4-page Case Study
Posted: 1/10/2014
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Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Medical Center Upgrades Software to Manage Growing Desktop Count Without Staff Additions

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a fast-growing health system that has seen its desktop count grow by 25 percent and its number of facilities double in the last three years. It upgraded to Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, and later to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, to gain new automated efficiencies in managing workstations and delivering a great user experience. By adopting a people-centric (versus device-centric) desktop management philosophy and using Configuration Manager, Wake Forest Baptist has been able to increase IT efficiency such that the existing IT staff has been able to absorb the increase in number of facilities, workstations, and applications without hiring more people. It has also been able to continuously improve workstation availability so that healthcare professionals can deliver the best possible patient experience.

Situation
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a fully integrated academic medical center located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The institution is composed of the medical education and research components of Wake Forest School of Medicine; the integrated clinical structure and consumer brand Wake Forest Baptist Health; the commercialization of research discoveries through Wake Forest Innovations; and a network of community-based hospitals, physician practices, outpatient services, and other medical facilities. Wake Forest Baptist employs 13,000 people across 70 locations.

Wake Forest Baptist is growing, expanding its services to new communities by establishing new facilities and hiring new staff members. In the last three years, the number of facilities has doubled to 70, and the number of faculty, physician, clinician, and student workstations has grown from 12,000 to 15,000.

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* In the last three years, our number of facilities has doubled and our desktop count has grown 25 percent. But thanks to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, our desktop management staff has not increased. *

Mary Whited
Manager of Server Operations, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

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Wake Forest Baptist has long used Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager to manage its large workstation infrastructure. The medical center uses Configuration Manager to maintain computer inventory records, deploy operating system and application software, deliver software updates, define user access rights, defend against malware, and more.

“We’re always under pressure to run operations more efficiently, and System Center Configuration Manager helps us do that,” says Mary Whited, Manager of Server Operations at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “With every upgrade, we’ve gotten greater use of the product. With such a large campus—three hospitals and 67 clinics—it’s impossible to maintain individual device records without a centralized, automated solution like Configuration Manager.”

As Wake Forest Baptist has become more dependent on computers in delivering healthcare and serving patients, workstation availability has become increasingly important. “Although our clinics are open 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., our hospitals are 24-hour businesses,” Whited says. “There is no good time for downtime due to software updates and other maintenance tasks. We can’t let workstation issues stand in the way of delivering a great patient experience.”

Additionally, patient data security is of the utmost importance. Wake Forest Baptist uses Configuration Manager to monitor computers for viruses and other malware, but sought ever-stronger defenses against desktop dangers and automated procedures for removing them.

Solution
When Microsoft announced Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and, a year later, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was early to try out both products by participating in Microsoft Technology Adoption Programs.

Application Deployment and Software Update Efficiencies
Both products contain a number of enhancements in application deployment and software update deployment that align with the desktop management philosophy at Wake Forest Baptist. “With System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, the whole approach changed from device-centric to user-centric computing,” says Brad Marshall, Manager of Desktop Infrastructure at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Instead of deploying applications on devices, we assign applications to users, and those applications follow users to different devices.”

Wake Forest Baptist is moving toward a catalog-based application delivery model whereby users browse and select applications from an online catalog and then request the ideal time to have them installed. Configuration Manager uses Active Directory Domain Services in the Windows Server 2012 operating system to obtain user credentials and show users only the applications that they are authorized to install. “We’re not there yet, but we’re moving in this direction, and Configuration Manager makes it all possible,” Marshall says.

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* We’re always under pressure to run operations more efficiently, and System Center Configuration Manager helps us do that. *

Mary Whited
Manager of Server Operations, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

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IT staff members no longer need to spend time researching the software on the employee’s PC before installing an application; they can see it in Configuration Manager, which also automates the complete deployment process. The desktop management team can monitor deployment progress in real time and centrally resolve issues that might halt a deployment. The team has one point for client-device reporting and has eliminated the need to manually create reports using data from multiple programs.

The latest releases of Configuration Manager also make the software update process much easier. The desktop management team can define rules about which weekly updates to download, when and to which computers. “We can specify that a group of 8,000 computers in clinics get updated at a certain time and another 4,000 computers in hospitals get updated at a different time,” Whited says. “More granular client-side settings have made a huge difference in how well we can serve employees without disrupting their work.”

Role Based Administration and Health Checks
Wake Forest Baptist also uses Configuration Manager to better secure its workstations. Some departments, notably many research teams, have strong technical administrators that manage their workstations. By using the role-based administration capability in Configuration Manager, the desktop team can give administrators control over the workstations in their departments, to update and monitor them.

The medical center uses new client-device heath checks in Configuration Manager to improve the health of workstations by detecting and barring malware and enabling “self-healing,” which means that Configuration Manager runs diagnostics and automatically applies fixes. Even when workstations need staff attention, staff members can see at a glance which computers need to be fixed and what the problem is.

User and Device Reporting
Another Configuration Manager feature of great use to Wake Forest Baptist is user device affinity, which provides the ability to define a relationship between a user and a device. This helps the desktop team track who uses which workstations. “In the past, our records showed that one individual was the primary user of a workstation whereas other people were actually using it more,” says Vicki Williams, Senior Configuration Manager Administrator at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “With user device affinity, we can specify that if an individual uses a workstation a certain number of hours a week, they are a primary user. We use this information to notify the correct users about updates and other events that affect that device.”

All workstation-related reporting is easier and more accurate in the latest releases of Configuration Manager. The desktop team can empower administrators to produce reports only on the workstations in their department. “Filtering administrative access based on role helps with inventory and regulatory reporting and financial planning,” Whited says.

Automated Operating System Upgrade
Wake Forest Baptist is using the Configuration Manager operating system deployment functionality to upgrade its 15,000 workstations (Dell OptiPlex desktops and Dell Latitude laptops) from the Windows XP operating system to the Windows 7 operating system.

Microsoft Services Consulting worked with Wake Forest Baptist to design a completely automated migration process that lets employees choose their upgrade time and eliminates the need for IT staff to touch individual computers. “We’d never used the operating system deployment functionality before so we reached out to the experts,” says Marshall. “We could not have undertaken such a large upgrade without the help of Microsoft Services Consulting.” Wake Forest Baptist plans to complete the upgrade to Windows 7 by April 2014.

Benefits
By staying up to date with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is able to efficiently and cost-effectively manage a large and growing number of workstations, deliver a productive experience to employees and students, and keep the desktop environment more secure.

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* More granular client-side settings have made a huge difference in how well we can serve employees without disrupting their work. *

Mary Whited
Manager of Server Operations, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

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Contain Staff Costs in Face of Workstation Count Doubling
By using Configuration Manager, Wake Forest Baptist has been able to manage a rapidly growing workstation count without hiring more people. “In the last three years, our number of facilities has doubled and our desktop count has grown 25 percent,” Whited says. “But thanks to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, our desktop management staff has not increased.” The number of applications that the company uses has also doubled during this time, but the staff is able to deliver applications faster than ever thanks to automated deployment efficiencies.

Increased staff efficiency comes from lower support demands due to features such as self-healing clients, automated deployment of applications and operating systems, and the ability to remotely control workstations. “As our number of facilities has expanded, it’s become more important that we be able to access workstations remotely and enable local departmental administrators to care for their workstations,” Whited says. “By using Configuration Manager, we’re able to give local administrators more power while centrally setting security policies.”

With the time freed up by use of Configuration Manager, the Wake Forest Baptist desktop management staff has more time to set up new facilities, help employees, and prevent problems. “Today, we can have a new facility with about 50 workstations up and running in less than eight weeks versus months before,” Whited says. “In healthcare, expansion is business-driven and patient-driven. IT is there to support the business, and when the business asks us for something, we need to respond quickly and not be a business blocker.”

Reduce Desktop Capital and Operating Costs
Wake Forest was able to reduce the number of software distribution points (servers) by 30 percent when it upgraded from System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. “What’s notable is that during that time, we also expanded our number of desktops and doubled the number of facilities and applications that we support,” Whited says.

By using the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager operating system deployment functionality to manage its upgrade to Windows 7, Wake Forest Baptist avoided the cost of hiring technicians to perform the upgrade manually—saving approximately US$1.1 million.

Deliver Better User Experience
While IT efficiency and cost containment is important, the ultimate goal of the desktop management team at Wake Forest Baptist is to deliver a trouble-free, productive computing experience for physicians, faculty, staff, and students. “The whole application deployment process is much smarter now and more sensitive to user needs,” Marshall says. “With Configuration Manager, we can see the software that users have on their machines and which updates have been applied, and we can let users determine update times most convenient for them. All these features add up to the ability to keep desktops running smoothly so our employees can focus on delivering great healthcare and a great patient experience.”

Overall uptime is also higher with Configuration Manager 2012 monitoring and defending desktops. “Hospitals are 24-hour operations, and there is no good time for downtime,” Whited says. “Our workstation uptime has increased significantly as Configuration Manager has advanced. We can apply security updates promptly and react faster to threats. It’s imperative that we provide devices that work anytime a clinician needs them. Everything that occurs to a patient in our facilities has to be recorded electronically in real time. By using Configuration Manager, we can deliver a more responsive, interruption-free patient experience.”

Empower people-centric IT
Empower employees to work virtually anywhere on the PCs and devices they prefer, while providing IT with a single tool for easy, consistent, and more secure management. Solutions such as Microsoft System Center and Windows Intune simplify user and device management, reduce costs, and improve productivity while taking advantage of existing IT infrastructure.

For more information about empowering people-centric IT, go to:
www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/pcit.aspx

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, visit the website at:
www.wakehealth.edu

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 13000 employees

Organization Profile

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a healthcare provider, medical school, and research center located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It runs three hospitals and 67 clinics and employs 13,000 people.


Business Situation

Wake Forest Baptist needed to continue honing its desktop management efficiency to contain IT costs in the face of continued business growth.


Solution

Wake Forest Baptist adopted a user-centric computing strategy with its upgrade to Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and is in the process of upgrading to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.


Benefits

  • Contain staff costs in face of workstation count doubling
  • Reduce desktop costs
  • Deliver better user experience


Hardware
  • Dell OptiPlex desktops
  • Dell Latitude laptops

Software and Services
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Datacenter
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Client Solutions - Flexible Workstyle

Vertical Industries
Health Provider

Country/Region
United States

Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Service Delivery

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Microsoft Services

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