In Uncasville, Connecticut, the Mohegan Tribal Government has jurisdiction over the Tribe’s lands and members. The Tribal Government wanted to simplify its technology infrastructure to reduce costs and improve IT services for its 400 employees. To that end, the Mohegan Tribe upgraded its Microsoft Core Client Access License (CAL) Suite agreement to an Enterprise CAL Suite agreement, acquiring new, interoperable business productivity technologies that government employees are using to streamline processes and work more efficiently. The Enterprise CAL Suite saved the Mohegan Tribe approximately U.S.$40,000 in licensing, third-party solution, and data center costs, while improving data security and boosting IT productivity by 24 percent. And, by using Enterprise CAL Suite products, government staff are communicating and collaborating more efficiently to deliver improved services to Tribal members.Situation
The Mohegan Tribe is an Algonquian-speaking, federally recognized, sovereign Indian nation with lands in the Thames River Valley of Connecticut. The Tribe operates one of the largest resort casinos in the United States, the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The Mohegan Tribe is governed by its Constitution, which was affirmed in April 1996. A nine-member Tribal Council handles overall executive and legislative responsibilities for the Tribe, and a seven-member Council of Elders is responsible for its judicial oversight and cultural integrity. Approximately 400 employees work in the Tribal Government, providing finance, health, legal, police, fire, security, and education services for Tribal members. With an influx of revenue from the casino, the Tribal Government has been able to develop and execute a vision that focuses on empowering the Mohegan people through education and cultural awareness. IT Department Challenges
It falls to the Tribal Government’s 12-member IT department to provide the technology infrastructure and productivity tools government employees need to fulfill this vision. When Charles Scharnagle, Chief Information Officer with the Mohegan Tribe, was hired three years ago, he was given a mandate to provide IT services that would help the Tribe reduce operational costs.
||The Enterprise CAL Suite makes it a lot easier to prove how effective IT can be in making a difference to the Mohegan Tribe and its members.
Chief Information Officer, Mohegan Tribe
“To achieve that goal, I had to promote the value of investing in technology, and I knew that we could only do that by acquiring IT solutions that make a difference to the way people work, are simple to use, and cost effective,” Scharnagle says. “Our environment isn’t large—275 desktops, 20 physical and 42 virtual servers, and some 400 users—but we have to ensure always-on operations for a 911 center and police,
fire, and security departments, each with unique requirements. We have to provide e-government services for the entire membership. We have two people on the help desk who use a product called Track-It! from Numara to support 85 applications. So, to make things easier, we are always looking for technologies that are interoperable and easy to manage.”Business Needs
To that end, Scharnagle and his colleagues in IT have been cataloguing the Tribe’s business needs and thinking about the best way to acquire the technologies needed to address them. One priority was to find better ways for members of the two councils and administrative staff to communicate with each other. “Many people still rely on the phone and email to conduct business,” says David Shoup, Technology Manager with the Mohegan Tribe. “We wanted to offer more real-time communication functionality, such as instant messaging and presence awareness. We are building a new government building and looking at deploying a PBX [private-branch exchange] system so there’s an opportunity to introduce VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol] and unified communications.”
As is true for any government organization, protecting the personal information of its constituents and its overall data security are paramount for the Mohegan Tribe. To protect its hosted servers from spam and malware (malicious software), the IT department had deployed three security products: an antivirus solution from Symantec, an Internet filtering solution called Websense, and Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange. However, managing three different security products created extra work for the IT department because staff had to learn and use different tools and user interfaces.
In addition, many employees stored personal silos of information on their PCs. The IT department had begun to address this issue by consolidating data using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software. “We wanted a better framework for collaborating and sharing this information, for both administrators and Tribal members,” says Scharnagle. “We’ve had some instances with outdated data stored in departments. When that happens, members are not being made aware of new initiatives and programs they could benefit from. And, with data stored all over the place, it’s difficult for staff to respond quickly to questions from members, the press, and other government agencies.”
With no framework for digital collaboration, much of the work done at the Mohegan Tribe was manual and paper-based. IT staff wanted to automate the repetitive administrative processes that proliferated throughout the government by facilitating digital communications among staff in different departments. “To create a purchase order, people printed out and completed forms and gave them to department heads for approval,” says George Wood, Project Manager with the Mohegan Tribe. “Once approved, forms were routed to the finance department, where someone rekeyed the information into our Microsoft Dynamics GP financial management system.”
These issues were uppermost in the minds of IT staff members when it came time to renew the Tribe’s Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft. Until this point, the Tribe had acquired Microsoft technologies either through a Microsoft Core Client Access License (CAL) Suite agreement, which includes four foundational server products, or individually, as needed. “We knew we had a lot of opportunities in IT to make a difference for the Mohegan Tribe,” says Scharnagle. “The question was, how do we put together a suite of technologies that would minimize costs and maximize results?”Solution
The IT staff talked with the Microsoft account manager for the Mohegan Tribe and discovered that the answer was simpler than they had imagined: upgrade the Core CAL Suite to another Microsoft Volume Licensing option, the Enterprise CAL Suite. The Enterprise CAL Suite offers 12 of the latest core and business productivity technologies from Microsoft in one easy-to-manage license. This upgrade would provide the Mohegan Tribe IT department with all the interoperable collaboration, security, communication, and infrastructure management capabilities it needed at a lower price than acquiring the technologies individually.
Reasons to Upgrade
“Cost is a big deal today, and the Enterprise CAL Suite exemplifies the business value of interoperable Microsoft technologies,” says Scharnagle. “We were paying 25 percent more for just three products—our Forefront, Office Communications Server, and Symantec solutions—than we are paying for the entire Enterprise CAL Suite. If we had bought the additional Enterprise CAL products individually, we would have spent [U.S.]$91,000 more. When I took this economic message to the Tribal Council, they quickly nodded their heads in agreement.”
||Cost is a big deal today, and the Enterprise CAL Suite exemplifies the business value of interoperable Microsoft technologies.
Chief Information Officer, Mohegan Tribe
The IT staff was won over by the way the Enterprise CAL would simplify the IT environment and reduce the number of third-party vendors. “Sometimes, when you cut down on the number of vendors, you trade overall simplicity for less functionality,” Scharnagle continues. “But this is not the case with the Enterprise CAL Suite; it offers just the right amount of functionality without being overly complex and provides real-world business value to the Tribe.”
Under its Core CAL Suite agreement, the Tribe already licensed the Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard operating system, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Standard, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Standard Edition, and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 Client Management License. With the Enterprise CAL Suite, version upgrades are included, so the Tribe automatically upgraded to the Enterprise version of these products to gain additional features. It also acquired Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Enterprise, Microsoft System Center Client Management Suite, and Microsoft Forefront Protection Suite and Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010.Building a Better Infrastructure
In June 2009, the Mohegan Tribe entered into the Enterprise CAL Suite agreement and immediately began expanding its Microsoft infrastructure to put in place technologies that would help it be more productive. “We liked that the Enterprise CAL didn’t impose a deployment schedule,” says Shoup. “We knew there were products we would use right away and products we would use later. This gave us the flexibility to build an IT roadmap that matched our constituents’ priorities.”
For instance, the IT department first took advantage of the built-in Hyper-V hypervisor in Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise to virtualize 42 servers and simplify the management of its data center. The IT staff chose a virtualization solution to reduce server footprint, and improve reliability and flexibility in data center management. The applications and workloads they virtualized include the domain controller in Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services, Office SharePoint Server 2007, System Center Configuration Manager 2007, and System Center Operations Manager 2007.
The IT staff is using Office Communications Server 2007 R2 to offer instant messaging and presence capabilities to 80 people to date, including the Tribal Council, the executive team, and managers in different departments, some of whom have installed webcams on their desktop computers for impromptu video conferences. The Tribe plans on upgrading to the latest version of Office Communications Server, Microsoft Lync Server 2010, in mid-2011. Also, the Tribe is upgrading to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, and the IT staff plans to take advantage of that version’s unified communications capabilities to consolidate email and voice mail in one inbox. This will give employees more control over how they access and manage their communications.
IT staff also automated the supply requisition process by using Office SharePoint Server 2007. The new workflow makes use of Microsoft Office InfoPath Forms Services in Office SharePoint Server 2007 to provide employees with online forms, so people can work anywhere they have access to the Internet. Employees fill out and submit the order requisition forms by using the Office InfoPath 2007 information-gathering program. The forms are submitted online for approval by designated managers, and then approved requests are automatically routed to the finance system.
To boost data security and protect Tribal members’ personal information from malware and unauthorized access, the IT department has taken a multilayered approach to protecting the client computers and servers it manages. “In addition to our existing Forefront Online Protection for Exchange solution, we’ll be using Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server when we are fully deployed on our on-premises Exchange 2010 solution,” says Shoup. “We’ve deployed Forefront Client Security to protect our desktops with a simple, centralized management interface, and we are using the Forefront Threat Management Gateway Web Protection Service to replace Websense and improve security enforcement through better URL filtering.”
IT staff members are managing the overall infrastructure with the help of Microsoft System Center data center management products. With System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, they can monitor the health of physical and virtual servers, and they plan to extend that functionality so they can also monitor the health of client computer systems and reduce downtime for employees when updates are installed. “We are using System Center Configuration Manager for our image deployments, the most recent being the Windows 7 operating system,” says Shoup. “And we are looking at System Center Service Manager 2010 to replace Track-It! for our help-desk incident management solution, to improve the service we provide to employees.”Benefits
Since entering into the Enterprise CAL Suite agreement, the Mohegan Tribe has begun an ambitious program of expanding IT services, deploying many Microsoft core technologies and products for the price it would have had to pay for just two. “We justified the cost of the Enterprise CAL by replacing our antivirus solution and deploying the Forefront Suite and Office Communications Server 2007. At the same time, we gained many other products that we couldn’t otherwise budget for,” says Shoup. “For the IT department, this is very enabling. It gives us a platform we can use to expand our services without having to go back to the Tribal Council for more resources.”
In fact, as a result of the CAL Suite upgrade, the Mohegan Tribe has reduced costs, increased productivity among its employees, streamlined IT infrastructure management, and improved its service to the Tribe. Reduced IT Costs
Because the Enterprise CAL Suite encompasses a wide range of core Microsoft products that work together, the IT department can retire redundant third-party solutions, saving money on both licenses and hardware. “We are already saving approximately $18,000 annually on licenses for our antivirus and Internet filtering solutions, and we expect to avoid $9,000 in renewal costs associated with our help-desk software solution,” says Shoup. “When we deploy our Microsoft VoIP and unified communications solutions, we’ll be avoiding approximately $20,000 in costs for a voice-mail system from our PBX vendor. Further down the road, we are looking at replacing our VPN [virtual private network] solution, which costs $1,700 a year, with Forefront Unified Access Gateway to improve security for remote access scenarios to our resources.”
||I had to promote the value of investing in technology, and I knew that we could only do that by acquiring IT solutions that make a difference to the way people work, are simple to use, and cost effective.
Chief Information Officer, Mohegan Tribe
Also, with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V, the IT department reduced the number of servers in its data center by 20, saving $24,000 in hardware costs and approximately $10,000 in electrical costs.
“The other side of cost savings comes when we look at the impact of our work with the staff members,” adds Scharnagle. “Using SharePoint technologies to automate workflows and drive efficiency helps the Tribe control the size of its government and put a cap on labor costs. And with better tools to manage our infrastructure, we have been able to keep our IT headcount steady, despite an influx of new technologies and applications.”Increased Employee Productivity
Mohegan Tribe government employees are expediting communications through real-time instant messaging and presence awareness provided by the Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 desktop client. Says Scharnagle: “Instead of writing an email, if staff members have a quick question—‘Hey, did you get this budget?’ or ‘Have you heard back from this vendor?’ —with instant messaging, it’s quick and easy to get the answer.” Shoup is using instant messaging to quickly resolve server and desktop issues, inviting the technicians with the most applicable experience to join impromptu group chat sessions to brainstorm resolutions to IT problems.
IT staff expect more productivity improvements when they roll out unified communications and VoIP capabilities in Office Communications Server 2007 R2 that integrate voice communications with email, calendaring, instant messaging, and conferencing. These features will make it possible for employees to initiate communication from the Microsoft Outlook client and quickly escalate instant messaging sessions to phone calls or video conferences.
“Ease of use is important for our Tribal Council, so managing communications—voice mails, emails, IM [instant messages], and chat—all in one place is very productive for them,” Scharnagle continues. “Everyone loves their phone, and everyone loves Outlook, and tying the two together will give everyone more functionality and save time. Being able to easily transfer a cell phone call to one’s desk phone, and vice versa, is a simple thing, but it means a lot to executives. And for the IT department, these are quick, easy wins that deliver real value.”
With the automated procurement workflow, a process that used to take several days is now accomplished in minutes. There’s no more rekeying information into different systems and no more waiting for the right person to sign multiple pieces of paper. “Today, the purchasing manager can log on to a SharePoint site, see all the purchase orders that are waiting for action, and quickly click on the forms and associated documentation,” says Wood. “We can build up a digital repository of purchasing information that’s much easier to search through than our old filing cabinets.”Streamlined IT Infrastructure Management
For the IT staff, having a suite of interoperable products from a single vendor equates to a simpler IT environment and higher productivity. “The synergy among the different Microsoft products, which are built from the ground up to work together, reduced our overall workload. We have increased our productivity by 24 percent,” says Shoup. “With the applications all tying in together, one staff member can do more than if he has to switch between different tools and interfaces. I have a technician who’s trained on System Center Operations Manager, but he can just as easily work with System Center Configuration Manager with no extra training.”
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 significantly advanced IT management for IT staff members, who use it for imaging, application deployment, and security updates. “We used System Center Configuration Manager to deploy Windows 7, and we had employees’ machines up and running with their complete user profiles in under an hour, whereas before, it would have taken three to four hours,” says Shoup. “With System Center Configuration Manager, we can provide faster, more accurate desktop deployments that minimize user downtime.”
Similarly, when the IT staff recently used System Center Configuration Manager to push out upgrades to Adobe Acrobat Reader—a process that previously would have required 30 days for one IT staffer to visit 270 desktops—after the image was created, it took one click and all the machines were up-to-date.Improved Tribal Government Services
The Mohegan Tribe IT department’s mandate is to support Council Members and administration staff in their efforts to improve government services for Tribal members. IT staffers are doing just that by taking advantage of technologies within the Enterprise CAL Suite, such as Office SharePoint Server 2007, to improve e-government services. Wood gives an example. “We are working on developing a picture library in SharePoint to catalogue the many photographs of Tribal members and events taken over the years,” he says. “By building a picture library in SharePoint, the Tribe can better document its cultural history and make a valuable cultural resource available to members.”
Also, by using Microsoft collaboration and communication technologies, the IT department can build an information management solution that will help staff more easily access the information they need. “By consolidating information in our Tribal database and then making that information available on departmental SharePoint sites, we can ensure consistent, accurate information dissemination across the government. Now Tribal members can always rely on receiving up-to-date data,” says Wood. “This is a big thing for the Tribal members—to be able to confirm eligibility for certain programs, for instance, and to be able to do that in a matter of seconds, rather than having to call different departments and wait to hear back.”
Given the IT service advancements in the last year, it’s not surprising that Scharnagle credits the Enterprise CAL Suite with helping his department become a more active player for the Mohegan Tribe. “Part of my job is to get in front of the Tribal Council and demonstrate how technology can improve the operations of the government,” he concludes. “The Enterprise CAL Suite makes it a lot easier to prove how effective IT can be in making a difference to the Mohegan Tribe and its members.”
Microsoft Infrastructure Optimization
With infrastructure optimization, you can build a secure, well-managed, and dynamic core IT infrastructure that can reduce overall IT costs, make better use of resources, and become a strategic asset for the business. The Infrastructure Optimization model—with basic, standardized, rationalized, and dynamic levels—was developed by Microsoft using industry best practices and Microsoft’s own experiences with enterprise customers. The Infrastructure Optimization model provides a maturity framework that is flexible and easily used as a benchmark for technical capability and business value.
For more information about Microsoft infrastructure optimization, go to:
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