With all the eyes of the world on the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Vancouver Convention Centre is touting its use of Novell Inc.’s Zenworks desktop management tool which it says will help its administrative staff handle any unexpected IT issues.

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Playing host to thousands of television and radio broadcasters from around the world, the conference centre’s tiny IT staff wants to ensure the building’s 200 administrative staff members are able to service the needs of the global media. While the conference centre’s three IT staff won’t offer support to the media directly, the team believes it’s playing a role in keeping everything running smoothly.


“Zenworks allows us to make efficient use of our administration staff,” said Bill Zeeben, IT manager at the VCC. “They help and service the clients in the building; in this case it would be the media.”


While the Olympic broadcasters are on their own network and an unforeseen issue wouldn’t impact the media directly, a situation would definitely affect the ability of VCC staff to respond in a timely manner, he added.


“Hypothetically, say something on our workstations caused our CRM or e-mail system to stop working and that hindered our staff from providing something the media or Olympic tenants required,” Zeeben said. “ZenWorks could be used to quickly push out a fix to the workstations and restore functionality. That would save our staff a lot of time and effort, prevent them from requiring manual failbacks and ensure the media tenants were provided with what they needed on time.”


The conference centre decided to use Zenworks a lot more heavily upon Novell’s release of version 10 last June.


With the Zenworks suite, Zeeben said he is able to automate and standardize desktop support, distributing patches or installing applications from a remote, central location. Prior to deploying Zenworks, the VCC’s IT staff had to go out to every PC individually to troubleshoot or install updates.


Ross Chevalier, president of Novell Canada Ltd., said the ability to solve any workstation-related problems from a centralized location was a key factor in the VCC’s decision to deploy Zenworks. For example, if one of those workstations had a catastrophic hard disk error, the ability to reimage and redeploy all the applications based on user roles is incredibility helpful, he said.


Another differentiator that Zenworks brings, he said, is its ability to integrate with Active Directory environments.


“Moreover, there’s no rich client required for the administrator,” Chevalier said. “The admin merely needs the right level of authority and access to a browser. This means administrators, supervisors and support staff can really do their job from wherever they are.”


The VCC continues to host media from around the globe covering the Olympics throughout the month.

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