Thursday 7 April 2011

My Testimonial to System Center Configuration Manager

I first experienced System Center Configuration Manager or SMS working for an organisation six years ago.  In my second technology position, I was amazed by its power and ability to improve how IT professionals deliver services to an organisation.  

In a support role, I loved the idea that I could roll out an application, just by adding a computer into a security group, or roll out an operating system remotely with no interaction. I was inspired and needed to know more about SCCM. 

Two years later I started working for a small ICT consultant firm, I did my best to show our clients the benefits; majority had less than 200 seats and could not see advantages over the costs.  Vista had been released and there were no plans to move from XP.

A year later I was approached by a local community health, that had over 500 seats and nine sites, SCCM was the perfect solution, they were backwards in technology and still running Windows 2000 at various locations.

The IT Managers strategic direction included the rollout of Office 2007 to existing network clients within three months, the roll out of Windows 7 to all able workstations within six months; he also needed to demonstrate to the executive team why SCCM was the product of choice. 

We decided to setup and demonstrate SCCM to the executive team. In a presentation we included the following features and how they would be utilised:

·         Operating System Deployment:  

o   Deploy an OS to any PC for troubleshooting purposes or new PC’s
o   Migrate from Windows 7 to XP within 30 minutes.

·         Application Deployment 

o   Deploy any application remotely
o   Allow users to interact with the install or install it silently
o   Set deadlines to ensure applications are installed.

·         Software Updates

o   Increase stability and security of network
o   Release updates monthly in a pre-production isolated environment to ensure compatibility within network.
o   Provide monthly reports on computer compliance

·         Out Of Band Management:  

o   Power on and off workstations remotely
o   Install updates or applications in the middle of the night reducing downtime for users.
o   Control and re-configure Bios settings.

·         Remote Tools 

o   Integrated with the helpdesk software. Service desk software can be a one-stop shop.
o   Control user sessions, remote desktop or remote assistance
o   Handles Dual Screens efficiently
o   Can assist roaming clients on the Internet.

·         Asset Intelligence

o   Audit clients to ensure they meet standards. For Example, 1 GB of RAM.

·         Software Metering

o    Determine how often software was in use and if they were really required, thus reducing software costs.
·         Reporting

o   Troubleshoot installation of operating systems or applications.
o   Compliance reporting, for example, ensuring all workstations have Office 2007
o   Software licensing reports.

Within the presentation we provided two scenarios with tangle benefits, assuming an IT support person cost $60ph.

Scenario 1: Management required Office 2007 installed onto 500 workstations

Option 1:  ICT staff member manually installs Office 2007 onto 500 workstations taking 30 min’s per workstation. Cost: $15,000

Option 2: Use SCCM to automate the deployment process, monitor, report, and troubleshoot delivery. Automatically power up workstations at midnight using vpro technology, install the application and power down. Cost: $1,000 of man hours.

Scenario 2: Management required Windows 7 deployed to 500 workstations

Option 1: ICT staff member manually installs SOE on 500 workstations taking 3 hours per workstation Cost: $90,000

Option 2: Use SCCM to automate the deployment process, monitor, report, and troubleshoot delivery, install operating systems with zero touch and multiple workstations simultaneously Cost: $30,000.

As you can see it is very easy to justify and show anyone the benefits of SCCM, the key is to ensure they can see the savings in dollar values. Needless to say the executive directors fell in love with SCCM; once they knew the cost savings. The IT team fell in love with SCCM once they knew they didn’t have to work as hard to get consistent and efficient results, allowing them to invest more time in other aspects of their IT field. 

I recently had the pleasure to give a presentation to other Community Health IT managers; I can confidently say they absolutely loved the product.  I have assisted multiple public health organisations implement SCCM; it’s defiantly a product that can reduce your overheads with time and money.
I also had the pleasure of blogging for Intel focusing on AMT technology integration with SCCM. Here is the link 

If you wanted to get a hold of one of the presentations drop me an email and I will send it on or if you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment.

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