BY USE CASE
Secure Distributed Work
Danish municipality selects Citrix Workspace and Citrix Analytics for Performance to efficiently and proactively support its distributed workers.
“One of the key issues in my job,” says IT and Digitalization Manager Kent Mogensen, “is to deliver when the need is there, not sometime afterwards.”
With 30,000 residents, and 4,000 employees, Albertslund Kommune runs a tight IT operation. Only four people support the Citrix and Microsoft Azure infrastructure which hosts the municipality’s entire operational IT of around 150 applications, over two million documents and a data lake project that is building the source for a future Smart Cities project.
“Citrix Workspace is an entire platform for our employees. All our applications are on there and everybody uses it, daily. It's a crucial environment for us to maintain and optimize,” explains Mogensen.
The municipality migrated from its previous, on-premises installation to the Citrix / Azure cloud environment in 2018, gaining stability and better desktop performance along with a lower maintenance overhead that freed IT staff’s time to focus on development and business support.
Any time, any place flexibility was another big benefit. As Mogensen says, “The coronavirus situation has really proven Citrix's worth. We switched everybody from office to home working overnight. Everyone was in the office on Monday and working from home on Tuesday. It was seamless.”
With everyone working from home, on both personal and municipality-owned devices, it was essential to provide the best possible working experience. That included ensuring that IT capacity matched new working patterns and that support could be provided quickly and accurately.
To help with this, Mogensen and his team chose Citrix Analytics for Performance.
“One of the main reasons we wanted to use Citrix Analytics was the ability to follow a problem right through to the end user, no matter where they were,” Mogensen says "With Analytics, we can actually see where the problem is – whether it's their home hotspot, their computer (either Kommune-owned or personal) or their internet service provider.”
Citrix Analytics for Performance is designed to provide visibility into an organization’s user performance using collated user session data. Enabling it across Albertslund’s network of distributed workers helped the IT team optimize overall performance. They quickly updated a number of users who were found to be running outdated software and, on the server side, Mogensen tailored cloud server capacity to meet evolving work patterns – for example, some workers preferred to work in the evenings.
“With Citrix and Azure, it's much easier for me to control costs, because it's on a real-time basis. I'm able to see where spikes occur or where the low periods are and adjust the Citrix environment in a cost-effective manner,” says Mogensen. “Instead of the old world of having 50 or 100 servers in the basement, all running 100% of the time, we can adjust the service level of cloud resources within minutes, according to people's needs. We wouldn’t have that flexibility or scalability in a traditional environment.”
The diagnostic power of Citrix Analytics for Performance has been a boon for the IT support team (who are also working from home, of course).
“During coronavirus, the volume of calls to our support desk has increased by 30% or 40%,” Mogensen says, “but Analytics has given us a greater ability to pinpoint the issue. That means a shorter time to fix each issue, and a higher percentage of right fix, first time. In turn, that means more happy customers. Citrix Analytics has become an ‘anti-frustration tool’.”
As Analytics continues to gather performance data, Mogensen sees it becoming increasingly predictive, further improving his ability to deliver solutions when – or before – the need is there.
Gathering data for the future – whether to anticipate future IT developments or to support Albertslund’s Smart City project – was another reason for Albertslund’s decision to deploy Citrix Analytics.
“The information we get from Analytics makes the dialogue we have with our customers and decision-makers more enlightened,” explains Mogensen. He sees that ability having a much wider application in the future.
“We use IoT devices across the municipality to monitor water, pollution, noise, lighting etc., so we can begin to develop smart city solutions. Artificial intelligence and data-driven decision-making will become even bigger issues in the future, so I need a platform that’s able to handle this, now. We need to start collecting and understanding data now, to inform the decisions we’ll be taking in five to ten years and I see Citrix Analytics becoming increasingly important in this.”
The Albertslund team uses the Microapps capability within Citrix Workspace to further streamline its environment for staff. Like many organizations, the municipality has its share of legacy systems, often lacking modern graphical user interfaces. These systems may be used by staff only a tiny percentage of their time, but for critical tasks. Rather than forcing users to access these unfriendly and unfamiliar systems, Microapps enables a different approach. As Mogensen says:
“Microapps draw value out of complex systems and present it to you in a smaller, simpler environment. My role is to think, how can I ease the working day of every co-worker? How can I make their day technologically easier? Often the answer is to take tasks out of large, slow systems and put them onto people’s mobile phones or other devices they have with them all the time. Microapps is a solution for us to ‘easify’ the working environment.”
Currently, microapp candidates are prioritized by a quarterly user meeting, based on greatest potential value. In future, Citrix Analytics will also help to identify opportunities to further leverage the Microapps capability within Citrix Workspace.
Albertslund chose Citrix in order to provide a consistent system for its staff.
“We are very keen to have an infrastructure that is coherent,” Mogensen says. “We don't want different interfaces, different providers and discussions about whose fault it is when anything goes wrong. It's all part of being as efficient as possible.”
Looking ahead, Mogensen and his team plan to continue automating their Citrix environment and driving as much efficiency as possible so that they are best placed to support the wider organization in its future decision making.
The municipality works with Platinum Plus Citrix Solution Advisor Conecto and Citrix.
“We need partners who are prepared to challenge our thinking, to push us and challenge us to do better. They know the technology best and I know my business best. The trust and the triangulation we have between Conecto, Citrix and ourselves works very well.”
Analytics has given us a greater ability to pinpoint the issue. That means a shorter time to fix each issue, and a higher percentage of right fix, first time. In turn, that means more happy customers. Citrix Analytics has become an ‘anti-frustration tool’.