Industry: Educational Institution| Case Study
About Pearl Public School district:
With a staff of approximately 500, Pearl Public School District takes pride in its efforts to provide a superior level of education to a diverse population of approximately 3,800 students. Public School District has five schools serving K- 12. Throughout its history, Pearl's academic and extracurricular programs have received numerous accolades. Approximately 20 percent of the certified staff is National Board Certified.
'Information' - the key to learning in schools. Changes in such information access are creating challenges as well as opportunities for Pearl Public School District. The wide spread availability of electronic tools enable pupils the opportunity to access the knowledge bank anytime. The school's IT team is in-charge of creating, accessing and deploying the technological know-how. There was no appropriate tool to scrutinize users' information, maintaining all the consoles manually with updated software became a painstaking task.
"It was a complicated affair for us. We needed to ensure that every system is up-to-date with Office 2010, Windows, and Third party software. Desktop Central solved the problem with its software deployment capabilities, as well as update management for Windows Updates and third party updates," says Kevin Knuckles , Director of Technology,Pearl Public School District.
The IT team had a tough time dealing with software infrastructure with respect to updates. The challenge was to maintain a coherent system that met the standards. "Before we purchased desktop central, we had to either manually install the software or deploy software through group policies, which didn't always work," mentions Kevin.
Soon, the IT team realized that if they continue with the existing procedure it might hamper their time and effort.
Kevin and team realized bulk deployment for the entire system was the best way to go about tackling the problem. During the search for a solution, they had few considerably important criteria in their mind. They expected the application to be robust, i.e. a tool that can provide comprehensive details on inventory, automate the software deployment and a dynamic remote desktop management that can access the system with minimal personnel assistance.
The IT team examined various products like LANDesk, Dell Kace, etc. but none of these met their expectations. Be it in terms of product features or cost. And when they tested Desktop Central, it became their final choice.
"I had looked at products such as LANDesk, Altiris, and Dell/KACE systems. It really came down to features, price, and time taken to deploy. Desktop Central had a competitive price, better set of features, and was easy to deploy whereas the other products were quite expensive and required quite a bit of configuration time to successfully deploy. I had used Desktop Central at my prior Organization and the positive experience I had there also helped shape my decision," adds Kevin.
Of the many features offered by Desktop Central, software deployment, windows updates, and remote management are the primary ones that Pearl Public School IT department uses for bulk deployment and software assessment. These features have helped the team to perform the tasks at ease and have improved productivity.
"Before, there was so much time and efforts put in work such as deploying software manually, and there were no proper patch updates and we had very cumbersome tasks to perform. Now, it is very easy for us to deploy new updates, and the software now frees up from the identical tasks. On the other hand, learning curve for Desktop Central is technically just a few minutes versus hours like it used to take us, it is a real time savior," says Kevin
An IT administrator has to deal with a lot of systems and technologies without interrupting the end users on a day-to-day basis; for this purpose, application has to be agile and flexible. "To me Desktop Central was special because it has an easily navigable interface. The layout of the software in the web console is extraordinarily easy. One more good thing is that the product can be deployed in one day; one can immediately use it," explains Kevin.
Pearl Public School deals with a large amount of inventory and they have obsolesce plan in place, where they replace all their system once every five year. IT team has a dedicated person responsible for the Inventory capital budget and in spite of that, it became a Herculean task to track the asset information suitably. With the inventory module in the Desktop Central, the IT team is now able to assess the warranty look up for every system that aids in taking acute budgetary decisions and makes it easy to locate the system information.
"Warranty lookup is significant for us because we have a five year obsolescence plan. With the inventory module in desktop central, we can quickly and easily see when a machine was shipped and when its warranty expires. This helps us determine what our computer replacement budget should be for the coming year(s). That is the best part of this module, in my opinion," mentions Kevin.
For an IT technician, a product document is crucial as the administrator spends substantial amount of time learning the product. Pearl Public School IT team deployed the product at ease with the help of documents. "When it comes to Desktop Central's documentation, either for initial deployment or any other necessary information, Desktop Central team has done very well to document the product. Any of the documents we have used in the past have been very helpful and is very detailed. I rarely have to call technical support because the documentation is so well done," says Kevin.
"Desktop Central plays an extremely critical role in the education industry; it's a valuable tool, to the education market, because you are typically dealing with a lot of technology and workstations. Typically, in schools you have a very small technology staff support for those machines. For the benefit of school districts, one should use this product in order to manage systems easily. I believe anybody would see great potential and great use out of the product," declares Kevin.
Desktop Central is a complete Desktop Management Software that provides Software Deployment, Patch Management, Service Pack Installation, Asset Management, Remote Control, Configurations, System Tools, User Logon Reports and Active Directory Reports. It is a network-neutral solution that can be used to manage desktops in Active Directory, Workgroups and Novell eDirectory. It can manage computers in multiple domains and can also manage computers across WAN (branch offices). Desktop Central helps achieve compliance with standards like SOX, HIPAA, PCI, etc, and provides a bundle of useful reports to meet compliance audits.