How Goverlan helped Pekin Hospital's IT team provide real-time support to critical endpoints hospital-wide.
Company: Pekin Hospital
Provide instant support to highly mobile users
Inefficient & unreliable software deployment
Underperforming & lagging remote control
Limited options to push tasks to groups of users/machines
Detect all logged-in workstations in real-time by username search
Powerful & fast remote control
Reliable & efficient global ad hoc software deployments
Customizable & shareable sets of actions that can be pushed to users/machines & scheduled to run when needed
Located just south of Peoria in central Illinois, Pekin Hospital is a 125-bed medical center that has been providing advanced care and state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities - from emergency medicine to intermediate and critical care to surgery - to the Pekin communities for nearly a century. Although the facility and number of services offered has grown exponentially since its founding in 1913, the organization strives to remain small enough to provide the utmost personal attention to its patients and their families. www.pekinhospital.org
The Pekin Hospital IT Department provides vital support to the nurses and doctors at the full-scale facility - from emergency medicine to critical care and surgery. Comprised of 13 total staff including 3 support/helpdesk technicians and 3 general system administrators, the department manages a total of 100 servers and 700-750 endpoints.
The major challenge facing the Pekin Hospital IT Department is providing instant support to highly mobile users that often request help during urgent situations. A typical end-user may be logged into a number of machines across the hospital at any given time. "A nurse may use 10 different machines throughout the day, whether at a nurses' station, cart, or patient room; our users simply don't have home machines," explained Aaron Sherman, System Administrator. The group needed an efficient way to track down and isolate these users in order to troubleshoot the problem machine.
In an environment where urgency is the norm, the IT group needs to be fast to respond and provide on-the-spot solutions. Difficulties arose in deploying third-party software on a global level in response to shifting software configurations across their network. The team also needed to improve first-call resolution through more powerful and faster remote control.
While evaluating several remote administration products, including Dell KACE, Microsoft SCCM, SysAid, and Net Support DNA, the team discovered Goverlan from a colleague who had used it previously. Out of the box, the team quickly found Goverlan outperforming other solutions in its ease of deployment, configuration, usability and functionality. In addition, Goverlan's licensing schema - one perpetual license per technician (no node fees) - makes it a very cost-effective solution.
Goverlan's small, stable, and self-maintained agents make deployment effortless. "ManageEngine's agent tended to be failure prone, as I've seen many Windows Error Reporting messages related to Desktop Central when shutting down a client PC. Goverlan's agents, alternatively, are reliable and installation is so seamless that it can be done in only seconds. KACE and SCCM also had the disadvantage of being difficult to configure out of the box, and had a steep learning curve. These products might be great for IT people that have a single job function surrounding the tool (such as SCCM Administrator, for example), but for people in under-staffed IT departments that have to wear 20 different hats, we prefer tools that are easy and get the job done," affirmed Sherman.
Goverlan's intuitive interface makes it inherently easy to use from day one, eliminating the need for administrators to spend valuable time browsing manuals or attending training sessions so they can get started working at once. "Setting time aside to learn a complex desktop admin tool is difficult to justify - especially when there are easier tools to configure and start using right away, for a smaller price tag. With Goverlan, we were installed in minutes and using it in meaningful ways within hours. I didn't have to read through the manual at all. In contrast, I sat through an SCCM 2007 training class for a week - a week I could have spent getting stuff done with Goverlan," Sherman remarked. With a swift deployment and low learning curve, the department could begin to tackle their challenge.
One of the most powerful features of Goverlan which makes it an ideal systems management solution for a busy hospital setting is that it makes it unnecessary to ask a user for machine information. Goverlan quickly detects all logged-in workstations in real-time by username search. "Often a nurse will call in frantic and not know which machine he or she is at. With Goverlan I can simply ask the nurse; ‘what's your name?' - and instantly I can see all the machines that user is logged into and narrow down to the exact machine in mere seconds," illustrated Sherman. Additionally, the team can also view historical log-in data for a machine and identify the machine's frequent users.
The team has greatly increased their first-call resolution and streamlined their troubleshooting process using Goverlan's powerful remote control capabilities. "Goverlan has a superior remote control component, outperforming Net Support Manager and ManageEngine's Desktop Central, even with recent updates which improved the latter's capabilities. Goverlan's Remote Control has saved us the most time and also increased our first-call resolution significantly. Our old solution was so cumbersome and unreliable that it was often just easier to call the person back later or just go onsite," the team expanded.
Goverlan puts real-time, in-depth user/machine information - such as memory usage, running programs, and various system stats - instantly at an administrator's fingertips in an easy-to-navigate drill down menu. This allows an administrator to gain valuable insight into the root cause of the problem from the get-go. "Goverlan, unlike other solutions, offers real-time data. When we log into the domain, we are looking at PCs as they are at that instant. I can be remotely viewing a user's desktop before they are finished explaining the problem," remarked Sherman.
Being able to deploy software ad hoc on a global level more efficiently and reliably has also eliminated the need to travel to individual machines. Sherman described; "Before Goverlan, if you wanted to deploy an application to a single PC, you had to create a whole deployment configuration or modify an existing one and go find the PC you wanted to deploy to. Then, you had to hope that it would actually deploy without an error or the infinite ‘In Progress' message. You have no idea what it is doing and after 30 minutes of waiting for it, you just go onsite and do it yourself. Deploying software with Goverlan's Custom Actions or a Scope Action gives us tons more options than Desktop Central and software deployments can now be done with more efficiency and reliability."
The IT department frequently uses Goverlan's Custom Actions features, which allows admins to create customized, reusable/shareable sets of specific actions, such as software deployments, that can be pushed to a target with just one click. "Having the ability to create and share Custom Actions is another example of how Goverlan has paid for itself in timesavings alone. I can put together a custom action and share it with our team so others can simply click to run - without having to modify it. We do this for simple registry keys, or for whole application deployments," elaborated Sherman.
Additionally, Goverlan's Scope Actions feature amplifies the reach of Custom Actions, giving an administrator an even greater management options and the ability to push these to larger groups of users/machines. "Scope Actions give us the ability to chain many different actions all together and have it actually work for large groups of PCs. Being able to break those actions into modular chunks is useful as well, as many actions are common to overall scopes," the team expanded. Scope Actions can also be scheduled to run at a specified time.
Another aspect of Goverlan's interface that has enhanced the department's remote control capabilities is the ability to monitor the screens and performance counters of multiple machines simultaneously in a single easy-to-view window. "We really like the ability to see multiple thumbnails of all of our monitored machines at once," the team remarked.
With Goverlan, the Pekin Hospital IT Department has been able to significantly improve their first call resolution for their mobile users through more efficient and powerful remote control. Now the team can also deploy software across their network with fully customizable and shareable actions that can be instantly pushed globally to large groups of users/machines.