A multidisciplinary civil engineering and surveying firm that develops innovative design and infrastructure solutions
An alternative endpoint management solution to SCCM that’s easy to use and hardware independent
Building sustainable infrastructure solutions for cities, towns, and communities
Partnering with large organizations like the Florida Department of Transportation puts DRMP in the spotlight of many high-profile infrastructure projects. This makes it imperative for the engineering firm to find efficient, reliable ways to execute business on all fronts and fuels its focus on embracing futuristic opportunities that support growth throughout the southeastern United States.
With more than 500 employees spanning 18 locations from North Carolina to Florida, each department at DRMP, including IT, must be mindful of the efficiency of each project. The company’s mission to “continue excellence in delivering sustainable civil infrastructure services while enhancing opportunities for employees” also means seeking ways to make the jobs of employees more fulfilling and less frustrating. Coincidentally, SmartDeploy was also built on this foundation more than 12 years ago.
“Microsoft SCCM was in place, and it was bulky. I saw an opportunity to make our process more efficient, and we moved forward with SmartDeploy.”
– Manuel Garcia, Systems Administrator, DRMP
Manually Managing Endpoints by Using Microsoft SCCM Results in Inefficiencies
DRMP’s IT team had been using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) for their imaging. While Microsoft SCCM is robust and can do many things — including Windows management, application delivery, and health monitoring — the team needed to do only a fraction of these tasks. Even so, IT still had to manually create and implement each step of the Windows deployment process, from answer files to managing device drivers. Not only did Microsoft SCCM require a high skillset and ongoing training, but it was also unreliable. The bulky process led to errors, like Sysprep failing. Systems Administrator Manuel Garcia says that even on a flawless deployment, “it took two to four hours, or longer, to reimage a machine with Microsoft SCCM.”
Reimaged in 40 Minutes
With a Windows migration on the horizon, Garcia knew that the DRMP IT team needed to find a more effective, reliable solution to deploy Windows 10 and applications to 300 endpoints. He had used SmartDeploy at a previous company and pitched the user-friendly interface and speed to his boss by explaining, “All you have to do is hit F12, select the image, and walk away. By the time you come back, you’ll be able to log in.” His boss left for a 40-minute lunch break and was impressed to see that when she returned the test computer had been reimaged and was already connected to the domain. Garcia states, “Microsoft SCCM was in place, and it was bulky. I saw an opportunity to make our process more efficient, and we moved forward with SmartDeploy.”
20+ Computer Models, a Single Golden Image
Garcia’s team manages more than 20 Lenovo models, making managing device drivers manually with Microsoft SCCM a frustration. In SmartDeploy’s Platform Pack library, more than 1,500 device driver packs are available to download. Garcia’s team no longer needs to update and maintain device drivers each time Windows releases a new update or Lenovo rolls out a new computer model. This also allows the team to maintain a single golden Windows 10 image to be deployed to any hardware model.
Garcia’s team includes large applications, like AutoCAD and MicroStation, in the Windows image. Then, it uses SmartDeploy’s application deployment capability to deploy smaller applications, like Microsoft Teams and proprietary Florida Department of Transportation applications. With many of the complicated steps that failed with Microsoft SCCM, like Sysprep, now handled automatically by SmartDeploy, deployments are faster and more reliable.
An Unexpected Shift in Endpoint Management Strategy
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the workplace, DRMP shifted from 40 percent of its employees working from home to 70 percent nearly overnight. This brought new endpoint management hurdles and the need for remote endpoint management flexibility. Early on, a remote computer failed, and Garcia determined that the user profile was corrupt. He deployed the company’s standard 9.5 GB image from the cloud over an internet speed of 50 Mbps download and 40 Mbps upload. Garcia explains, “From start to finish, it took 2.5 hours to reimage the machine from the cloud. This was faster than overnight delivery and more convenient than telling the user to swap out hardware at the office, which was not even an option because of COVID-19 stay-at- home orders. It’s really a refreshing way of delivering the IT service to users without having users leave their homes.”
SmartDeploy supports DRMP’s journey to reduce employee frustration, increase overall productivity, and keep morale high. With SmartDeploy, Garcia and his team are no longer frustrated with the task of managing endpoints and are confident that this part of their job can be executed consistently and reliably by any team member, regardless of skillset, in or out of the office. SmartDeploy’s reliability and time savings for planned and unplanned circumstances have reduced the stress of imaging hardware. And with 2020 throwing many hurdles their way, SmartDeploy has proved to be a flexible solution to easily manage Windows endpoints, wherever they are.
“From start to finish, it took 2.5 hours to reimage the machine from the cloud. This was faster than overnight delivery and more convenient than telling the user to swap out hardware at the office.”
– Manuel Garcia, Systems Administrator, DRMP
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