Textbook distributer ARBS wanted to automate management of 80 computers at its branch offices. It chose Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC management, endpoint protection, remote assistance service, and Windows licensing solution from Microsoft.
ARBS is saving €159.360 (US$200,000) per year on support costs and software licenses. Employees are working on more secure, up-to-date PCs, resulting in improved productivity and better customer service.
ARBS distributes approximately 1,170,000 text books to 580 elementary and high schools in France and Belgium. Staff in six branch offices relies on more than 80 PCs running the Windows XP operating system. From May to September, the staff is joined by
approximately 300 temporary workers who collect, process, and redistribute the text books for the next school year. This workforce uses approximately 250 tablet PCs loaded with a proprietary application.
“We have to be efficient and well organized during the summer to prepare the books for the next year,” says Monique Houard, General Manager at ARBS. “We rely on our computers to get the job done and we can’t afford to have any downtime. We don’t have an
IT department, so our IT partner, Turkoise, manages our PCs for us.”
Turkoise staffers performed both on-site and remote support for ARBS. Without servers at ARBS branch offices, Turkoise handled security updates and software upgrades using standard mechanisms such as Windows Update or by using an on-premises console to manage
the company’s antimalware solution. Remote support always required a virtual private network (VPN) solution. The different support tools didn’t interoperate well and were costly and complicated to maintain.
“We were also always in reactive mode,” says Alexis Aubry, Chief Executive Officer at Turkoise. “We had no way to prevent issues such as failing hard drives, or to detect which computers might be at risk.”
"To minimize support costs, we wanted to reduce on-site visits to our branch offices in Amiens, Rouen, Caen, Poitiers, Lyon, and Bordeaux, which are hours away from headquarters by car,” says Houard. “We needed a more efficient way to manage the desktop
and keep everyone working productively.”
At the recommendation of Turkoise, ARBS turned to Windows Intune, the cloud-based PC management service from Microsoft. Windows Intune offers PC management, remote assistance, software updates and distribution, hardware and software tracking services,
and comes with the rights to upgrade to future versions of the Windows operating system.
||Windows Intune gives me peace of mind. Our computers have never been better managed and more reliable. That’s good for employee productivity, customer service, and our business overall.
| Monique Houard
General Manager, ARBS
Turkoise staff can use a simple, web-based Administration console in Windows Intune to run PC management tasks for ARBS remotely. All that is required is a standard Internet connection, a browser running Microsoft Silverlight, and the Windows Intune client
software installed on the PCs in the remote offices. The Windows Intune client returns information on the PC, including software and hardware inventory, and endpoint protection and update status to the Administration console.
“We were excited about the management capabilities of Windows Intune that we get from a simple, per-user, monthly subscription. This is a more cost-effective way to standardize on Windows 7 or 8 than buying the licenses separately,” says Houard. “And we
look forward to upgrading the tablet PCs to Windows 8 to take advantage of touch-enabled computing.”
ARBS subscribed to 83 Windows Intune licenses for its desktop PCs. In May 2011, Turkoise deployed the Windows Intune client very quickly using the fully automated logon package. “Windows Intune is a perfect solution for ARBS,” says Aubry. “We can use the
Administration console to manage their remote, distributed PCs from one location and receive proactive alerts via e-mail—it gives us a complete and integrated tool to work on their behalf.”
Since ARBS deployed Windows Intune, employees are working more productively within a highly secure computing environment and the company is saving money on support costs and software licenses.
Through the Windows Intune Administration console, Turkoise support staff gains real-time insight into all ARBS computers and saves time on all PC management tasks. This translates into reduced support costs for ARBS. Also, ARBS was able to retire
its antivirus solution and the on-premises console that managed it. “We estimate that we are saving €160 [US$200] per month per computer, on support and licenses costs,” says Houard. “That adds up to €159,360 [$200,000] per year. And the flexible, monthly
payments free up a lot of cash.”
Turkoise staff has visibility into the software and hardware specifications for each ARBS computer, so remote support is more efficient. Now there is almost no reason to drive to offices, use the VPN to access a computer, or ask diagnostic and assessment
questions; Turkoise support staff has all the information it needs in the console to quickly troubleshoot issues. “By the end of August, we have to record payments and distribute all the books. If one PC is down, it’s a big problem,” says Houard. “Now I don’t
have to worry; Turkoise can use Windows Intune to respond quickly to any issues, and we can maintain our delivery schedules.”
“If I get a call from ARBS in the evening, I just go to my laptop and log on to the console to have everything I need to support the user,” says Aubry.
With Windows Intune, Turkoise sets security updates and policies to run automatically, helping to ensure that everyone is working in a safe computing environment and to reduce employee downtime. Turkoise staff grouped ARBS computers into logical units
and defined management policies to maximize their performance so everyone can work productively, even if they have older computers.
“We have 23 older computers that are heavily used in the summer for encoding payments. Turkoise uses Windows Intune to run antivirus tasks and system updates in light mode for these PCs so it optimizes their performance and staff can work quickly and productively,”
says Houard. “Windows Intune gives me peace of mind. Our computers have never been better managed and more reliable. That’s good for employee productivity, customer service, and our business overall.”
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