Background & Challenges
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.
The successful implementation of desktop virtualization solution for an initial group of 500 users by Anunta, enabled the media house to quickly take a decision in rolling out the solution to all its 1500+ geographically spread users across 14 cities in India. 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.
- Usage of Heavy Applications: As 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 News Wrap for page composing and formatting.
- Integration: IT teams were unsure whether their legacy peripherals would operate seamlessly in the new environment.
- Business Impact: There was zero tolerance to any downtime or business interruption as missing deadlines would result in newspaper prints not hitting the stands causing loss of revenue.
- 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 were not 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.
What Anunta Did
Staring with 500 users initially, 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. This involved designing solution for mainly two distinct set of user groups that included, Corporate and Support functions such as Finance, Accounts, Human Resources and Admin Departments whose requirement for applications were overlapping and compatible to run on a server operating system. The other set of user groups included editors, page makers, photographers who had requirement for common applications that would run on desktop operating systems.
The success of phase I of the deployment led to drastically reduced IT Infrastructure outage providing end users seamless access to their desktops. Basis this, desktop virtualization was rolled out across the group’s existing and new upcoming sites. This involved adding new user groups that include, segmentation of support functions based on their application usability requirement. This meant making available business applications such Adobe, CorelDraw, Open Office, Microsoft office suite per the need of the specific user groups. Anunta created multiple different user profiles and golden images to cater to over additional 500 users across 10 locations using combinations of virtualization technologies. Anunta identified application, compute and storage requirement for each user profile and provided them with only those applications necessary for their profiles.
Anunta further onboarded the remaining 700 users based on the success of phase I. These user profiles were segregated based on their application requirement. These users included, designers, support functions, editors, page makers, and business development. Providing these varied users with consistent and uninterrupted access to the applications in a virtualized environment was extremely complex and required an application architecture design that addresses the needs of specific user groups.
Additionally, Anunta managed the new IT environment for 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.
- 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.