Faysal Bank is a full service banking institution that provides services to retail and corporate customers. With more than 2,500 employees and a network of 130 branches across the country, Faysal Bank is one of the fastest growing banks in Pakistan. To maintain this growth, it needs to continue developing innovative products.
Special screensavers and motivational wall papers are used to motivate sales employees. But deploying and changing these on a regular basis across the entire organization was a challenge. Anwer Umed Ali, Head of IT for Faysal Bank, says: "We didn't have a centralized Active Directory service, so had to install the screensavers on each machine manually. It took weeks to cover our entire infrastructure."
This was just one of many challenges the company faced due to its fragmented IT infrastructure. Each of the 130 branches had its own Active Directory service, and maintaining it was expensive. "We used 130 servers, 130 domains, and 130 domain controllers," says Ali. "We had to buy separate licenses for each server, and had a team of 16 administrators to manage them."
With so much hardware spread across so many sites, it was impossible for Faysal Bank to build an accurate inventory of what it used. Administrators were also concerned about security and performance. Ali says: "Only the critical servers at our head office received regular updates. Many clients and servers across the rest of the business weren't updated at all. Users were often locked out of their accounts and unable to work."
Employees regularly contacted the IT help desk to complain about performance issues. "When a problem was reported, it often took up to four days to resolve it, especially with the business spread out across the country, so the IT team had barely any time to work on improving security," says Ali.
In June 2009, Faysal Bank engaged with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Kalsoft to deploy Active Directory Domain Services, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, and System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2.
Ali says: "We looked at several solutions, but the Microsoft products offered the best functionality and out of the box integration. But that wasn't the only reason we chose them. Microsoft and Kalsoft understood that this wasn't a standalone project and demonstrated how Active Directory and the System Center solutions would lay the groundwork for future expansion, standardization and infrastructure optimization."
Faysal Bank implemented a centralized Active Directory, replacing the standalone directories at each branch, and reducing the number of servers in use from 130 to 14. "We now implement Group Policy across the organization in a fast and reliable way," says Ali. "The centralized Active Directory helps ensure every user has the screensavers and wallpapers that form part of internal motivational campaigns."
During implementation, Faysal Bank used System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to install updates across all computers in the business. New updates are deployed automatically - when approved by administrators, System Center Configuration Manager deploys them across all machines. New software is also installed with the solution.
System Center Configuration Manager is also used to create an up-to-date inventory of the hardware in use at each branch, and the software installed on it. "Using the dashboard in System Center Configuration Manager, my team creates reports that help us organize the environment at each site" says Ali.
System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 is deployed on 35 servers across the country. Servers are proactively monitored, and if a potential fault is detected, the technical team receives alerts and guidelines on how to resolve it.
Faysal Bank can now install software, including software updates and screensavers for marketing campaigns, across the business quickly. Its systems are more secure, troubleshooting has been simplified, and calls to the help desk have been reduced.
- Infrastructure management is simplified. Group Policy can be set across the entire business in minutes. "We can change Group Policy on a single server, and it's automatically replicated across our entire business," says Ali. "Deployments across the entire business are now done in one business day, instead of weeks and are more reliable and consistent."
- IT infrastructure is more secure. "Even though many clients had never received a system update, all machines were brought fully up-to-date in just seven days," says Ali. Today, all system updates are installed automatically. "It takes less than a day to fully deploy these across all 130 branches. This makes the infrastructure more secure and reliable from a financial institution perspective," says Ali.
- Troubleshooting is easier. Ali says: "System Center Operations Manager notifies the technical team before a problem occurs. The problem resolution turnaround time has been reduced to from four days to minutes." Since deploying the Microsoft solutions, business users are much happier. "Support calls to the IT help desk have dropped by 80 percent," says Ali.
- Inventory reporting is faster. Ali says: "Until we deployed the Microsoft solutions, it was impossible to get an accurate and updated inventory of hardware. Today, it takes less than a minute to produce a report that tells us exactly what hardware is deployed at each branch, and what software is installed."
- Resource costs are lower. "Thanks to the Active Directory project, we reduced the 130 domain servers to 14. Now, three administrators can manage the infrastructure of more than 130 branches. Previously, we needed 16 administrators, and these employees are now free to work on new initiatives," says Ali.
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