McCord employed a staggered approach to implementing Alloy Navigator. He began with the main branch where he ran his first audit and tested the consistency of the collected inventory data. It helps him to
When that test passed, he moved on to the next location, running an audit there and checking that data. Several months later, McCord now runs an automated network audit once a month and says “I can always take a glance at what’s out there.” Although McCord had been too busy to quantify the time and money INB was expending before deploying Alloy Navigator, he says, “It was a mess. I know how much time and money we’ve saved!”
McCord administers Alloy Navigator centrally from his main-branch PC, with the help of an IT staff comprising two network administrators/senior technicians who run Alloy Navigator on a central server, and an administrator who manages the Technician’s Web Help Desk module.
In addition to accurate software recognition, McCord’s solution had to provide him with another crucial benefit: helping the INB plan for the timely replacement of a myriad of hardware assets. With a total of 7 branches, 219 computers comprising end user PC’s and 12 assorted servers, 1 remittance center, and over 175 employees, it’s easy to see that world-class service would require the kind of tight IT control that can only result from an asset management and help desk system.
To achieve his hardware management goals, McCord relies heavily on Alloy Navigator to quickly obtain accurate data about all the hardware models and configurations, and to track which hardware is coming off depreciation or is ready for phase-out.
Deploying the Web Help Desk
The perfect partner to automated asset management is Asset Navigator’s Technician’s Web Help Desk. Armed with current data about all their PC’s, McCord was able to implement the Help Desk phase of his infrastructure solution. Before purchasing Alloy Navigator, the INB had been using a “flaky shareware product,” according to McCord, “which we basically outgrew within a couple of months.” McCord configured Alloy Navigator’s convenient Mail Connector to set up a dedicated Help Desk email account. End users can still pick up the phone to call for support, but now they have the option to email their support requests right to the Help Desk. (The Mail Connector automatically imports these emails, at set intervals, into the local Help Desk as trouble tickets, auto-populating the Summary, Description, Requester, and Submit Date fields).
Alloy Navigator has greatly simplified and organized things since I started. It’s been a really good tool for us. It’s incredible having the Help Desk with the Web. That’s been a remarkable module.
The INB’s Help Desk administrator runs the Technician’s Web Help Desk, either entering new tickets in response to calls or further defining the auto-generated ones, and then assigning tasks to the appropriate technician. McCord says, “Alloy Navigator has greatly simplified and organized things since I started. Before, users would call the techs, but they lost track of the things that needed to be done and when they needed to be done. And we didn’t even know what was out there. It’s been a really good tool for us.” He adds, “It’s incredible having the Help Desk with the Web. That’s been a remarkable module.”
Using Favorite Features
McCord is also interested in maintaining an accurate representation of his employee end-users, including their office location, department, and job function, since he works closely with INB’s Human Resources department to keep information about new hires and former employees up-to-date. (When PC’s are audited, they’re automatically mapped to their logged users, and Alloy Navigator automatically creates basic contact records for logged users.)
- Software license reports that help them stay in compliance
- Network Inventory data that helps plan hardware replacements
- Reports that give department managers details about their systems in use
- Comprehensive software installation reports that help them plan for new applications
- Web-enabled Help Desk that streamlines the entire technical support process
In addition, McCord runs reports quite often. Some of these reports are for internal IT use, while others are requested by
various managers in such departments as retail and lending so that they can have factual data about the systems in their departments. Another feature that McCord finds useful is External Tools. This lets him integrate Alloy Navigator with his remote control software, enabling him to provide solutions for all of his end-users from anywhere on the network. (In Version 4.3 and later, you can invoke external tools for peripherals as well as for computers.)