Livestock Improvement Corporation is undergoing a major transformation to its desktop infrastructure after signing a three-year desktop outsourcing contract with CodeBlue.
LIC is a farmer-owned co-operative responsible for dairy herd improvement.
CodeBlue staff had to integrate seamlessly with LIC’s IT team, taking full responsibility for the upgrade, service and day-to-day support of LIC’s more than 850 desktops and the mobile device fleet. The end goal was to free up the internal team to focus on wider strategic IT opportunities and challenges.
A key part of the outsourcing contract is to operate a dedicated help desk with extended hours and high support levels. This ensures LIC’s customer relationship managers, herd testers and artificial breeding technicians in the field are delivered high uptime for their applications and supporting server, desktop and mobile hardware devices.
LIC’s general manager – technology, Dave Scullin, says 12 months into the CodeBlue contract the planned transformation has been delivered as promised: “The word ‘transformational’ is probably overused but in this case it’s accurate,” he says. “The first task for CodeBlue was to replace LIC’s 850 desktops and laptops, with more than 100 of these devices at multiple locations across the country.”
The desktops were outdated, running Microsoft Windows XP and Office 2000, and with consequent productivity and morale issues, Scullin says. Users were frustrated with Office 2000’s inability to easily exchange documents with later Microsoft versions, or to run modern 64-bit applications.
Other issues with LIC’s environment included no remote access, no remote control or monitoring of software releases, and a high manual workload with all desktop system changes requiring hands-on involvement. Some devices were up to six or seven years old.
In the first phase of the desktop transformation, CodeBlue implemented a new operating environment, with new desktops and mobile devices running consolidated applications on new Windows 7 and Office 2010 platforms. This established a consistent user experience for both onsite and remote users.
The next phase was around managing the new environment efficiently over time. Key to this was getting CodeBlue’s help desk up and running, backing up a fast, reliable desktop environment with remote monitoring to pre-empt problems, and a refined help desk to resolve system or software problems.
“The transition to CodeBlue’s service desk was the smoothest outsourcing process I’ve been through in my entire career,” Scullin says.
“We now have a fully current, highly productive desktop infrastructure with excellent user support. User morale and productivity are up – with a particular benefit being realised from lower downtime.
"We have the platform we need to take maximum advantage of 64-bit applications and we have excellent integration of mobile devices out in the field. Continual, incremental improvement is the way forward, rather than the ‘Big Bang’ transformation we’ve just been through.”