Achieving a Cutting Edge Environment Based on Standards, Streamlining Processes while Saving the Firm Time, Effort and Budget: An AdminStudio and Workflow Manager Case Study.
For Tauw, an international firm of consulting engineers, it can be a big job to manage the applications needed by 1,250 employees on 1,350 desktops in an enterprise environment that spans across six European countries. When the IT team needed to standardize their application deployment processes, they needed to ensure the preparation of applications was fast, cost-effective and reliable. Using a combination of Flexera Software™ AdminStudio® and Workflow Manager® alongside Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager® (ConfigMgr) and Microsoft Application Virtualization™ (App-V), which is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack® (MDOP), the firm is saving time and budget while producing quality applications for the environmental and civil engineering organization.
“Using AdminStudio in-house is purely a cost savings. We did investigate outsourcing the whole packaging to an external company, but it turned out to be much cheaper to do it ourselves with our updated tools and current staff.”
Christian Koel, IT Project Manager, Tauw
Tauw started to migrate their previous Novell® ZENworks® 6.5 environment to standardize on Microsoft’s platform by implementing Microsoft ConfigMgr in conjunction with Microsoft App-V. During this migration process, they were also able to discover the benefits of upgrading their dated license of AdminStudio 6.0 to the latest AdminStudio release which now supports the creation of App-V ready packages. Turning to PDS®, a solution-driven advisor for system administrator and software developer tools, Tauw learned of the latest AdminStudio features to create, test and manage virtual applications alongside traditional applications. PDS also advised Tauw to take advantage of the Web-based process management tools in Flexera Software Workflow Manager to help manage the migration process from physical applications to virtual applications.
Finding Time Savings Implementing Application Virtualization
Like many organizations, each department in the Tauw organization is billed for IT hours, meaning that the costs of cleaning up desktops that may have rogue applications, managing patches and upgrades, or answering regular help desk calls was of keen attention to department managers. Looking for a solution to lower IT costs, Tauw investigated application virtualization, which deploys applications in real-time to an end user desktop via an App-V streaming server. Using Microsoft App-V for application virtualization, Tauw has a Microsoft infrastructure that easily aligns with their existing migration to the ConfigMgr deployment environment. With App-V, Tauw seeks to ensure approved applications were readily available to end users, patches and upgrades were efficiently delivered and the local installation of the application was no longer needed. Reducing efforts like having the back office reimage PCs and laptops frequently, Tauw seeks to save the overall IT team time and effort, which will reduce costs for the entire organization.
“The challenge was more than 500 applications that needed to be prepared for App-V,” said Christian Koel, IT project manager. What can be one of the largest hurdles for any application virtualization implementation --- the tedious process of recapturing and rebuilding applications already prepared for the traditional environment --- can be greatly streamlined by using AdminStudio to convert existing applications and MSI to a virtual format that can be deployed via the application virtualization product. By employing AdminStudio to complete these tasks, Tauw can use the same staff to quickly prepare applications, eliminating any need for recapturing information or re-customizing local preferences. With just a few clicks, AdminStudio prepares MSI for the SFT format needed by App-V.
Tauw took advantage of the automatic, touch-free conversion capabilities of AdminStudio (Windows Installer Converter) to run an overnight batch run of packages, “straight from start, 150 converted successfully. It was quite awesome,” said Maarten Brouwer, senior package engineer. The team is finding a significant time savings, reducing the time to prepare an application from two weeks without AdminStudio to just a one day by using AdminStudio.
Keeping Knowledge In-House with AdminStudio
Prior to upgrading to the most recent version of AdminStudio, Tauw had relied on an external repackaging team to help convert & build new packages. With their migration project, they also sought for a platform to help streamline the old process of preparing an application deployment.
“Using AdminStudio in-house is purely a cost savings,” explained Koel. “We did investigate outsourcing the whole packaging to an external company, but it turned out to be much cheaper to do it ourselves with our updated tools and current staff.”
Now the Tauw packaging team is two internal staff with two external staff working on the current migration to App-V and ConfigMgr. When the migration is complete in early 2010, the internal team will solely own the packaging processes. “We can do a lot more with less people,” said Koel. “After quite a short period of implementation, we looked at the knowledge of our package team. They are quite familiar with AdminStudio and it is a big plus for us to use a familiar product, so we didn’t need to spend a lot of time training the package team. While we looked at competitive products, at the end of the evaluation, AdminStudio was still the least expensive option.”
Managing Projects with Workflow Manager
While the team was investigating the best tools for their migration, PDS suggested Tauw review Workflow Manager to streamline the management of the migration and ongoing business as usual projects.
“We did have a problem in the past with managing processes using just Excel® spreadsheets,” Koel said. “We had been using Axios Systems™ Assyst® to manage our ITIL compliance, but knew we were moving to a new helpdesk system with the migration. We had been quite lean on the ITIL processes prior to Workflow Manager.”
“The integration with AdminStudio was great – Workflow Manager is a nice looking product. At first sight, it was a fit,” Koel said. “It is quite easy to use and is built on familiar programming language.”
“With Workflow Manager it is clear to our package team what kind of work there is to do. When they come into the office in the morning, it’s easy to open Workflow Manager to see what kind of packages need to be done that day or that week,” Koel said. He explained it was somewhat chaos before, with the team looking at different systems to check on status of projects and what needed to be done, so it took a lot of time. Workflow Manager now streamlines the processes, presenting a complete view of traditional and virtual packages, projects outstanding and incoming requests.
“We knew of AdminStudio, but Workflow Manager was quite new for us,” said Koel, IT project manager, “We found they fit together quite well and Workflow Manager was one of the major plusses that came out of our RFP investigation.”
Now that the Tauw team has efficient tools to streamline their migration process, the next steps are to finish the migration and to employ the new products in day to day processes. “Both AdminStudio and Workflow Manager will help us to standardize and to work to conform to market standards,” Koel said. “I think these tools help us to reach the main goals of the project: have standard applications, standard MSI, and standard virtual packages.”
PDS is one of the most successful Flexera distributors in EMEA with dedicated staff for sales, marketing, training and support on AdminStudio, Workflow Manager and InstallShield products. As organizer of www.packagingevent.com PDS has a unique presence on this particular market thanks to dedication and product knowledge. PDS and Flexera have been partners since 1991.
More information about PDS: www.pds-site.com
About Flexera Software
Flexera Software is the leading provider of strategic solutions for Application Usage Management; solutions delivering continuous compliance, optimized usage and maximized value to application producers and their customers. Flexera Software is trusted by more than 80,000 customers that depend on our comprehensive solutions — from installation and licensing, entitlement and compliance management to application readiness and software license optimization — to strategically manage application usage and achieve breakthrough results realized only through the systems-level approach we provide. For more information, please go to: www.flexerasoftware.com.