Pound for Pound Strongest Leader in 2015 Gartner Client Management Tools Magic Quadrant

I spent roughly sixteen years practicing martial arts. I learned several styles that included self-defense, stand up fighting techniques, grappling, and how to throw an opponent. I also learned to use several weapons—yes, I do have nun-chuck skills. 🙂 Sometimes I like to watch Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights, but not because of the violence or blood. I’m really more of a pacifist. I prefer to watch the smaller guys compete in the octagon. They’re faster, more agile, land more strikes, and are far more strategic and technical in the way they fight than the heavy weight competitors. However, you won’t see a fight between a featherweight and a heavy weight in the MMA. It’s just not considered a fair fight.

Battle in the Magic Quadrant Octagon

Total User Management is not Only Easier to Use, But More User-Focused

Ever been frustrated at a random reboot?

In my last post, I introduced you the latest version of Total User Management, and gave you an overview of just some of its new improved features. For this article, I was hoping to drill down a little bit further and offer more insight into how Total User Management is not only easier to use, but more user-focused.

I think we’ve all been there, IT specialist and lay person alike. You’re right in the middle of something important—usually time sensitive in nature—when your machine decides it wants to reboot and patch right in the middle of everything. Now, let me give you a better idea of just how archaic this really is with an analogy.

We’re Listening – Total User Management Focuses on Simplicity, Scalablity, Security

Have you ever put yourself in a developers shoes and asked yourself, “How would I improve this product if I had the chance?” Well we have. That’s the exact reason we asked our Product Advisory Committee what they would do to improve our product. And you know what the crazy part is? We listened and they really noticed in this latest release of LANDESK systems and security management products. The result is a product we are thrilled to release. Total User Management with 9.6 enhancements is now easier to use, more scalable for enterprise and it’s focused on the user.

  • Easy to use– Who doesn’t want an easier to use product? But when we say that it’s easier to use, we’re also talking about decreasing the time it takes for you to manage all of your systems. For example, to create a provisioning template takes seven steps instead of 110. I don’t know about you but I think it’s easier to climb seven steps instead of seven stories. 9.6 allows you to save time by identifying which patches are most important to your organization and enabling you to implement them quickly.
  • Built for enterprise– The fact is, the faster you can react to a threat, or patch your machines, the less likely you are to be compromised; it’s as simple as that. Think of the Starship Enterprise. What happens if the shields are slow to come up? They die! This brings us to the enterprise (not the starship). Scalability is always an issue when it comes to managing thousands of machines. Software distribution and patching has taken a quantum leap in speed. You choose which packages to distribute and when and then it’s done in minutes to an hour versus several hours. The speed of the accelerated push technology is like flying a Piper Cub single prop airplane and then jumping into an SR-71 Blackbird. The difference in speeds is breathtaking. Just sit back and experience the g-force!
  • Focused on the user– Self-updating agents is a major reason why 9.6 doesn’t get in the way of user’s. This could possibly be the last agent you will ever install! By A user and his devices monitoring and enabling you to schedule when reboots occur, 9.6 stays out of the way of user efficiency. This means less headache for you (via end-user complaints) and more productivity for employees. The system can be configured to leverage when the user is usually not very active, or is not using crucial programs, to determine when the best time to reboot will be. It’s the best of both worlds. Your systems stay up-to-date and secure, while employees don’t have any reason to curse IT. There’s also a new user portal that works across all devises and patches can now be activated on a self-service basis from the portal.

Some would think we made these improvements in order to attract new customers or remain ahead of the curve. That’s true, but a big reason we made these improvements was to make our customer’s lives easier. We did it because we truly understand what tools make an organization that much more efficient.

Total User Management 9.6 is coming July 22, 2014! Stay tuned for more in our series on all the helpful tricks and additions that will be available soon.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

RuffaloCODY_Logo

Recently a leader in strategic fundraising services was faced with a big IT decision: Which product would they decide to use to automate patch management and other systems management needs?

When was the last time you went a whole day without making a decision? Can’t think that far back? Don’t hurt yourself. Chances are you haven’t gone a day in your life without making at least one decision.

We face decisions every day; big decisions, small decisions and decisions in-between. The results of our decisions can affect the quality of our lives. By making sound decisions, our lives, professional and personal will likely result in satisfaction. Making poor decisions can lead to disappointment.

Choosing the right software for a project can be daunting. Let’s take automating patch management for example. There are throngs of players out there that claim to automate patch management: Microsoft, Altiris, FrontRange, Novell, CA Technologies, BMC Software, Kaseya, Absolute Software, Dell Kace and more. The pros and cons vary from product to product. But which is the best and how do you know? You can research what industry analyst are saying such as Gartner, IDC and Forrester.  You could “phone a friend” or “ask the audience.” Often, the best way is to ask someone who’s had to make the same decision.

Recently a leader in strategic fundraising services was faced with a big IT decision: Which product would they decide to use to automate patch management and other systems management needs? Well since you’re on the LANDesk blog page, you can probably guess who they went with, yup, LANDesk, but the question is why?

Find out for yourself in the recently released RuffaloCODY success story here.

The Parable of the Bricklayer

What kind of bricklayer are you? Are bricklayer building an impenetrable wall or are you helping build the business through user oriented IT?

What kind of bricklayer are you? Are bricklayer building an impenetrable wall or are you helping build the business through user oriented IT?

The user-centered approach to IT can be a difficult one to consider when your current world is focused on firefighting call queues and dealing with irate employees who are experiencing technology failures while being asked to cut costs at every turn.

It sounds like your Incident management is broken and you need a new tool to fix it right? Well that’s possible, but have you considered taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture from a user’s point of view.

Consider the parable of the bricklayer:

A man was walking to work when he passed a building site where there were a number of construction site workers. He was curious about what was planned for the site as it was in his neighborhood.  He asked the first worker what he was doing.

The first worker said, “I’m a brick layer so I’m taking bricks piling one on top of another and putting cement between them to hold them together. “ The worker went back to his task grumbling that he must get this finished before lunch and move on to the next task on his list.

Meanwhile the curious man still wasn’t sure what was going on so he asked a second bricklayer the same question and he answered “I’m putting up a wall. We are on a huge construction project and my job today is to build the outside wall before I go home.”

The man walked on and asked a third worker what he was doing. The third worker responded with pride in his voice, “We are just beginning to build a brand new wing for this school which is nurturing and educating the next generation to be the greatest thinkers and leaders for our nation. So I am helping build a great environment that will benefit all our futures.”

From the three site workers the man got three different perspectives, each saw his task in a different scenario.  One was focused on the immediate task in hand, the second saw he was contributing to something bigger although still only concerned about the immediate job in hand while the third was doing exactly the same job but he saw the bigger picture vision and future benefit beyond the daily need.

Your call queues might be high because there is a reoccurring incident that is really annoying your users, which really just needs problem management to get to the root cause in order to reduce your calls. You may actually be constantly firefighting because the rest of the business thinks your only concern is fixing technical failures not providing IT solutions to generate new revenues. As a result, they impose their IT solutions upon you to execute rather than consulting you.

You might have irate employees who don’t see why they should be phoning to tell you that the email server is down because they think you should know this already. They think rather than incident management what you really need is integration with Event management to help you know about these kind of outages so that your users don’t feel they have to tell you about them. Your costs may be high because you have a great Incident management system but when it comes to request management you have no integration to automatically deploy software requests so your man hour labor costs are disproportionately high through incessant manual upgrades.

Thinking beyond simple incident management or even service management to how your users see things will take you on your first steps to User Centered IT as well as a way of inspiring your team to greater things. So the question is this: What kind of bricklayer are you? Are bricklayer building an impenetrable wall or are you helping build the business through user centered IT?

Where We’ve Been, and Where We’re Headed

 

One day, early in my career, I stood in an airport looking to catch a connecting flight. People were rushing all around me. I looked at my itinerary and realized that I couldn’t remember what day it was, what city I had just come from, where I was at the moment, or where I was going. I felt anxiety rising inside me and had to stop and take a deep breath, relax, and then try to remember the last place I’d been. It was a big relief when I remembered what city I had just come from because I was able to figure out where I needed to go.

I’ve had a similar lost feeling in convention centers during IT industry shows because every company there was saying the same thing. So much so that it was hard to tell company A, B, and C apart. The messages are the same because the companies are trying to solve the same IT problems. The challenge I have when hearing people say such similar things, is that I often can’t remember if one said it differently than the other.

What sets LANDesk apart is that we’ve  been solving IT problems for longer than most of the companies have been around. So here’s a little statement that helps me and hopefully will help you remember where LANDesk has been and how we’re solving IT challenges right now: Intelligent Choices Deliver Greater Control and Services.

If you need to, rinse and repeat that statement seven more times and you’ll have it down.

Intelligent: Management Intelligence

Where have we been? Using patented discovery and inventory capabilities to know and report what you have and how it’s configured.

Where are we now? A SmartVue app that shows the value and work IT is performing to everyone, including your execs on their smartphones and tablets. Also there are contextual inspectors for more efficient IT administration.

Choices: Any User, Any Device

Where were we? Managing PCs, Macs, Linux and Unix

Where are we? Managing the same desktop platforms but even better – i.e. increased Mac support with Mac code that was even being developed on a Mac. We now also support iOS, Android and Blackberry. And we give you choices on how to license those devices, by node or by user.

Deliver: Deliver Software, Patches, OSs and Remote IT

Where were we? Distributing software and patches automatically to users anywhere they connect to the Internet.

Where are we now?  Wake up any machine across the WAN to automatically perform distributions and patches. Remote control anyone with any device using HTML 5 remote control – enabling you to collaborate and resolve issues with multiple people while remote controlling.

Control: Security, Compliance, Power Management and Hardware Optimization

Where have we been? Host Intrusion Prevention (HIPS), security dashboards, software license compliance, saving megawatts of power and money, integrating management with top PC vendors.

Where are we? Geo-fenced device blocking, integrated third party anti-virus and encryption, software reclamation, and integrating management with tablet vendors.

Services: Service Management and Self-Service

Where were we? ITIL verified on all 15 v.3 processes; delivered via SaaS, Premise or Hybrid implementations.

Where are we now? Service Catalogs that know what you have and what you’re entitled to and a Mobile Analyst app that helps you solve incidents anywhere from your tablet or smartphone.

It’s good to know where we’ve been, so we know where we are and where we’re headed. LANDesk has been there solving IT’s greatest challenges for users, that’s why we have a 90%+ approval rating from our customers.

Where are we headed?

LANDesk is developing more User-Oriented IT solutions so you can maximize your user productivity and simplify your IT operations. I guess Intelligent Choices do Deliver Greater Control and Services for IT.

Live, Love, LANDesk!

Oil States International: How to Bridge IT Systems

Oil States International is a highly diversified company that has experienced exponential growth through acquisition. But when it acquires a new business, it also acquires an IT system that will not connect to its existing platforms. “Oil States is a conglomerate consisting of nine different companies spread around the world,” said Robb Harper, Lead Technical Support Analyst for Oil States. “Two of the companies had large, automated systems management solutions in place, and the others had smaller, home-grown systems. The fact that the systems were segmented and could not talk to each other created significant problems when it came to supporting our environment.” Find out how Robb Harper and team not only bridged these IT service management platforms into one, but surpassed all IT services expectations. Learn more by watching the video below.

Twenty-First Century IT Service

It seems counter intuitive to spend money in order to save money, but that’s what happened with LANDesk. The team estimates that the solution paid for itself within the first year, and it continues to save the Hutto school district money every year.

Do you remember the days of elementary school?

Recess, classmates, and teachers were a part of my elementary school experience, and let’s not forget the computer lab. I remember feeling quite safe on my computer, accessing my education applications.  Thinking back, there must have been a lot that went in to keeping my computer safe, secure and up-to-date.

Travis Brown and Keith Reynolds are IT administrators who actually make such an experience possible for the kids they serve at Hutto Independent School District.

In order to prepare students for a twenty-first century workplace, school districts must provide twenty-first century instruction—and that means technology. Yet in today’s tough economic times, finding the funds to provide the technology and also to manage it efficiently requires a careful balancing act. Faculty and staff are requesting more applications all the time. But while Hutto’s IT environment grows every year, the IT staff does not. Keeping the systems and applications up and running so they are available to teachers and students every day is a constant struggle. Over the years, as the District grew in size, IT struggled to maintain the environment because they had to perform every task manually.

Imaging PCs was an especially big problem for Travis and Keith.  They reimage each PC every summer, and they only have a three-week period in which to do that, but because it took an average of two and a half hours to image each one by hand, they never met that deadline. Travis and Keith always ran over into the start of the school year, which caused some disruption in the classrooms. They also had to deal with 10 different images, which complicated the process even more.

Taking inventory was another time-consuming process. Inventory affects many aspects of managing the districts environment.  Having real-time statistics is the first step to troubleshooting a PC, which is the team’s most common IT task. They also need accurate numbers for budgeting, justifying purchases, and more. Before, it used take weeks or months to perform a full inventory and even then, because of human error, they could never be sure the final count was correct. They ran the risk of purchasing too little or too much software, and they spent extra staff hours ensuring everything was correct.

Patching PCs by hand was another job that was impossible to keep up with. It was such a time-consuming and overwhelming task that Travis and Keith applied patches once a year when they reimaged the machines, and after that on an as-needed basis only. As a result, viruses were a constant struggle. They needed an automated solution that would address all of these big concerns, especially considering how fast the school district was growing.

Brown and his staff reviewed four of the leading automated systems management products on the market and chose LANDesk. They did a proof of concept on all of the leaders and LANDesk came out on top for its intuitive interface, flexibility, reliability, and overall cost. It seems counterintuitive to spend money in order to save money, but that’s what happened with LANDesk. The team estimates that the solution paid for itself within the first year, and it continues to save the school district money every year.

The solution significantly decreased imaging time. Because the entire process is now automated Travis and Keith average fewer than 10 minutes of hands-on imaging time per PC. That’s a nearly 95 percent reduction, which frees up IT staff to tackle more mission-critical issues. And now, each summer they meet their three-week imaging window with time to spare. And LANDesk allowed them to replace the 10 previous images with one platform-independent image, making the process even easier.

Accurate, real-time inventory numbers are just a click away. The IT team can generate a precise, up-to-the-minute inventory report in a matter of minutes. That has made troubleshooting significantly easier and faster. Now the team can manage hardware settings, identify which machines need replacing each year, track the software on each PC—you name it. LANDesk reduces the time they spend on mundane tasks by up to 70 percent or more. Travis and Keith would need at least four more technicians to do what they do today with LANDesk—and even then they would still have issues with human error—which is a cost avoidance of some $160,000 a year in salaries alone. The IT team now fixes 80 percent of user problems in 24 to 48 hours, versus taking up to several weeks before.”

Automated patching has nearly eliminated virus outbreaks. LANDesk has given the team a lot of peace of mind. They have not had a virus attack in years. Patching is now conducted on a periodic basis, allowing Travis and Keith to stay current and confident with their security level. Before it would take two or three days out of the team’s week to do what patching they did. Now it takes minutes to thoroughly and accurately apply all patches. Due to education funding problems on the state level, all Texas school districts were forced to downsize. Even though they lost two technicians on their already small staff, they maintained the same high level of support thanks to LANDesk. In addition, by implementing the solution’s power management features, Hutto School District saves thousands of dollars each month in electricity costs and extends the life of their PCs by shutting them down when not in use. Those savings really impressed the school board. LANDesk is indispensable at Hutto School District. The team says they literally could not manage without it.

It’s the Season of Goodwill, Except at LANDesk

LANDesk strives to make care and concern for our customers a year round sentiment.

It’s that time of year where the season of goodwill to all men and looking to the future year dominates one’s thoughts. It’s that special time where everyone is a little friendlier, more collaborative, willing to stop and chat, and work together for the greater good. At LANDesk there is no such season of goodwill. But before you shout “Bah! Humbug!” read on. The reason I say there is no such season is that we strive to make care and concern for our customers a year round sentiment.

With the portfolio of solutions LANDesk offers, we actively help IT teams and departments to come together, work together, and help each other. This enables IT departments to give their customers that sense of security and warm glow of satisfaction that you see within children this time of year. We help IT departments show their value and shine brightly as a star to their management teams.

Here’s an example: Max is one of the Senior Management team working in a retail organization. It’s the busiest time of the year and he needs to access his CRM system on his desktop but it won’t let him login. At the same time he wants to make sure that over the holiday season he can access this app on his mobile device.

Thanks to LANDesk, Max can log his ticket issue with Self Service. The service desk team has reports on security threats from the systems administrators so they know his request is nothing to worry about. Now they can remote on to the machine to check it while continuing to use service desk processes to fix the issue or escalate it.

To get the app on his mobile device, Max logs a Service Catalogue request. Once again the service desk team has access to all the information they need including a complete record of the IT assets. The IT team knows how many app licenses are out there and who has them. So before automatically deploying the CRM app on Max’s device they know whether they have enough licenses,  if they need to purchase more licenses, or automatically reclaim unused licenses.

All the time Max is happy knowing that the IT team has his back over his most critical period. To check the progress of his request, he can receive notifications and watch the status of his tickets. Next time Max goes to a senior management meeting he can vouch for the performance that the whole IT team have achieved. With his own personal experience, plus the visibility that he and his colleagues are being given, not only does Max feel assured that the IT team is delivering value but that they have one eye on the future of the business. It is able to provide day-to-day analytics and trend analysis that allows the management team to view on their iPads what has been happening and how they can use that information to build business plans for the following year.

This is why I say the season of goodwill is one that we promote all year round at LANDesk. We help organizations change the way that people work in order to improve performance and work collaboratively. We enable you to manage and secure your IT, we provide opportunities to follow best practice processes and policy for end-to-end delivery of services that transform IT operations. We aim to help IT drive business operations and create happy, satisfied and productive end user customers that feel a seasonal glow all year round.

How LANDesk Lightens the Load and Brightens Your Day

Industry studies pinpoint a number of challenges that keep IT professionals burning the midnight oil—everything from patching software and system infrastructure changes to inventory management, malware/spyware and data loss from mobile devices.

As this infographic shows, LANDesk solutions address specific pain points and enable you to gain greater control over the management and security of your IT environment while reducing costs, complexity and risk.

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