Enhancing End-User App Availability for Leading Media Groups

Anunta simplifies IT management and enhances end-user applications availability at one of India’s largest media groups.

Customer:

Established in 1958, the media group is urban India’s #1 newspaper group and has 6 newspapers with 66 editions. The group has a total readership of 1.26 crores in urban India and a strong presence in the radio business. The media group’s is the largest radio network in India, with presence in 30 cities across 7 states. The digital arm of the group has 9 portals and 4 apps in Hindi, Gujarati, English and Marathi.



Industry: Media

Background:

Given the media group’s widespread presence, its IT team was dealing with an ever-increasing challenge of managing IT operations for 1,500+ users across 14 cities. Difficulties in managing the complexity of the operations, particularly change management was resulting in lack of end-user satisfaction and productivity loss. Additionally, lack of visibility, poor control over the application environment and license compliance requirements further increased IT inefficiencies. Delays in production and print schedules were a constant issue. While virtual desktop infrastructure solutions had the promise to solve many of their problems there were concerns in the senior management about its implementation because successful across-the-board transition in the media industry was almost unheard of.

Challenges:

  • Usage of heavy applications: Being a media group, its end-users used high I/O applications such as Adobe Creative Suite (primarily InDesign and Photoshop) for design and creative illustrations, and applications such as Matrix and NewsWrap for page composing and formatting. Providing consistent uninterrupted access to these applications through a virtualized environment is not a typical or easy use case.
  • Integration: IT teams were unsure whether their legacy peripherals would operate seamlessly in the new environment.
  • Domain Expertise: The media group lacked sufficient trained resources for Day 2 management of a virtualized environment.
  • Business Impact: Being a newspaper group, there was zero tolerance to any downtime or business interruption as missing deadlines would result in newspapers not hitting the stands causing loss of revenue and readership that cannot be recouped.
  • User Acceptance: The IT teams feared that end-users, mainly journalists, photographers and visualizers, would not easily agree to adopt the new technology resulting in project failure.
  • Change and Patch Management: The company dealt with roughly 80 changes (comprising of font installations, application upgrades, new application roll-outs and browser upgrades) every year, each requiring around 15-20 mins/user and were dependent on system and user availability. Roll-backs were also difficult, painful and time-consuming.
  • License Compliance: Since users were spread across multiple locations, IT managers weren’t completely aware of the exact user needs, and sometimes ended up installing complete application suites where users required only a few applications to work with. Locally managed endpoints led to a non-standard setup resulting in operational issues as well as license compliance challenges.

Solution:

With its years of extensive experience in end-to-end implementation and management of virtualization technologies, Anunta designed a virtual desktop solution that not only addressed the group’s IT challenges but also managed to convince the key stakeholders that the virtualization project could be implemented without any disruption to business. As part of the onboarding process, Anunta created several different user profiles and multiple golden images to cater to over 1,500 users across 10 sites using a combination of virtualization technologies. Anunta identified application, compute and storage requirements for each user profile and provided them with only those applications necessary for their profiles. Centralized management of desktops restricted download of other applications ensuring complete license compliance. Additionally, Anunta used its extensive experience in integration with peripherals to identify all legacy peripherals (printers, scanners, etc.) and ensured seamless integration with the new IT environment.

Since latency was a critical factor in performance, Anunta recommended data centers at each location with data and applications being relayed over LAN instead of WAN resulting in zero latency. Anunta onboarded the media group’s end-users to the new environment post detailed user acceptance testing (UAT) and migrated them without any business disruption. It continued to manage the new IT environment for 10 locations initially, and eventually effected large-scale across-the-board adoption of all end-users across the group’s multiple locations. This approach enabled the media group to implement desktop virtualization without administrative complications of dealing with multiple partners, ensuring complete accountability.

Benefits Realized:

  • Reduced Downtime: Improved application availability and reduced user-reported incidents significantly reduced downtime for the group’s editorial newsroom. This provided journalists with a stable, high-performing environment where they can peruse and create editorials in a timely manner.
  • Anywhere Access: End-users were no longer tied to their physical end points. Also, any breakdown at end points had no impact on end-user’s productivity or production schedules as they could swiftly move to another end-point and resume work with respective customized personal desktop experience.
  • Improved End-User Experience: Anunta’s domain experience in managing virtual desktops led to improved end-user satisfaction & productivity substantiated by consistent real-time customer satisfaction (CSAT) score of above 95%. Additionally, centralized image management ensured users had uniform desktop experience irrespective of where they logged-in from. Over 80% issues were proactively identified and monitored further enhancing end-user experience.
  • Enhanced Application Availability: Continuously improved from 71.6% prior to desktop virtualization to above 99.98% at the end of the second year of operations.
  • Reduced Incident-to-User Ratio: Dropped by 27% from 0.22 to 0.16 even while the number of sites increased. Peak-time and non-peak-time incidents dropped by 31% and 19% respectively.
  • Change Management: Over 250 changes have been handled seamlessly in a span of two years with 15% increase in incidents managed proactively. Today all changes are managed through central provisioning services and are completed within stipulated deadline with easy roll back option, if needed.
  • Centralized Image Management: Centralized golden image management enabled IT to provide all users with function-specific desktop/profile which was not feasible earlier.
  • Significant Cost Reduction: Desktop Virtualization eliminates the need for hardware refresh reducing upfront Capex significantly. Centralized architecture & profile management resulted in an overall reduction in support costs in addition to 70% reduction in power consumption.

Testimonial:

“Anunta convinced us that desktop virtualization would work for a newspaper business with its many designing and creative applications and its constant roll-out of changes. Their expert solutioning and management has given us an EUC solution that meets today’s user needs.”
– CTO

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