Desktop remote control slashes support burden

Concrete manufacturing and distribution company Metromix, with 12 sites around Sydney and regional NSW, has dramatically reduced its on-site support requirements through the use of remote control software.

Justin Price, Metromix IT manager, said remote control functionality is used for desktop support, software changes and troubleshooting.

"For example, an operator in Newcastle may have an issue with a printer [so] you can remotely control that PC and look for technical issues in software," Price said, adding remote control software also helps in retrieving diagnostics if someone has to go onsite.

"We have reduced onsite service calls by 75 percent," he said.

Metromix is using both Funk Software's Proxy and Citrix for remote control which gives the two-person IT team the ability to control any computer in the network as long as the person has access.

The company's infrastructure consists of 12 servers in Sydney and 80 PCs among the 12 state sites, which are linked with 512Kbps DSL connections and two 128 ISDN connections.

"We need Funk [Proxy] for instant troubleshooting on remote sites [because] on a Funk software connection I get a view of what the PC is doing," Price said.

"I can reboot the PC, do configuration changes and update software. I couldn't see you would run Proxy software to replace Citrix."

Although Funk Proxy doesn't have the ability to auto-adjust the screen size, Price said Funk is "definitely the best of all remote control software".

Metromix is paying about $1000 a year for licences across the whole company, which includes 50 desktop and two server licences.

Price said ROI was within three months, because of the time and money saved on lost productivity and out of office hours - much of which was spent in cars. "This type of technology has a real future."

Metromix can also rely on its IT support partner Rojan which helps with specialized support for any issues the company can't resolve as a first course of action.

"A third-party can help, but the software is quite usable in-house," he said.

Rojan managing director, Jopin Niazi, said there are many remote control applications on the market, but Funk Proxy is fast over slow connections like dial-up, has advanced features like SSL encryption, but primarily it does what it's supposed to do rather than having "bells and whistles".

"Proxy has a small footprint, doesn't take up a lot of resources, and is easy to deploy and upgrade," Niazi said. "Its problem is not many people know about it. Anyone we have given demo software to use has been amazed at how well it works."

With desktop remote control, the Wollongong-based Rojan supports clients throughout Australia and New Zealand.

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