Blitz Games Studios
About Blitz Games
Blitz Games is one of the top 5 independent game developers in the United Kingdom with over 20 years of experience in the games business. Publishers of Blitz Games have included such notables as Universal, Disney Interactive, Sony, THQ, Empire Interactive, and Hasbro Interactive.
This award-winning company is headquartered in Leamington Spa, north of London. The region’s Midlands Business Insider magazine recently ranked Blitz Games as #17 on their list of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the West Midlands.
Blitz Games Studios
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom
After much growth, Blitz Games needed an integrated solution for IT asset management and software licensing compliance.
Alloy Navigator with current licenses for 550 nodes and 5 users.
- Software inventory data to ensure licensing compliance
- Complete, accurate, and up-to-date network inventory
- Helping make decisions about purchasing assets and properly allocating them
- Accurate project cost analysis
- Flexible filtering of list views
- Quick-and-easy retrieval of data for audits and budgets
- Powerful reports module
- All-in-one system that readily supports future IT growth
Building an Infrastructure
When James Corrigan joined Blitz Games six years ago as its first IT manager, the company’s primary focus was, as he puts it, “Games. Plus administration.” At the time, Blitz Games employed about 70 people who worked locally on about 100 machines.
And their IT department? It was a Windows 98 diskette and a single PC server.
According to Corrigan, everything was outdated. There were no backups, standards, or procedures. They had the minimal infrastructure, and there was no asset management. As Corrigan wryly states, “It was a shambles, but we were surviving.” Since that time, Corrigan reports, “We’ve grown up quite a bit and are now very structured.”
More than ready for the task at hand, Corrigan worked hard to begin building the IT department from the ground floor. He started by using a dual system of spreadsheets and Word documents to track equipment and software licenses. He also built an Access database to monitor the lending of around 4,000 library items and to track IT Service Desk tickets.
The database did a good job for about a year, although Corrigan found it to be clumsy. This piecemeal approach worked fairly well for the next three years and helped him put together a much-needed structure. However, he says he had to prove to management that the structure was actually a good idea!
“The support has been brilliant. It’s second-to-none every time that we’ve needed it.”
Finding Alloy Navigator
Somewhere around the three-year mark, Corrigan decided what he really needed was a complete package that comprised asset management and software licensing compliance. He eventually tried another leading PC asset inventory tool, which was, he states, “Very slow, so we could only use it once a month. And there were no reporting tools anyway, plus it was hard to set up and hard to maintain.” Clearly, this tool was not the solution.
Two years ago, Corrigan found Asset Navigator while surfing the web. After downloading the demo, he says, “I didn’t realize there was a full software system out there. I was quite amazed that it did everything we wanted it to do.” As he puts it, “It was an all-in-one system.” He started with the network audit and slowly developed a full system. Now, he says, “We use pretty much every bit of it.”
I didn’t realize there was a full software system out there. I was quite amazed that it did everything we wanted it to do.
Today, Corrigan’s IT department comprises an IT administrator and an IS coordinator, whose daily use of Asset Navigator includes reporting and managing the library as well as moving all their equipment around. (At Blitz Games, the emphasis on game projects requires the constant reassignment of assets to the right location.) On the technical side, Corrigan has a network manager and an IT technician who manages the network and provides daily support.
As a whole, the group currently maintains an infrastructure of around 260 machines for 120 employees – around twice the size as when Corrigan started.
One of Corrigan’s favorite Asset Navigator features is filtering, especially when he doesn’t want something as formal as a printed report. He says, “The way you can filter views, drag headers around ‘ it’s really quite brilliant. If someone comes along and wants to know how many playstations we have in the building, it’s an absolute breeze. We can get the information in seconds.”
The support has been brilliant. It’s second-to-none every time that we’ve needed it.
And he adds, “We use the reporting tool to create our own reports. We have some fantastic reports. The data is all there, so it’s just knowing how to get it.”
Of course, Corrigan has numerous other favorites, including the availability of data to make informed purchasing decisions.
He states, “When we’re doing the yearly budget, I can use Asset Navigator‘ to find out about past purchases.”
He adds, “I can determine the equipment we need when new projects are pending. I can answer people’s questions instantly from my laptop when I’m in meetings, or on-the-fly whenever someone needs proof about something we purchased.”
And when the time comes for the annual financial audit, Asset Navigator makes it easy for Corrigan to prove to the auditors that he’s purchased something. Corrigan declares, “This used to be a nightmare! I had to send out warning emails two weeks before the audit. Now I just import the audit data and it’s all there. It’s a breeze nowadays.”
And as much of the work at Blitz Games is project-based, Asset Navigator lets Corrigan quickly provide other departments with valuable data so they can perform accurate project cost analyses.
The Blitz Games environment presents its share of other unique challenges. As a company of artists, designers, and programmers, Blitz Games has more than a handful of software power users. “Everyone is always asking for better software,” states Corrigan. “This goes against standardizing across the company.