Managing the desktop estate may not be the sexiest topic on a list of CIO's priorities, but for international law firm Kennedys, getting a grip on its desktop led to "tremendous" cost savings and reliability improvements.
In 2007 Kennedys was in the process of consolidating down from three offices in the UK to a larger central office, but had very little 'downtime' in which to do a desktop migration. It was then that it chose Automation Manager from RES Software to provide task automation, resource provisioning and service orchestration for desktops, helping Kennedys to quickly configure individual desktops or groups of desktops.
"The cost savings and reliability that we've seen from Automation Manager are tremendous, and we now consider it a major part of what keeps our organisation running on a daily basis," said James Elmer, EMEA IT manager at Kennedys. "Our success with Automation Manager led us to deploy Workspace Manager to improve how we manage our users. Now that we are using the entire RES Dynamic Desktop Studio, we are able to effectively manage our users' personalisation and configuration, and automate tasks in our complex IT environment. Now our IT staff can focus on other mission-critical objectives."
Elmer told us that the RES technology has also helped it with its Windows 7 migration. "We wanted a seamless migration to Windows 7 and we could not afford any downtime or loss of productivity," he said. "We can use wake-on-LAN to do all sorts of configuration work at night, so we don't have to bother partners during the day."
"Kennedys is a very entrepreneurial law firm and we think being able to respond fast is critical," Elmer said. "RES gives us the tools to do that, and do it at night. I also have a mix of Windows XP desktops and Windows 7 laptops and desktops as we continue the migration, and RES allows me to configure all of those using the same tools. I can use the same tools to control our use of Citrix Receiver, which we use to allow staff to have remote access to centralised resources. The Baseline Desktop Analyser is also really powerful for auditing exactly what you have out there."
Has Kennedys been able to document any savings or ROI? "What I can say is that we have saved tens of thousands of Pounds," Elmer said, "from the automated build and processes. If you look at my team's costs and the fact you can now push out what a lawyer needs from a central point, that's massive.
"Adding a new starter, for example, has been reduced from a half-an-hour job to a couple of minutes," Elmer said. "Desktop hardware is not where the cost is, it is all about the support and managing the complexity."
Elmer added that the firm is working towards greater level of self-support amongst users, for example creating its own application store that should help to cut down on service requests. "RES gives us the tools to build towards a self-service model, like a corporate app store," he said.
"People will be able to request certain applications and we can accept or reject those based on role and so on. We'd like to get to the stage where almost everything is automated. We will provision 80 percent of what staff need and then they will be able to request the 20 percent that they find useful. It will save my team spending time delivering applications when they could be doing something more useful to the business," Elmer added.