IT professionals at Avis Poland faced more challenges managing computers used by mobile sales representatives than they did managing computers for employees who work onsite. When IT partner ISCG suggested Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC management solution from Microsoft, Avis decided to use the solution to help ensure that its PCs are well-protected and up-to-date and that everyone, both in the office and on the road, can work more productively.
Avis Rent a Car System, of Avis Budget Group, operates one of the world’s leading car rental brands and has marketing agreements with Avis Europe, which owns and franchises global Avis locations, including Avis Poland. The first independent “rent a car” company in the country, Avis Poland began with 16 cars and six employees. Today, the company runs a fleet of more than 1,500 cars with 25 “stations” in cities and airports across the country.
Avis Poland has two IT professionals who are responsible for managing approximately 122 computers used by employees in headquarters in Warsaw, in local stations, and on the road. At headquarters, employees’ computers are connected to the corporate network, while staff members in remote stations use a virtual private network to access the corporate domain. For the IT professionals, these computer groups were relatively easy to manage; however, the laptops belonging to mobile employees presented a challenge because they were not joined to the domain.
“Our business depends more on corporate customers than ‘walk-ins’ from the street,” says Artur Brozek, IT Manager at Avis Poland. “We have 40 mobile sales people who rely on their laptops to support their efforts winning new business. However, it’s difficult for us to ensure their systems are up-to-date and well-protected. If they ran into major problems they had to bring their computers into headquarters, which was a big disruption that could potentially affect a sale.”
Managing the sales staff’s computers took from two to three hours a day for the two-member IT team. “We also spent time tracking software and license agreements for all the employees’ computers,” says Adrian Radzikowski, IT Administrator at Avis Poland. “We had to make sure that office employees were not downloading cookies or browser plug-ins that potentially could let in some malicious software.”
Then IT partner ISCG approached Avis Poland with cloud-based PC management solution, Windows Intune, to help the IT staff provide better computer management services. Windows Intune delivers PC management, license and software tracking, remote assistance, and endpoint protection.
||With Windows Intune, we can help our sales force work more productively by ensuring their PCs are healthy and well-protected.
IT Manager, Avis Poland
Windows Intune consists of a web-based administration console that Brozek and Radzikowski can use to view data about their managed computers and deliver PC management and security updates through a standard Internet connection and a Microsoft Silverlight–enabled browser. When installed on the managed computers, Windows Intune Center returns information about the PCs to the administration console whenever they are connected to the Internet.
“A cloud-based service to solve our mobile PC management problems wouldn’t require any investments in on-premises infrastructure, deployment would be simple, and maintenance non-existent,” says Brozek. “We decided to test Windows Intune on computers used in the office and on the road.”
When Avis Poland deployed Windows Intune on eight computers in March 2011, it only took a couple of hours for the ISCG account manager to help Brozek and Radzikowski install the service on the first computer.
“It was so easy, all we had to do was sign in to the Windows Intune service, then download and run the client software installation package,” says Radzikowski. “After installing the client software on all computers, we could immediately use the administration console to see the overall health of the managed computers, track software inventories, and remotely manage updates. This was the same for the sales representatives’ laptops and the computers in the office. For the service to work with our sales reps, all they need to do is connect to the Internet.”
For Avis Poland, Windows Intune is an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution that delivers essential PC management and protection for all computers, including those not connected to the corporate network. Now, both mobile sales reps and local office workers can rely on computers that run at peak performance.
Global PC management.
Avis IT professionals use Windows Intune to centrally manage the deployment of Microsoft updates and service packs and take immediate action on any security alerts to ensure that everyone’s computer is up-to-date and well-protected. The intuitive user interface of the administration console offers a Computers Overview page with status summaries for Alerts and Endpoint Protection and many more management areas.
“With all the information gathered in a clear overview, I have an instant grasp of the health of all computers that I never had before,” says Radzikowski.
Increased IT productivity.
Improved global PC management helps Radzikowski and Brozek better support the business. “With Windows Intune, we can help our sales force work more productively by ensuring their PCs are healthy and well-protected,” says Brozek. “This reduces downtime that impacts their ability to win new Avis customers.”
If Avis Poland deployed Windows Intune globally, Radzikowski could save up to three hours a day in remote PC management. “We could also use Windows Intune to set update polices for different computer groups, which would save us a lot of time,” he says. Reclaiming that time would make a significant difference to the staff’s ability to conduct more strategic IT projects for Avis Poland.
Improved control over the desktop.
Avis IT professionals can easily manage software inventories on all computers to ensure that no one has downloaded any suspicious software. “Now we can easily see what software, and what version, is running on all computers. This helps us standardize our desktop, and more importantly, take immediate steps to remove any unwanted programs before they cause problems,” concludes Radzikowski.
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