The Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV) is the direct representative for global (via the ISO) and European standards (via CEN) in Switzerland and is also a hub for numerous other national and international standardization networks. The SNV therefore undertakes an important bridging function between standardization experts and users. The SNV is a future-oriented information service provider. It acts on behalf of Swiss business and society and represents their interests. Since 2013 the SNV has successfully managed its IT environment with Deskcenter Management Suite.
Marc Hoffmann has been a system engineering project manager at the Swiss Association for Standardization since 2010 and is responsible for problem-free IT operations. With Deskcenter Management Suite he manages around 100 systems and servers for 40 employees. In the interview, Marc Hoffmann describes the challenges and what has improved for the IT department since using Deskcenter.
Mr. Hoffmann, why was it essential for you to automate your IT management?
The times of running around on a daily basis had to be consigned to the past. As a result of the low resources in the IT department, there was an urgent need for action. Manual installation was taking too long and was no longer state of the art. Another reason was to improve first level support for end users as this could no longer be guaranteed in the form it was provided back then. It was also about producing a complete inventory of our IT landscape and distributing software and operating systems centrally. An integrated helpdesk aimed to link asset management with user support. We also wanted to get rid of different tools.
- Termination of so-called sneaker network administration
- Improve first-level support for end users
- No need for differenz tools for IT management
- MSI packages are created in just a few minutes and rolled out to the systems
- Central patch management prevents self-administration of the computers by end users
- Central and consistent handling in two-man operation
How suitable is the solution for SVN’s IT operations?
Deskcenter supports companies and groups that have up to 25,000 systems. So, of course it was also important that the solution fitted our needs. It was quickly revealed that we had selected the right tool due to the simple handling and the compelling cost value. The central and common concept by Deskcenter also makes it easy for small organisations to work with it. This easy operation was lacking with other suppliers. With a two-man team, everyone has to be able to work with Deskcenter and undertake the majority of the functions. It has to be quick and efficient.
Software distribution and patch management are key issues, right? What is important for you?
Here too, time is of key importance. We often lack the time to undertake intensive tests before we roll-out our packages. With Deskcenter we create MSI packages in just a few minutes and then quickly roll these out on the systems. We also like to use the ready-made packages from the AppCloud and do not have to worry about whether they are up-to-date or spend a lot of time to assemble them. Ready-made software packages thus ensure a common software portfolio. Using central patch management, it is no longer necessary for end users to manage everything themselves on their computers and this significantly reduces support effort. The systems are now running more stably thanks to central updates. Deskcenter also helps us to patch the servers, which is done manually. Using the patch level analysis, I know immediately which patches are coming up, can respond quickly and still make individual decisions.
It was quickly revealed that we had selected the right tool due to the simple handling and persuasive value for money. The central and common concept by Deskcenter also makes it easy for small organisations to work with it.
ICT project manager at SNV
How much has the IT security issue changed how you work and the effort involved?
Over recent years, a lot. Now up to a quarter of the time is spent on security measures. This also includes patch management. Deskcenter takes a lot of the work away, especially for clients with targeted patching. Then, you get a kind of to-do list that shows you which patch still needs updating. Regular patching is now not only important to ensure you are up-to-date but also to protect you from out-of-date software that can be subject to attacks.
What do you see as the main benefits of Deskcenter?
Deskcenter significantly simplifies the work. The linking of the various modules into a single solution and the optimal interaction is unique. I can see at a glance which device we are talking about and what is installed on it. So I can quickly see what the problem is and help the end user. Trusted processes can be easily adapted to different systems. This overview of data in one tool is a massive help for our company and I cannot imagine working without Deskcenter anymore.