Since they began using PictureTaker (Prism Deploy) three years ago, Honeywell Building and Home Controls has saved $8 million.
"We saved over $42,000 the first time we used PictureTaker (Prism Deploy) to roll out software," said John Peters, a consultant for Honeywell Building and Home Controls Division, "And we keep saving money every day as we need to update software or roll out something new."
Honeywell Building and Home Controls, a division of Honeywell, Inc., is the world leader in creating efficient, safe, comfortable environments. The business offers controls for heating, ventilation, humidification and air-conditioning equipment; security and fire alarms; home automation systems; energy-efficient lighting controls; and building management systems and services.
Honeywell Building and Home Controls' IT department includes approximately 7,000 desktops located in 103 branch offices across North America (including Newfoundland, Alaska and Hawaii), as well as approximately 500 remote users. The desktops are running Windows 95 and are supported by 15 Windows NT servers and 108 Novell servers.
Since they began using PictureTaker (Prism Deploy) three years ago to prepare and test software and updates for division-wide distribution, Honeywell Building and Home Controls has saved $8 million. This savings is based on documented numbers and does not include "soft numbers" such as employee productivity. Additionally, end-user satisfaction among Honeywell Building and Home Controls division employees is the highest in the company.
For the last several years, Honeywell Building and Home Controls has contracted much of their desktop support functions to OTG Systems, co-owned and operated by John Peters. Peters provides background on the development of the division's software distribution process:
"Not too long ago, we were sending two techs to each branch office - all 103 of them - for every Novell and desktop update. Then we started just installing the updates on every server so we could at least push the updates to users from central locations. But that was still an incredibly time-consuming process, requiring a total of about 200 work weeks (when you include everyone's hours) for just one update.
"Between the time it took for preparation, testing, the actual installation and update process, and then recovery from all of the errors that would occur - which required hundreds of in-person visits to employee desktops - we were only sending out updates once or twice a year."
The migration to Windows 95 introduced a whole new set of challenges for the team when they began encountering problems with the set-up programs. "For example, a Peoplesoft update would require connections to Oracle's SQL client, DDE, Crystal reports - we were handing out 19 pages of documentation per user. The updates were taking an hour at a time, and then the PC wouldn't work." Error rates were sky-high, and results were well below a 70% success rate.
Today, however, Peters and his team of two administrators are sending installations and updates to every desktop up to three times a week with nearly a 100% success rate. What got them to this place?
Peters' answer is clear. "For the past three years, we've been using a software distribution and support process whose cornerstone has been PictureTaker (Prism Deploy)."
Using PictureTaker (Prism Deploy), Peters and the OTG team are able to perform conflict and DLL resolution, distribute virus updates to desktops and laptops, and perform software updates to Honeywell's proprietary applications. Since the software distribution process began relying on PictureTaker (Prism Deploy), Honeywell Building and Home Controls employees receive 130-150 updates per year with nearly 100% success rates.
Peters says, "We're running 7,000 PCs with only 3 support people. That's just about unheard of; typically, you'll see six or more SMS support people in a division with only 60 PCs!"
An outstanding example of the benefits provided by PictureTaker's (Prism Deploy) flexible, easy-to-use technology is set by Peters' description of rolling out a recent upgrade to Internet Explorer 5.5. "We sent this update out to 7,000 users simultaneously," Peters relates. "We received only 20 calls to the help desk - and most of them were things like a non-standard Active Directory on their machine, or there was a misassociated graphics file."
With PictureTaker (Prism Deploy), the updates to the target computer are invisible, which means the computer remains open and workable. Honeywell employees initiate the installation and then return to work as usual; the entire install happens behind-the-scenes, and employees maintain 100% productivity. "We almost never have to visit the desktop anymore," Peters says. "And for the rare error or failed install, we either can make the fix over the phone with the employee, or just roll back the file using PictureTaker's (Prism Deploy) rollback option."
Peters also points to PictureTaker's (Prism Deploy) powerful repackaging and conflict-checking capabilities as critical to the success and speed of Honeywell's software distribution process.
"We're distributing software in a large, hugely diverse environment," says Peters. "With any other tool - Installshield, SMS Installer, et cetera - it's going to take us 8-10 hours just to achieve full customization of an installation script. PictureTaker (Prism Deploy) lets us build the package in just a few minutes."
Peters continues, "If we use other tools to test and check installations for conflicts, or to see how they'll behave on variously-configured machines, we're going to spend a good 5-8 business days completing those tests. With PictureTaker's (Prism Deploy) Conflict Checker Professional, we're done in a day."
Soon after Honeywell was acquired by Allied Signals (2000), Peters attended a meeting where he was asked to defend the desktop support and administration processes within his specific division. "No one could believe the numbers," says Peters. "Our costs were half of any other Honeywell division, and literally one-fourth of industry averages. Our final TCO was 50% below the national average. And end-user satisfaction was the highest in Honeywell.
"We attribute these amazing results and savings to PictureTaker. (Prism Deploy is the new name for PictureTaker)