4-page Case Study
Posted: 7/12/2012
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Tokyo Toshima Ward Tokyo Toshima Ward

The desktop computers of the employees were virtualized and the environment of managing various business systems from one computer was achieved. BI was introduced to enable each employee to individually process the data and carry out analysis, to help better policy formulation and implementation.

Toshima Ward is scheduled to move to a new public office building in 2015 and one of the key areas of focus is the optimization of the information technology environment in the government offices as well as accessibility of the key systems. Virtualization of desktop was implemented to remove inefficiency in which multiple computers were deployed for one employee. Instead, an environment in which multiple business systems could be used from a single computer with premier support was achieved. In addition, the employees are able to process and analyze the data by themselves using this information technology environment which is very user friendly. Work has also started on the trials of Business Intelligence (BI) which is used for the verification of hypotheses related to policies.

Business Challenge                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wastage of IT equipment and business space is reduced by enabling access to a network of main system and information system on one computer.

The optimization of the information technology environment, such as open core system, in the Government office is in progress at Toshima Ward as it prepares for its move to a new public office building in December, 2014. Various initiatives have been achieved based on the open architecture restructured business system such as ‘Common Base system’ that performs coordinated operations, ‘Employees Portal’ designed for information sharing within the office and ‘Comprehensive Document Management System’ for maintenance.

In January 2012, the use of a new system was started in Toshima Ward which achieved satisfactory results such as improvement in business efficiency, optimization of IT cost, space saving and conservation of electricity. It was an environment in which the desktop computers of the employees were virtualized and secure access to various business systems was made possible from one computer.

Mr. Kunio Takahashi, Chief, Information Management Division, Management Policy Department, Toshima Ward explains, “Toshima Ward is a region with high population density. The space of the new public office building will be limited. In such a condition, it is not ideal to have a dedicated computer or printer for each business system. We are considering to make it possible to keep no more than 2 computers on the desk and ensuring that they are used optimally, which will help in improving efficiency of the business as well as optimize space.”

12 years ago, when the LAN was introduced within the office in Toshima Ward, the core system was integrated on the same base and studies were conducted to assess whether it was possible to logically separate the network whilst making it possible to be used from a single computer. However, the required level of security of the network could not be met by the technology of that time and thus it was abandoned.

Today, the technology selected to meet this requirement is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) from Microsoft.

Mr. Masatoshi Kuroda, Assistant Manager, in charge of Information, Information management section, explained that there was no resistance in general to the introduction of virtualization technology and further elaborates on the context for the VDI selection. "Speaking about virtualization technology, the virtualization of the server was already completed, and a remote desktop service was adopted for the client terminal. This was based on the results of repeated studies where VDI built on an ordinary computer, with Windows 7 installed, was the best option."

Solution

The virtual desktop environment is centrally managed with System Center with dramatic reduction of the environment configuration load when new computers are added.

In Toshima Ward where the VDI will be installed, about 900 virtual desktop environments were prepared to use the various business systems for taxation business, national insurance and social welfare. The open system was being prepared and centrally managed using Microsoft System Center. If a new computer is needed, a template of the virtual desktop environment is simply created in the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and the additional configuration can be added on the server even if it is for 100 or 200 units. The burden on the administration department is dramatically reduced compared to the days when the settings of the computer hardware had to be configured.

The integration and management of the access rights of each employee is performed using Active Directory, and it has the mechanism to arrange the icons of the systems necessary for business in the ‘Employees Portal’ which can be logged on to using an IC card. Employees can use the virtual desktop environment by simply clicking on the icons in the portal for each dedicated business system. Users will not sense that it is any different from an ordinary computer.

Mr. Eisuke Mori from the same department explained, “Conventionally, the login account was different for each business system. However, from now on, users can login into each business system by simply entering the PIN of the IC card used at Windows login. This will also eliminate problems such as forgetting passwords.”

But security is given careful consideration. Mrs. Hiromi Inoue says, “Ensuring security is of utmost importance. By controlling the redirect feature, data communication between the virtual desktop and the physical computer is prohibited when connected to the virtual desktop. In addition, filtering is applied with layer 3 switch (L3 switch) which will not allow the data of the business system to be sent out.”

In Toshima Ward, the license of Microsoft product has been procured based on the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for government organizations (GEA) which is a volume license for a public organization. In addition, Software Assurance (SA) option which comes with the privilege of upgrading rights serves to maximize the returns on investment. When the VDI environment was being built, a request was made to clarify any doubts and problems with Microsoft Premier.

“Premier Support was used whenever there was a need for consultation. Initially the queries were sent through mail, but during emergencies the team would arrive in person to provide onsite consultation. The personnel from Premier Support worked proactively to solve the problems that had occurred and were of great help.” said Mr. Mori.

Benefits

The maintenance of the application is easy with significant reduction in the need for rewiring with personnel changes and also uses older versions of OS and browser.

The use of virtual desktop based on VDI has just started but we are already seeing huge benefits. Mr. Kunio Tahahashi said, “This time we expect that consolidation of one computer per employee and linking user authentication to each business system will contribute to improving the operational efficiency of the employees. In addition, with regards to streamlining IT to lower cost, there were previously more than 360 computers with dedicated terminals for the business systems and at present, there is already a reduction of 25%. In future, a further reduction in the number of computers is expected.”

And Mr. Naoya Takahashi from the same department says VDI introduction was also effective in resolving issues related to OS and browser versions. “The system which has been used in the past operated only on Windows NT and Internet Explorer 6. Then, it was necessary to retain the old computers for these systems. However from now on, the older versions of OS and browser can be maintained with a virtual desktop.”

Besides this, business space saving and various other noteworthy merits have contributed to a significant improvement in business management and TCO according to Mr. Kuroda. In the past, whenever a new system was introduced, construction work was needed in order to ensure sufficient distribution of electric power. Also, it was time consuming to redo the wiring of the Ethernet cable while having to also attend to seating arrangements in accordance to personnel changes and the shifting of departments every year. Cost of construction alone was about 20 million yen per year. However, from now on, it will be sufficient for just a single cable to be provided for each desk thus the management cost for this can be streamlined.

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*This time, we were finally able to achieve an environment which allows multiple business systems to be used from a single computer, as a result of using virtualized desktops. The data that is extracted from each business system using this environment can be easily processed by the employee using Microsoft Excel which they are familiar with, thereby promoting the introduction of more advanced Business Intelligence analysis
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Mr. Kunio Tahahashi,
Chief, Information Management Division, Management Policy Department, Toshima Ward


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The main advantages of using virtual desktop:

Optimization of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) by reducing the number of dedicated terminals for each business system

Resolution of compatibility issues for applications that depend on the versions of OS and browser

Improvement in user friendliness and security with user authentication

Significant reduction in administrative load including the physical work involved in personnel change and shifting of departments

Streamlining of business space

Future Applications

Expectations on improvement in business efficiency within the office with the activation of information sharing using BI that is very user friendly and secure based on EUC.

In Toshima Ward, where an efficient business environment was achieved by using virtual desktop environment, Business Intelligence (BI) which can be used by every employee has also been introduced as a new theme and is in progress. Mr. Kunio Takahashi says, “The improvement in business efficiency within the office can be attributed to the promotion of open core system, building a common platform and developing the employee portal. In addition, there has been a consolidation effort of one computer per employee. Next, we want to consider if the additional service of BI could be offered based on Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Excel leveraging this environment and also from the perspective of End User Computing (EUC).”

In recent years, there is an impact from the construction of huge apartments and intense shift in demographics of the Ward and we have to not only rely on the experience and skills of the employees, but also use more objective data when the various policy measures for the residents are being examined, says Mr. Takahashi.

“Currently, Information Management Division distributed the statistics information extracted from the host system using a program once a month. However, to meet individual requests, we have to extract the data by preparing a separate program, for example a request for the statistics of the elderly in this area. In order to eliminate this effort, a mechanism known as ‘Common EUC’ was created using SQL server based on the common platform. By using this, personal information such as name and address databases are removed from each business system and anonymous CSV data is retrieved and stored in a separate SQL server which can be accessed from all the computers used by the employees. With this, it is possible for each employee to freely process data using Microsoft Excel which they are generally accustomed with and this enables more advanced analysis to be done easily.”

Mr. Takahashi is looking forward to demonstrate the achievement of better service to the residents as a result of BI activities performed by the employees themselves and resolving the issues which existed earlier. “Until now, the consolidation analysis of various surveys that were implemented in this district was being consigned to the think tank but the reality was that most of the time the results were not satisfactory. This was because the employees knew more about the residents and the area but could not make the best use of the data. However, in the future, the employees themselves can process and analyze the data and will be able to use the finalized plan for reference and utilize it to verify the hypothesis and to explain the reasons.”

It is planned to provide BI within the office using common EUC via the employee portal. Knowledge sharing and training methods to be conducted within the office is being studied, says Mr. Rui Sato.

“Currently, I am thinking of the content which can stimulate information sharing of the Ward via the employee portal. Meanwhile, we are in the middle of repeated studies to generate a synergistic effect between BI of Common EUC and the employee portal.”

Mr. Kunio Takahashi summed it up, “BI is still a challenge for the future, but the employee computer integration based on VDI has been completed. I am deeply moved that this issue which we had on our hands for the past 12 years has been resolved during my tenure and I sincerely express my gratitude to all the employees for their efforts.”

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Mr. Kunio Takahashi
Chief, Information Management Division, Management Policy Department
Toshima Ward

Mr. Masatoshi Kuroda
Assistant Manager In charge of Information
Information Management Division, Management Policy Department
Toshima Ward

Mr. Eisuke Mori
Information Management Division, Management Policy Department
Toshima Ward

Mrs. Hiromi Inoue
Information Management Division, Management Policy Department
Toshima Ward

Mr. Rui Sato
Information Management Division, Management Policy Department
Toshima Ward

Mr. Naoya Takahashi
Information Management Division, Management Policy Department
Toshima Ward

Solution Overview




Organization Profile
Toshima Ward is making steady progress towards becoming ‘a town proud of its dignity and cultural values’ by giving priority to culture, health, urban regeneration and environment policies. It maintains a balance between a residential and commercial environment by focusing on safety and security for disasters and public order, disease and health, accidents and crime, welfare, parenting and education and continues to promote a rich culture.

Business Situation
Toshima Ward is scheduled to move to a new public office building in 2015 and one of the key areas of focus is the optimization of the information technology environment in the government offices as well as accessibility of the key systems.

Solution
Virtualization of desktop was implemented to remove inefficiency in which multiple computers were deployed for one employee. Instead, an environment in which multiple business systems could be used from a single computer with premier support was achieved. 

Benefits
• Multiple business systems securely accessed from a single computer as a result of desktop virtualization
• Resolution of system compatibility issues using older versions of OS and browsers
• System Center Virtual Machine Manager effectively deploys virtual desktops
• Multiple business systems can be used simultaneously as the authentication system is based on Employee ID card
• Significant reduction in incidental costs such as rewiring
• Faster resolution of issues by utilizing Premier Support

Third Party Software
Microsoft(R) Windows Server(R) 2008 R2
Microsoft(R) Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Premium Suite
Microsoft(R) System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
Microsoft(R) System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3
Microsoft(R) System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2
Microsoft(R) Forefront(R) Threat Management Gateway 2010
Microsoft(R) SQL Server(R) 2008 R2
Microsoft(R) Office Professional Plus (R) 2010
Microsoft Premier Support
Microsoft(R) Enterprise Agreement for government organizations (GEA)

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Forefront
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Virtual Server
  • Windows Server
  • Microsoft System Center

Vertical Industries
Government

Country/Region
Japan

Business Need
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting
  • Cost Containment
  • Cloud & Server Platform

IT Issue
  • Asset Management
  • Identity, Security and Access Management
  • Virtualization
  • Interoperability

Languages
English

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