Trends and opinions for improved IT service management and client management

Posted By: Anonymous
14 Oct 2014

Your business is much like an extension of yourself, and as such it deserves the same level of care and attention that you'd give to your own well-being. To ensure that your company remains competitive, profitable, and successful in meeting all of its goals, you must be prepared to adopt new and trending technologies. Cloud solutions, process optimization, and workforce mobility are just a small collection of the various improvements and opportunities that are available for a modern enterprise.

The major problem, however, is that changes in process and technology are often met with resistance from both users and administrators. This can cause disruption in the productivity of your business, effectively defeating the purpose of otherwise necessary company improvements. With the enhanced solutions provided by FrontRange's HEAT Service Management software, many of these issues can be put to rest.

HEAT Service Management is an extremely flexible ITSM solution which has been developed based on the IT best practices. We have studied the solutions that have successfully helped customers meet the individualized requirements of many different growing businesses and have finally designed software that can ensure the highest level of service quality, delivery and performance.

HEAT Service Management makes it possible to easily send in a request for any services or changes. You can also plan for appropriate remediation measures, saving much needed time in the future. We give you the power to automatically approve and authorize requests, implement changes regarding your users, while efficiently auditing successful completions and service level agreements. Why continue running your business at a downgraded pace? Begin ensuring enhanced service quality and customer satisfaction through the use of HEAT Service Management solutions today.

Posted By: Steve Gardner
06 Oct 2014

By all accounts, 2014 has been a tough year for IT teams. From ever-growing cybersecurity threats to ever-shrinking IT budgets, there have been a number of issues prompting IT pros to pull their hair out. Likewise, IT service desk professionals don’t always get the appreciation they deserve, despite their immense contribution to business operations.

It’s for these reasons that FrontRange is proud to be supporting IT Service Week in the UK (6 - 10 October 2014). ITSW is an initiative from the Service Desk Institute to give IT professionals some much needed recognition and to celebrate the importance of excellent customer service. With a range of promotional events happening this week, ITSW is a great way to showcase the truly vital work of IT professionals up and down the country and to recognise the very best IT teams in Europe.

IT Service Week

According to the Service Desk Institute, the main purpose of ITSW is to:

  • highlight the dedication of the entire service desk team – first line, second line and field engineers in delivering great customer service
  • let work colleagues and customers know how vital the role of the IT support analyst/engineer is and that the IT service team committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectations
  • ‘blow the trumpet’ of the IT service desk staff who work hard and go that extra mile to ensure the technology in their business continues to function
  • boost the morale and teamwork of the IT service desk
  • recognise and reward those teams and employees who deserve it

At FrontRange we’re keen to show our support by any means necessary. We’ll be sponsoring live webinars with the SDI every day this week; promoting ITSW offers (including free donuts); Joining the conversation on social media via the #ITSW hashtag; and even giving away a free iPad Mini for the lucky winner of our ITSW competition

We believe that this week is the perfect chance for organisations to thank their hard-working service desk superheroes so we’re encouraging everyone to get involved – we certainly will be.

Be sure to follow IT Service Week on Twitter using the #ITSW hashtag and via the @FrantRange and @SDI_institute feeds. Good luck and enjoy IT Service Week!

ITSW webinars

Posted By: PR
01 Oct 2014

Many people consider the technology industry the face of the future. While this may be true, this also means that many IT companies are faced with emerging problems that have yet to develop optimal solutions. The best way to reduce challenges from growing IT requirements is to start by simplifying the process of client management.

business people in suitsFinding a means to enhance management procedures would dramatically reduce difficulties and improve productivity exponentially. The big question that has thus far remained unanswered, though, is how best to achieve this goal. Thankfully, FrontRange, your leading provider of Client Management and Hybrid IT Service Management software solutions, has the perfect response.

HEAT Client Management solutions from FrontRange have been specifically designed to assist customers in regaining control of their complex IT infrastructures. By offering a newly enhanced level of process automation, unified management, and compliance enforcement, businesses of any size can optimize their IT productivity. Quickly create an unmatched foundation for efficient and effective IT services and yield improved end-user productivity with an interface that fully automates software provisioning, configuration and remediation tasks to efficiently manage physical, virtual, and mobile devices across their lifecycle.

Only with HEAT Client Management can you can create an optimized plan for software roll-outs globally, package your software, operating systems, drivers and configurations automatically, ensure that your software changes are verified and piloted before production, deploy software to the end user instantaneously. You can even monitor and enforce compliance or update and remove software as your business needs see fit.

FrontRange is the only company that can provide Client Management solutions that fully automate IT operational tasks without overly complex operational instructions. Gain the ability to manage and control physical, virtual and mobile devices from a unified, intuitive console for your business today and see the difference it makes.

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
30 Sep 2014

In a recent article I wrote for Information Security Buzz, I discussed the advantages of an EMM platform vs. MDM point products. I’ve used a common use case to describe the benefits of an EMM platform.

Highly mobile workforces are a dominant characteristic of modern businesses. Currently, 58 percent of smartphones used in business are purchased by employees, not employers, and this number is projected to grow to 85% in 2016 (Enterprise Management Associates).

As the number of devices in the workplace rises, the likelihood of theft or device loss also increases. On average, one out of every eight mobile devices will be lost or stolen (Enterprise Management Associates). When handling the complications of device loss or theft, let’s compare how an EMM solution, which manages all devices from one central platform, compares to a siloed MDM solution, composed of several, disconnected platforms. 

A siloed MDM solution might be able to track and wipe the device, but the employee often has to report the loss to the service desk, wasting valuable time. The user doesn’t have access to services such as Self Service or Service Catalog to automatically and immediately report the loss, order a replacement device, and initiate a security alert. Instead such responsibilities are left to the employee.

By utilizing a unified EMM solution, the employee can use Self Service and Service Catalog processes to report his lost device and simultaneously order a replacement. Workflows and approval rules initiate automatically (zero touch) and notify the employee when his new device will arrive. Using EMM, the employee can regain access to his applications and personal settings from his previous device. Zero-touch deployment allows new applications and updates to be automatically pushed out to devices.

For the full article please click here.

Posted By: Udo Waibel
08 Sep 2014

Some Apple aficionados have been queuing since the end of last week to be first to get their hands on the new device.  For those determined few, the wait will soon be over but, for many IT departments around the world, the process of rolling out the new device is only just beginning.

rendering of rumored sizes of new iPhone and iPad

I know it’s not the first thing that springs to mind about the iPhone but, when you consider the challenges that such a ubiquitously popular new device can create from an IT management perspective, the size of the screen or the possibility of enhanced fitness tracking features start to become a bit less important.

I’m sure this will strike a chord with many of my fellow IT professionals and have drawn up a checklist that, if nothing else, should help to get you thinking about whether or not you’re prepared, not just for the new iPhone, but for any new device that will have employees clambering at the IT department’s door.  

Employee demands

Demanding employees will certainly be an issue when it comes to the launch of any popular new device.  Vast numbers of employees have probably already posed the question to their IT admins: ‘So when do we get the new iPhone?’  and, if they haven’t already, come tomorrow, in the wake of all the media coverage, I’d imagine it will be on their mind to do so.

If an organisation’s corporate mobile contract is still running, I can’t see IT departments having much trouble politely informing employees that they’ll simply have to wait. If that’s the situation you’re in, feel free to breathe a quick sigh of relief, as the real problems will be incurred by organisations coming to the end of their mobile contracts, which brings me to issue number two.

Out with the old (tried and tested) in with new (entering the unknown)

According to various rumour sites, blog posts and product leaks, we can expect the new iPhone/iOS to have lots of new features or changes to existing ones.  Even if the changes are somewhat incremental, any new features lack real-world testing.  Indeed, many could be unfit for enterprise-use.   While this is not always the case, early adopters of the iPhone 5S, excited by the prospect of enhanced security through finger-print scanning, probably weren’t impressed to hear stories about the system being duped by hackers using glue, or users unlocking phones by scanning other body parts instead of their fingerprints.

New users can in effect be unwitting test subjects.  If a new high profile device launches with a security flaw, it will likely get patched pretty quickly, but that’s not to say the patches will come soon enough for early adopters.  Rolling out new devices on launch isn’t just expensive; it can also be high risk, while organisations wait for any teething issues to be resolved.

The great migration

The usability and intuitive interface of the iPhone is well documented, benefitting your average technophobe no end.  However, mobile users new to the iPhone operating system will still need some level of training on the device in a corporate environment – sending a text message is markedly different to knowing how to set up email or back up to iCloud.  Unfortunately, mobile migration processes are not always the smoothest, especially if we’re talking about an employee moving from one OS to another, and that’s before you even start to think about rolling out company-specific apps and services.

How to prepare

Given these issues, it’s vital that organisations are able to continue providing mobile support for employees and ensure the new devices cause minimal disruption to daily operations.  Implementing effective Enterprise Mobility Management policies should be a top priority and, although most organisations will already have this in place, it’s helpful to review EMM practice well ahead of each and every rollout of new devices.

The first steps towards this are understanding your organisation’s expectations before switching to a new device, identifying your mobile use cases and defining specific guidelines and policies based on what’s right for your organisation.  It also means determining what information and applications each department needs access to, outlining security procedures important to each business unit and understanding the regulations governing data usage and data access in the countries you operate in.

While mobile migration is unlikely to be an entirely enjoyable experience, by following these steps it may be less painful.  

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
27 Aug 2014

impact of flexible workingIf you’re operating a service desk in the UK, you're probably already aware of new employment legislation that ensures every full-time worker is allowed to apply for flexible working, something that was previously only available to parents with children under 17 years of age. What might be less clear is how this affects the service desk and what can be done to prepare.

Flexible working will mean more people logging on from home and a more disparate workforce. As a result, there will be a greater emphasis on new ways of working and communicating; operating in and collaborating in real-time with access to corporate information will be vital for these flexible workers, not to mention their employers and colleagues of course. Unsurprisingly perhaps, this will translate to greater IT complexity and put extra strain on IT teams, as they’ll need to ensure flexible workers are properly set up to work in such a way and able to remain as productive as their on-premise counterparts.    

With this in mind, what stands out from an IT perspective is enterprise mobility management (EMM), which will be critical for organisations and IT service desks coming to terms with these new laws. It is an area our blogs have covered extensively in the past few weeks, where vital tips can be found for enterprises coming to terms with flexible working.

10-15 years ago it was much harder to set up an employee to work from home. Indeed, the vast majority of today’s employees will already have a good proportion of home office essentials such as a PC or laptop, network connection and office software. This would suggest that the introduction of flexible working may be an easy task, but I can assure you that this is far from the case.

If businesses want their employees to operate effectively from home, there are plenty of considerations besides these essentials. For instance, office software needs to be installed, updated and supported; PCs need to be secured with the necessary IT security features installed and the network maintained. It’s no good telling employees to do this themselves, even if they are capable of installing office software correctly. It needs to be managed effectively so that the same processes are in place for every IT user and so that every IT user can perform effectively as per his/her role in the organisation.

Finally, in light of the new legislation, IT teams may also want to reconsider remote support as part of their overall strategy. Unfortunately mobile devices, like any form of IT, are prone to error—be it malware, user error or compatibility issues. For workers exercising their right to work outside of the usual office confines, it’s no good attempting to take the device away for further examination. IT administrators need to be able to troubleshoot devices remotely and take control of them to view the device screen and use the device keyboard.

For more information on enterprise mobility, an essential component for handling flexible working, download our latest whitepaper on enterprise mobility challenges.

Posted By: Anonymous
11 Aug 2014

This article was origionally posted on by Dan Kusnetzky.

Speaking with IT Decision makers about the problems they're facing, what products they considered to address those problems, what product they chose and why is very useful. These conversations cut directly to the chase and avoid a great deal of catch phrase marketing from vendors.

This time I spoke with David Mora and Kevin Scott of Randstad US about their selection of management services offered by FrontRange.

Please introduce yourself and your organization.

We're David Mora, Helpdesk Manager and Kevin Scott, Director Technical Support, of Randstad US, a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, a $22.0 billion global provider of HR services. As the third largest staffing organization in the U.S., Randstad holds top positions in permanent placement, office and administrative, IT and accounting and finance.

Randstad offers professional services, commercial staffing, recruitment process outsourcing, managed services and more. The company delivers a comprehensive range of temporary, temporary-to-hire, permanent placement and outsourced placement services.

It has 5,324 employment experts and puts an average of approximately 100,000 people to work in the U.S. each week, through its network of nearly 1,000 branches and client-dedicated locations.

What were you doing that required this type of technology?

We were using a ticketing solution, which was an older version of HEAT. It was an on-premise version. We needed an off-premise, cloud-based solution. The decision was driven by the development team who were tasked to manage and maintain the servers and software. They wanted to move to a cloud-based solution so they could focus more on developing systems than supporting hardware and software.

We needed a solution both powerful and flexible enough to support both the staffing and professional parts of the overall organization.

What products did you consider before making a selection?

We had reviewed two BMC products, Service Desk Express and Remedy, SysAid, SunView's ChangeGear and Rocket Aldon.

Why did you select this product?

We selected HEAT for several reasons. Some vendors didn't offer a cloud-based solution. The specific criteria we evaluated was power, ease of use, scalability and flexibility. HEAT continually came out on top based on this criteria.

What tangible benefit have you received through the use of this product?

We now have the ability to adapt the system to our business processes. The basic functionality was available out of the box. From there we were able to fine-tune the features without having to go through an extensive development process.

HEAT Service Management also has the flexibility and capabilities that allowed us to build a new module that supported employee on-boarding, off-boarding, and requests for hardware, software or additional system access. The module makes it easy for employees to make IT requests, which can be audited at a later time.

The Incident Voice module that we built, allows the caller to be identified and the call can be directed to the appropriate team. This reduces the burden on call center agents.It was much easier to use the HEAT solution to connect employee records, equipment records and build complex reporting and automation processes that allowed integration with change management, asset management and incident management tools. We can take advantage of all of them working together.

In essence, a single incident can be recorded and the module can assign multiple tasks to different teams for resolution.

What advice would you offer others who are facing similar circumstances?

Do your due diligence. Make sure the solution you select has the functionality to address your key business needs. Also make sure the solution isn't overly complicated so that the software itself doesn't become a burden.

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
23 Jul 2014

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) WhitepaperThe last of our four-part blog series on Enterprise Mobility Challenges discusses how you can empower your employees. See part 1: Defining Company-Specific Best Practices, part 2: Supporting Employees on Multiple Endpoints, and part 3: Maximizing Security.

The shift toward personal device ownership and the consumer-like nature of mobile platforms lends itself to user self-sufficiency.  This strategy provides users with the tools and information to be able to help themselves, rather than traditional forms of self-service that focus on providing answers to common questions.

Enterprise Mobility end users should be able to provision their own devices; this will help to reduce the number of service requests IT receives. A consolidated application delivery system, such as a mobile AppStore, can provide a “one-stop shop” experience for accessing all business applications, virtual applications, and web applications. Similarly, data can be stored and distributed through a secure share or other centralized repository. All provisioning procedures should include approval and authentication processes to ensure resources are only accessed by authorized personnel.

Sometimes, however, end users will require admin assistance.  Users should be able to easily initiate a service request and provide all details of the incident for support personnel to understand the problem.  Since users have a wide range of technical abilities, it is often not practical for administrators to talk them through a problem resolution (particularly if the device they are having problems with is the smartphone they are talking on).

To simplify this process and enable prompt problem resolution, administrators should have remote access to all supported endpoints, allowing them to see and resolve any issues. In the event a device is damaged beyond repair, all business data on it should be backed up and easily recoverable

For more information about the four biggest Enterprise Mobility challenges and how to resolve them, register for the complete whitepaper

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
18 Jul 2014

The last two blog posts (part 1: Defining Company-Specific Best Practices, and part 2: Supporting Employees on Multiple Endpoints) discussed how to define mobility best practices and policies, and how to support employees on multiple endpoints.  This post, the third in our four-part series, covers how you can maximize your security to reduce your overall risk.

BYOD poses many security risks, but certain steps can be taken to alleviate them.

Inevitably, devices will be lost or stolen. Because of this, it’s important that you have defined your policies for replacement or compensation, as well as your security protocol for protecting stolen data.

One best practice is to ensure that you have the ability to remotely wipe all mobile devices used by employees, ensuring that sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Backup and restore capabilities can also help reduce the risk of lost data, and device location services can help locate a lost device without having to involve IT.

Employee-owned devices may sometimes bypass inbound corporate filters, leaving them vulnerable to malware. Adding security layers to mobile devices can help prevent this, but you should anticipate resistance from your users. As always, be sure to consider legal privacy requirements before instituting security policies for personal devices. 

For more information about the four biggest Enterprise Mobility challenges and how to resolve them, register for the complete whitepaper 

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
15 Jul 2014

Our last post covered how to resolve the first challenge of Enterprise Mobility: defining best practices and policies for your organization. This post discusses how to support employees on multiple endpoints.

Once there is a clear understanding of your organizational and security requirements, you need to understand your users – where and how they access corporate information and resources, and what devices they are using to do this.

Today’s enterprise workforce is dependent on multiple devices: according to industry analyst EMA, 87% of all business professionals employ a PC, along with either a smartphone or tablet (or both). [EMA: Supporting Workforce Mobility: Best Practices in Enterprise Mobility Management, October 2013.]

The biggest impact of mobile devices on IT is not the volume of devices, but the style of support that is necessary. BYOD limits the scope of service IT is required to provide, and puts more of the responsibility on the end user. The variety of mobile devices (i.e., iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.) and the frequency with which they are changed also limits the breadth of platform expertise the IT staff can realistically possess.

Mobile platforms place more control in the hands of the user. If the user owns the device, IT can’t push changes and configurations autonomously;  the end user plays an active role in the process. This means that some updates will be more critical, and thus the mechanisms that enforce compliance will vary.  Policies that define which types or models of devices will be supported and the extent to which IT will provide technical support for these devices must also be covered.

For more information about the four biggest Enterprise Mobility challenges and how to resolve them, register for the complete whitepaper