Expanding remote work capabilities
In March of 2020, Westerra’s primary concern was getting all of its employees up and running from home. While our client already had some remote capabilities, the majority of their workforce was based on premises. Users required access to their respective branch as well as full Windows® 10 desktops to perform daily tasks and access databases containing sensitive financial information.
“We did whatever we could to get people working from home, whether that was giving them PCs or laptops to take home,” said Groves. The client worked with Insight to acquire additional laptops in the short term just to keep employees working. But even in the midst of major disruption, they never lost sight of their plans for VDI. Plans may have been put on hold, but they weren’t forgotten.
Making VDI a reality
Once they realized remote work was here to stay, Groves’ team set their sights on stabilizing their remote environment and establishing standards for Westerra’s devices and processes. With Insight’s help, they were able to bring their full workforce up to the same standard by the end of August. Once that goal was achieved, it was time to start looking at VDI again.
Through Insight’s professional services for VMware Horizon implementation, Westerra was able to achieve a full-stack Horizon Enterprise deployment with TrueSSO, UAG, App Volumes, DEM, Instant Clones and full Windows 10 desktops.
The entire Horizon cluster was deployed on premises in Westerra’s data center in Colorado with 300 desktop images deployed. Users are now able to connect from their home computers to each branch.
Keeping the momentum going
Once they met their VDI goals in September, Groves’ team was already looking to the next project. With so many remote devices to manage now, he wanted a way to manage them all more efficiently. So the next big project became implementing a Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform, such as VMware Workspace ONE®.
When we asked Groves why he chose Workspace ONE, he had this to say:
“We really went toward Workspace ONE because it plays well with our existing Horizon environment. It also allows the management of devices that aren't ours, that don't belong to the corporate entity. So with someone's personal device, we can maintain the same level of control. Workspace ONE is what allows us to do all that and … deliver desktops and applications. So it's all one big combined platform that really plays well together.”
While Westerra just completed the implementation of this platform in Q1 of 2021, Groves and his team anticipate the combined functionality of Workspace ONE and Horizon will act as a complete digital workspace, delivering:
- Simpler, centralized device management
- Increased security and compliance with financial regulations
- Greater flexibility for employees who want to work anywhere and leverage personal devices
Why partnering with Insight was a must for Westerra
When we asked Groves about Westerra’s relationship with Insight, he said he valued it because it was a true partnership. Rather than providing Westerra with a turnkey solution for VDI and MDM implementation, Insight worked side-by-side with his team to share knowledge in context and ensure they were fully prepared to take over management of their new environment.
According to Groves:
“The way we did the implementations is my admins drove while Insight’s engineers sat with them and walked through all of it side-by-side. So the knowledge transfer happened during the processes ─ it wasn't a big knowledge dump at the end (which I find to be fairly useless). If you don't understand it, if you weren't part of the process, it doesn't stick. So my team went through it, they were clicking the buttons, filling out the information and asking questions. Sometimes implementations take a little longer day-to-day, but the knowledge transfer happens during the implementation, which leads to a better implementation overall.”
Looking to the future
Of course, Groves and the Westerra team aren’t stopping here ─ there’s always another project on the horizon. “Workspace ONE I think is going to take a lot a lot of time this year,” said Groves. “It has a lot of features and the idea is really to continue to leverage what we already have because we already have all the tools we need, which is a great spot to be in.”
The team wants to explore some additional work around:
- Multi-factor authentication
- Identity and access management
- Employee onboarding and offboarding automation
“We're not planning any major new transformations. Now we're focused on using what we have and frankly, kind of seeing where things land as things reopen and businesses respond. I think we're waiting to see what that looks like.”