About Karlstad Kommun
Karlstad Kommun is a municipality within Värmland County in western Sweden, centred on the city of Karlstad. The municipality has approximately 84,000 inhabitants and is home to one of the most modern universities in Sweden. The local administration manages childcare and education services, cultural activities, tourism promotion and local industry regulations.
While the number of administrative employees at Karlstad Kommun is relatively low–approximately 5,000 people–the municipality's IT function provides services to a much larger community of users: some 25,000 people in total. This community includes approximately 18,000 students and 2,000 teachers from dozens of municipal schools spread across a wide geographic area, and is constantly changing at the beginning and end of every academic year.
Managing this large and ever-changing set of users was a significant challenge for the IT staff, both in terms of setting up and controlling access to network resources and in terms of provisioning desktop computers and software. Karlstad Kommun wanted to centralise user and asset management to a single point of control, thereby minimising the need to travel between sites. Equally, the administration aimed to streamline and automate user provisioning, to enable faster user set-up at a lower cost.
Karlstad Kommun selected ZENworks® Configuration Management to centralise the management of some 6,000 desktop computers–2,000 in the administration itself and 4,000 in the municipal schools. The organisation uses Symantec LiveState software to remotely deploy Microsoft Windows images to new PCs, then uses ZENworks Configuration Management to install the latest security patches and the right software for each user profile. The solution also enables remote control of PCs for support purposes.
"We have a relatively large network of PCs spread across a number of different locations," said Inge Hansson, CIO, Karlstad Kommun. "In the past, it was challenging to support these machines and ensure that they had the correct patches and software installed. ZENworks Configuration Management automates most of the administrative tasks and gives us full control over the network from a central point of control, making it much easier to support our users."
To automate user provisioning and account management, Karlstad Kommun selected Identity Manager and uses it to integrate user information across its employee payroll system and the student management system. When an employee joins Karlstad Kommun or a new student enrols in one of the municipal schools, their entry into the payroll or student systems triggers the automatic creation of a user account with the appropriate access rights.
"Our aim was to integrate our payroll and student systems with the core user directories, and Identity Manager was the ideal solution," said Hansson. "Identity Manager automates the creation of new users, freeing up IT and administrative staff to focus on other initiatives."
Karlstad Kommun has an Enterprise Agreement from Microsoft Volume Licensing, which provides a single contract covering all Microsoft software on all computers in the organisation. Previously, each department had to keep a manual tally of its own software use, and pass the figures back to the IT staff for consolidation and reporting to Microsoft. By implementing ZENworks Asset Management, Karlstad Kommun eliminated the manual administration of licences, improving the accuracy of the count while saving significant time and effort.
Karlstad Kommun deployed all of its software on Open Enterprise Server running SUSE® Linux Enterprise.
The introduction of ZENworks Configuration Management has enabled Karlstad Kommun to reduce the number of site visits made by its technicians, despite an increase in the size of its infrastructure and the number of users. This helps to keep IT costs low while improving the quality of service and support for end-users.
Using ZENworks Asset Management, the municipality has identified opportunities to reduce its Microsoft licensing fees by approximately 10 percent when the contract comes up for renegotiation. "In the past, we were over-reporting licence numbers to ensure that we were compliant," said Hansson. "ZENworks Asset Management gives us a completely clear picture of our software licensing requirements, with no manual effort."
It previously took about 30 minutes to provision each new user–and with nearly 1,000 new or changed staff each year, and 2,000 new students, this implied a significant administrative burden. With Identity Manager, the process is fully automatic, delivering an estimated saving of 1,500 hours per year.
"Identity Manager saves all the time previously spent on manually synchronising user information across the systems," said Hansson. "This also means that we can set up new users faster, and it improves security by ensuring that user accounts are promptly deactivated when users leave the organisation."