Effortless collaboration and agility are important for all businesses in today’s demanding environment. They are essential for consulting firms.
ÅF was founded in 1895 as The Southern Swedish Steam Generator Association and has been at the forefront of engineering, energy, and industrial design ever since. The firm has recently revealed how it uses gaming engine and virtual reality software to create 3-D, walk-through visualizations for clients on building and infrastructure projects.
ÅF’s engineers use resource-heavy applications like CAD, but it is not simply computing horsepower that drives the firm’s success. It also relies on the intellectual horsepower of its 9,000 employees, drawing experts from around the world to work on client projects.
Additionally, ÅF uses sub-contractors for larger projects and is growing rapidly through acquisitions.
Such a demanding, fast-changing environment led ÅF to seek a solution that promotes collaboration and speeds up the onboarding process for contractors and acquisitions.
“Data was a pain for us because we had a traditional, one-server-per-site infrastructure,” Innovations Team Leader Mattias Jadesköld explains. “People today are working across sites. They don’t care where the data is stored; they just need access to it.”
For greater versatility, Jadesköld turned to Citrix Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
An IT environment as dynamic as the business
Combining Citrix Cloud with Microsoft Azure solution gives ÅF the agility it needs to respond to business needs, whether that’s a large project requiring additional servers and international headcount, or the acquisition of a specialist consulting firm.
The XenApp and XenDesktop service in Citrix Cloud provisions virtualized desktops and applications onto Azure for to ÅF’s engineers wherever they are. XenApp delivers those resource-heavy CAD applications, ensuring that adequate computing resources are provided in the cloud rather than on the end device. Most offices also use a XenApp hosted shared desktop. However, ÅF’s Danish operation prefers XenDesktop for its 200 staff. Citrix Cloud enables local operations to choose the tools for their specific needs while Jadesköld maintains central control.
“Citrix Cloud is very easy to use,” Jadesköld explains. “It really gives me goose-bumps that I can just right-click on a machine catalog, add machines, and it provisions them in Azure. That’s quite cool! Imagine adding 10 new servers in a physical environment.”
ÅF can also reduce costs by switching off computing resources when they’re no longer needed. “Graphics servers are very expensive to run 24/7, but we are using Citrix power management to turn them off when not required,” Jadesköld says.
Adding new staff is quick and simple. “Instead of two days to configure a new PC, I can give a new starter access immediately,” he says.
And acquisitions are integrated more quickly, too. “When visiting the acquired company we were focusing on things that didn’t bring value to ÅF, like how old a computer is or what other type of hardware they were using,” Jadesköld says. “It would take a couple of months to get them onboard. Now, I can provide Citrix access from day one.”
“Connecting with great ideas”
ÅF now holds all its data in the cloud rather than in office siloes. Corporate data is more secure while virtual-teaming and collaboration have become faster and easier.
“I give them Citrix permissions, and they can access everything they need,” Jadesköld says. “Our motto is ‘Connecting with Great Ideas.’ Now, I’m making that real.”
Freedom without compromise
“If we acquire a company that uses Apple Macs, we don’t have to tell them to buy PCs. People simply connect via Citrix on their preferred device,” explains Jadesköld.
Citrix Cloud enables ÅF to manage its core desktop platform centrally, while giving separate business units (in other countries or with specialist needs) the freedom to manage their own, unique data and desktop images on any cloud – in this case, Azure.
“If a team member joins a huge project, they will need certain applications to be installed and configured, which takes a lot of time, but with Citrix, we can create desktop images for different departments: for example, an Infrastructure CAD machine for engineers working on infrastructure projects. We then let the person responsible for CAD manage the image update. That way, we can be up and running on the project within an hour or so.”
Citrix Cloud gives ÅF the flexibility it needs to support its continuing success. As Jadesköld says, “I want to be a technology enabler, and with the Citrix environment I can be that.”