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Long Island Rail Road

Long Island Rail Road chose ZENworks Configuration Management to optimize its extensive desktop environment spanning 13 locations, and can now support growth without adding IT staff.

About Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR is the busiest commuter rail road in North America, carrying approximately 265,000 customers each weekday on 735 daily trains. The LIRR system is comprised of over 700 miles of track on 11 different branches.

Challenge

Faced with severe budget cuts, the LIRR was looking for tools to help it maximize its resources. "It's imperative that we get the most out of our employees, and our computing resources," said Roy Dragotta, director of Network Computing for the Long Island Rail Road. "We also needed a more efficient way to tackle compliance issues. Since we're a state agency, we undergo a slew of audits from a number of outside entities."

As its network grew, the LIRR sought the optimum network management tool for their environment. "We needed a way to deploy applications quickly," said Dragotta. "Sending engineers to perform manual installations isn't a viable solution when you have 2,000 users across more than a dozen locations."

The rail road looked at several solutions and found Novell ZENworks® Configuration Management the best choice. "We tested a product from Tivoli, but we really wanted better integration with eDirectory™ and our other Novell products," said Dragotta.

Solution

The LIRR has long used ZENworks to manage approximately 2,200 Windows XP and Windows 7 workstations, and recently upgraded to ZENworks Configuration Management to take advantage of new capabilities. "We liked the idea of being able to tie into multiple directories and run on multiple operating systems," said Dragotta. "That's a big advantage."

Using ZENworks Configuration Management, the LIRR has automated distribution of applications such as Hyperion budgeting, iPrint and Filenet applications. The agency also makes extensive use of the software's remote control capabilities. "Our help desk staff gain remote control of workstations to perform initial problem analysis," said Dragotta. In addition, the LIRR uses the application to track its hardware and software assets.

The organization benefits from many other Novell solutions, including GroupWise® and Identity Manager. "With Identity Manager, our users get a single sign-on experience," said Dragotta. "And 200 users across our IT department are using wikis and document management functions in Novell Vibe® (formerly Novell Teaming) to foster collaboration. It's been very well received."

Results

With Novell software, the LIRR is able to support new growth with its existing staff. "IT is constantly changing," said Dragotta. "There's a lot of pressure to keep systems up-to-date. For example, we needed to roll out a new payroll system quickly. We used ZENworks Configuration Management to distribute the payroll application to hundreds of users overnight. This would have been impossible without ZENworks Configuration Management."

Using this solution, the LIRR has vastly reduced the time involved with supporting desktops and users. "ZENworks Configuration Management has saved us quite a bit of money," said Dragotta. "Without ZCM, we certainly would have needed another one to two staff members to support our users' needs. For example, we have a large number of users working in remote areas. With ZENworks Configuration Management in place, we no longer have to waste time going on-site to support their needs. It's a great tool."

The software helps the LIRR respond to help desk calls faster. "ZENworks Configuration Management is a tremendous time saver," said Dragotta. "If someone calls with a problem, we can walk through the issue and see exactly what they're experiencing. Our help desk staff has found it very helpful for speeding problem resolution."

Moreover, the LIRR has driven down IT costs through more efficient management of software licenses. "We were going to buy 800 copies of Microsoft Office Professional Plus, but after reviewing reports from ZENworks Asset Management, we realized we only had a need for 400 copies, saving us approximately $180,000 dollars over a three year period," said Dragotta. "The inventory and usage data really came in handy, both for driving down costs and for reports in preparation for external audits."

LIRR users also benefit from these capabilities. "ZENworks Configuration Management provides a way for our users to receive new applications, with very little interruption in their day-to-day work," said Dragotta. "Applications can be provisioned very quickly, and it's completely transparent to the users that it's occurring. This helps improve productivity."

The response to Vibe has also been positive. "Based on the feedback of Vibe users, we're considering rolling it out across the organization," Dragotta said. "It's a useful tool to get people working together in a cooperative fashion."

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