Irish Life & Permanent upgrade lowers IT support

29 Aug 2006

Irish Life & Permanent said it has seen IT helpdesk support calls drop by 60pc following a recent IT upgrade.

The financial services provider deployed Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 as part of a wider IT upgrade that involved moving from Windows NT to Windows 2003.

According to Michelle Roche, project manager with Irish Life & Permanent, IT support calls were down by a massive 60pc between September 2005 and June of this year. Printing issues in particular have been positively affected, she said. The nature of the calls has also changed, Roche added. “We’d have more user requests than calls about performance issues.”

Presentation Server 4.0 is a virtualisation product that provides users with secure access to client/server applications from over any connection using any device or connection. The Citrix upgrade has also allowed IT staff at Irish Life & Permanent to deploy and manage lines of business applications from a central point while providing secure, on-demand access to these resources.

Irish Life & Permanent also installed Citrix Access Gateway solutions, running on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 platform using HP Blades servers, in order to move to a centralised application deployment model. This has lower costs for IT administrators and allows remote office connectivity for Irish Life & Permanent’s branch network around the country.

All 2,500 users in the company were set up, although not all of them use the Citrix tool at the same time and as such the company did not need to buy 2,500 concurrent licences. This element of the project cost in the region of €140,000 and it was delivered on time, Roche said.

Chris O’Toole, Citrix sales manager, pointed out that there are a number of other benefits to be had as a result of upgrading from MetaFrame 1.8, which was the previous system in place at Irish Life & Permanent. These benefits include an increase in the number of users per server CPU. “It gives better use of physical hardware resources,” said O’Toole.

The company also now has put in place a test environment where it can run new applications before rolling them out to the entire user base, something it did not have before.

IT Force, a Citrix silver partner, was involved during the analysis and design phase of the project and conducted a gap analysis ahead of deploying the new Citrix solution. Joe O’Reilly, director with IT Force, pointed out that Irish Life & Permanent was prepared to use some of its budget on mapping out the project in advance: “They were prepared to spend so much money on the planning and strategy; a lot of corporates are reluctant to do that,” he said.

By Gordon Smith