2-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 4/27/2012
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2tor Educational Software Firm Gives Cloud-Based Tools High Marks for Remote Management

2tor IT professionals wanted better tools to support employees who were working with universities to develop online courses. The startup subscribed to Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC management, endpoint protection, and remote assistance service from Microsoft. Now that 2tor IT professionals use Windows Intune, they can help ensure employees have reliable PCs to foster customer relationships, while reducing workloads by 33 percent. 

Business Needs
Established in 2008, 2tor’s founding vision was to help universities extend their curriculua from the classroom to the Internet. The company has partnered with leading institutions of higher education to provide the technology, instructional design, infrastructure, and resources required to deliver degree programs online. 2tor employees work onsite with customers, providing them with the necessary tools, expertise, capital, and global recruiting acumen to excel in the global online learning market.

Like many startup companies, 2tor began operations with an informal approach to acquiring and managing its technology. “For our first customer program in 2009, we purchased used PCs, which had varied hardware and software configurations,’’ says Arthur Jordan, IT Director at 2tor. “Several employees worked using their own personal computers. I didn’t have a robust tool I could use for endpoint protection for everyone, and we relied on people to manage software updates themselves. We distributed our software manually and kept track of our hardware and software using a simple spreadsheet. I wanted better tools to help keep everyone’s PCs up to date and to gain a little more control over our desktop.”

* Windows Intune helps us achieve the flexible, productive work style our users expect. Now we can support employees as they build partnerships with universities around the globe. *
Arthur Jordan
IT Director, 2tor
As 2tor forged partnerships with universities across the United States, these issues became more pressing. The company added staff and engaged a growing number of temporary consultants and interns to work in the corporate offices in New York City, Hong Kong, and Landover, Maryland, or with universities in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

“To enable our growth, we need an adaptable, mobile workforce that can rely on their PCs to get their work done anytime, anywhere,” says Jordan. “So we added three IT staffers. All we needed was to find the right tools for them to use to provide the support our employees required.”

2tor found the solution it was looking for in February 2011, when it decided to join the Windows Intune beta program following an invitation from CDW, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network. CDW and 2tor had been discussing a managed antivirus solution when Microsoft introduced its latest cloud-based PC management service. Windows Intune delivers endpoint protection, remote assistance, software distribution and updates, and hardware and software tracking capabilities through a web-based administration console—all with no upfront capital expenditures.

“At 2tor, we design web-based software, and we are all about minimizing on-premises solutions to help us optimize our IT investments, so we were excited to see Microsoft getting into cloud-based management tools,” says Jordan. “After all, Microsoft knows Windows better than anyone else.”

To deliver Windows Intune desktop management services, 2tor IT professionals deployed the Windows Intune Agent to 400 PCs. This client software returns information about the PCs to the Administration console when connected to the Internet. 2tor also upgraded the operating system on all PCs and laptops to Windows 7 Enterprise.

“We went through our existing hardware and systematically upgraded everyone,” says Jordan. “Now, all our employees working in remote offices have Windows Intune Agent on their computers. Standardizing our desktop infrastructure is a big bonus. It simplifies PC management and means everyone can work to the same level of productivity using the latest desktop operating system. People find Windows 7 really intuitive. And with Windows Intune, we have the right to upgrade to the next version of Windows when it is released.”

By using Windows Intune, 2tor IT professionals gain a single suite of services that they can use to keep employees computers up to date and help employees be highly productive.

“Windows Intune helps us achieve the flexible, productive work style our users expect. Now we can support employees as they build partnerships with universities around the globe,” says Jordan.

Enhanced Network Security
According to Jordan, the number one benefit of Windows Intune is the peace of mind he gets from having insight into the network’s PCs, and being able to take action against malicious software before it impacts the productivity of 2tor employees. “We have been able to tell people that they have a problem before they are even aware of it,” he says. “We are minimizing calls to the help desk, and we are keeping track of who is on our network―a boon, because we often have consultants working in our offices on different projects.”

Increased Financial Flexibility
As a cloud-based service, Windows Intune requires no upfront capital expenditure; instead, it is acquired through a flexible monthly subscription fee—an attractive option for a startup such as 2tor.

“Windows Intune works for us because from day one, it’s been an expandable system,” says Jordan. “We appreciate that as we grow, we will always be able to scope our PC management and security costs to meet our needs.”

Improved IT Productivity
With Windows Intune as the central point of PC management, IT professionals are empowered to support the company more effectively. Today 2Tor is reducing the time and money it takes to ensure employees can work productively, so that it can invest in other areas of the business.

“We have visibility into any computer in our network, anywhere in the world,” says Jordan. “We get information faster and resolve issues more quickly. We distribute software automatically instead of manually. We’ve reduced our workload by approximately 33 percent. I can keep my IT team lean, yet we can support 100 people per person. That wouldn’t be possible without Windows Intune.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 300 employees

Organization Profile
Based in Landover, Maryland, 2tor works with top-tier universities to transform its graduate courses into compelling online degree programs that it can offer to students all over the world. 

Software and Services
  • Windows Intune
  • Windows 7 Enterprise

Vertical Industries
IT Services

United States