDeploy, that two-week ramp-up period could have easily turned into months, potentially resulting in community service outages and disruptions that might have worsened the communal impacts of COVID-19.
Supporting a long-term hybrid workforce
Nearly 50% of City of Lincoln Council employees will continue to work remotely after the pandemic. Hunt is confident that SmartDeploy will continue to offer his team the flexibility required to manage and secure every endpoint, whether onsite or remote. The improved endpoint reliability and consistency will continue to ensure that critical City of Lincoln Council services—including housing, building development, transportation services—are uninterrupted for community residents no matter what unexpected challenges they encounter.
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