About Witt Gruppe
Headquartered in Weiden, Germany, Witt Gruppe is a European retailer with 2,400 employees. The company is a direct seller in ten European countries and operates 100 stores in Germany. With 11 million customers in Europe and up to 75,000 deliveries per day, Witt Gruppe generates revenues of €600 million per year (IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards—business year 2010/2011).
Aware that an increasing number of its business applications required Active Directory, Witt Gruppe wanted to standardise its directory services to increase efficiency and eliminate redundancies.
The company required a desktop management solution capable of supporting its new Active Directory service. "The solution needed to manage both our traditional desktop systems and our Citrix environment," said Björn von der Grün, Team Leader Windows Client Systems, Witt Gruppe.
Witt Gruppe's IT team also wanted to use the new desktop management solution to improve the quality of IT support it offers users. "We lacked real-time information about desktop systems which would enable us to identify and resolve users' problems in a timely fashion."
Ease of migration was another high priority for Witt Gruppe's IT team. "It was critical that the migration should have no perceptible impact on users. We were also keen that the migration process should not involve night shifts for our IT team," said von der Grün.
A long-term user of Novell solutions, Witt Gruppe's previous positive experience of Novell technologies informed the company's decision to upgrade to the latest Novell ZENworks® Configuration Management release. Working with Novell Consulting, Witt Gruppe implemented Novell ZENworks Configuration Management for its 1,500 desktops and 400 Citrix users. "We have been very happy with the service provided by Novell Consulting," says von der Grün. "They have assisted us very competently throughout the duration of the project."
Witt Gruppe implemented two virtual Novell ZENworks Configuration Management servers with load balancing on VMware. For easy administration, both servers are managed through a single Novell ZENworks Management Console. Witt Gruppe has also replaced its desktop management solution's legacy database with the corporate-wide standard Microsoft SQL Server database.
When migrating to Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, Witt Gruppe took advantage of Novell migration tools. The team migrated more than 500 bundles to the new desktop management solution. After all bundles were migrated, Witt Gruppe deployed the new Novell solution. “During the migration period, we used the new Novell ZENworks Configuration Management client software to roll out new and clean images to all desktops,” says von der Grün.
Witt Gruppe configured the system to allow users to choose themselves when they wanted to upgrade their desktop. “We allowed users to decide, within a given timeframe, when would be the most convenient time to install the new Novell ZENworks image,” said von der Grün. “This ensured that users' workflows were not unduly disrupted by the migration process.”
The new Novell ZENworks Configuration Management solution offers advanced bundling capabilities, enabling Witt Gruppe to configure and roll out complex applications and sequences of bundles. This makes application deployment much easier, as it enables the consecutive deployment of several bundles, as well as triggering scripts and starting services to ensure smooth installation of complex applications.
With the new Novell ZENworks Configuration Management solution, Witt Gruppe was able to successfully standardise its directory services, and operate a single central Active Directory for all its business applications.
In addition, by using Microsoft SQL Server to support the Novell ZENworks solution, Witt Gruppe was also able to harmonise its database systems. The standardisation of directory services and database applications has improved the efficiency and productivity of Witt's IT team. "With this standardisation, our team no longer needs to support two different directory services and databases, which frees IT staff to concentrate on value-added tasks."
The flexible migration process to the new Novell ZENworks solution met with approval from business and IT staff alike. "The migration ran seamlessly and we avoided interrupting the workflow of our users or significantly increasing the workload of IT staff," said von der Grün. "It was also a relief that our IT team was able to avoid working night shifts during the migration process."
The added flexibility of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management has enabled Witt Gruppe to bundle and deploy complex applications more efficiently for easier software distribution.
"With Novell ZENworks Configuration Management we have a more holistic view of our desktops and Citrix environment," said von der Grün. "We have been able to gain relevant, real-time information about policy compliance, system errors and device conditions. This improved insight helps us to provide better quality support to our users."