This article was first published in the Winter 2014 issue of OnWindows
Ircem is an insurance and pensions group based in France. The company is committed to continually improving business performance and, as part of these efforts, it has recently virtualised its data centre, helping to reduce costs and deliver more effective services for enhanced employee productivity. Having seen these efforts lead to significant benefits for the company, it then decided to turn its attention to its desktops.
The group’s default operating system was reaching the end of its lifecycle, and the company planned to upgrade it. What’s more, the European Union’s Solvency II Directive was pushing for greater data protection across the industry. This was the ideal time to transform desktops and create an end-to-end virtualised environment.
Ircem had an open mind about the vendor technology for its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). It wanted to find the right clients for its employees – a technology that would meet their reliability and performance needs. But more than that, the company hoped to find an IT solution provider that understood the requirements of the insurance business, and believed strongly in partnership. It drew up a shortlist of providers and ended up selecting Dell Wyse.
“This was a big decision for us, and we wanted to get it right,” says François Depoortere, efficiency director at Ircem. “We got a strong sense that with Dell Wyse we could establish a partnership. This wasn’t simply about selling us technology, but developing a relationship for the long term and becoming a trusted advisor in client technology.”
The internal IT team at Ircem took control of deploying the Dell Wyse solution across the organisation. Each member came away from the project saying how much easier it had been to deploy Dell Wyse compared with standard PCs – the consensus being they had greatly reduced the time of a typical desktop deployment. Over five months, around 500 D50D thin clients and 50 P25 zero clients were installed.
“Deploying Dell Wyse was three times faster than a standard PC rollout, helping us reduce our costs significantly,” says Depoortere.
Personnel at Ircem feel that IT is transforming the workplace into a more flexible environment that can meet their specific needs. “We ran a user-satisfaction study across our offices not long after deployment of the Dell Wyse clients,” says Depoortere. “Everyone agreed that the move to virtualised desktops was a good thing. Staff loved the fact they could change desks and still get instant access to their personal desktops and applications through their Dell Wyse clients, no problem. And because we’d effectively optimised people’s desktops – removing applications that weren’t required for certain roles – employees talked about a slicker desktop experience.”
Ircem can expect significant savings over the coming years through its VDI investment. The first meetings with the Dell Wyse team revealed just how much a business can save by deploying Dell Wyse compared with a standard PC infrastructure. “The great news for the business is that we should see savings of 20% over five years on our client estate,” says Depoortere. “We’ll also be saving more on electricity because the Dell Wyse thin and zero clients consume much less power. One PC uses as much energy as eight virtualized desktops, helping us lower our overheads while also aligning IT more closely with the environmental goals of the business.”
For Depoortere, one of the key advantages of the solution is peace of mind. “From a business continuity perspective, Dell Wyse works really well,” he says. “We showed that if we had to evacuate one of our buildings in an emergency, staff could simply move to another site and start work straightaway, logging in to one of our spare Dell Wyse clients. It was almost business as usual and our customers experienced no disruption to services.”
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