No big, fat losers in this thin client makeover

Strict diet of few support staff

Growing at 60 percent per year, the Ingeus Group struggled to keep IT support costs to a minimum.

The aim was rid the organization of costly fat and maintain a diet of few IT staff.

Trying to maintain a standard operating environment (SOE) across 50 offices in Australia and 20 offices overseas was proving to be an impossible task.

According to head of the company's IT services group, Luiz de Almeida, the only solution was to make the move to thin clients.

It was time for an IT makeover for the Ingeus Group, which provides welfare-to-work services for those unable to find employment.

"Back in 1989 we had one office and one staff member, now we have 1000 staff with 50 offices in Australa, plus nearly 400 staff and 20 offices overseas," he said.

"We saw clearly that using PCs would not give us the Standard Operating Environment (SOE) we needed to keep support costs to a minimum.

"The best way to set up offices quickly was to adopt server based computing and thin client technology."

Working closely with the Commonwealth Employment Service, de Almeida said the company had to run a number of purpose built applications for reporting purposes.

"These were built on Citrix running RDP protocol and were ideal for server based computing; other applications were standard Microsoft and other commercial packages that could easily run on Citrix," he said.

All applications were loaded onto the central IBM blade servers in the IT data centre based in Brisbane and fed out to the Wyse thin clients in the branches.

The company began with 250 of the Wyse Winterm 9235LE running embedded Windows XP but de Zlmeida said the Microsoft operating environment wasn't ideal.

"We went back to Wyse and changed our configurations to a wider range of thin client alternatives that better suits our needs," he said.

At this stage, Ingeus still had PCs in the regional offices but support costs were escalating.

"Having disk based PC's in our offices when interfacing with so many varied clients was not acceptable from a security perspective. Also, trying to keep all PC's in synch around 50 offices is impossible without a large support staff," de Almeida said.

Today, the Ingeus Group has over 800 various versions of Wyse thin client devices operating across Australia.

Wyses S30s are used as the customer interface devices in cafe style workplaces in each regional centre.

There are Windows CE bassed units that allow users a standard Windows experience.

The slim operating system and Flash memory and RAM equals fast performance and boot up.

"The last thing we need is already anxious clients waiting around for long computer responses," de Almeida said.

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