What is our primary use case?
The Microsoft Systems Center solution is basically to make sure that we provide remote support, and remote configuration and deployment, for software updates as well as any support that is needed remotely. We have more than 100 sites across the city of Harare. We are able to meet and support and make sure that we attend to users by request for support remotely right from our head office. We also use this for our backups. We use the Data Processing Manager, the DPM. We have an automated system whereby we, through our backups, our environment, are automatically updating. We also have a service desk that basically receives all incidents from users. We use it for configuration management and change management as well.
What is most valuable?
When you look at it from a user perspective, you will find that our users are quite happy with submitting their incident report, or their incident issues. That functionality provided is very convenient for our users. They are able then to get a response from our help desk. Their issues are resolved speedily.
The ability to provide remote support is something that is very important for us. It also cuts down on support time.
It cuts down the cost of support overall, saving the company money.
We don't need as many support staff, and they do not need to travel to the actual location of offices, which saves time.
Everything, from patches to deployments, can be done remotely.
What needs improvement?
A lot of improvement can be done in terms of its functionality. We are receiving an incident as well as a generic user ticket. This could be enhanced.
The DPM, Data Processing Manager is something that could also be enhanced in terms of how the apps are done and installed.
The way the backups can be done could be easier.
Sometimes the updates don't work as they should. There needs to be a way to test their efficacy.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using the solution for just about four years now.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution is very stable, however, in terms of pushing updates, you find that the updates are that produced by Microsoft are not fully tested. Sometimes those updates, once you push them automatically, you have issues with your environment.
There needs to be a sandbox or something where you can fully test the update before sending it into a live environment so you know it's going to work properly.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have about 2,000 users on the solution currently.
How are customer service and technical support?
The support from Microsoft has been very good. We have found that Microsoft support staff are always available to assist many of our people. For remote assistance, they seem to optimize their services to ensure that they transfer skills to our technical staff. We're satisfied with the support they provide.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup took us a bit of time and we had to get support from Microsoft's office. We have a Microsoft support agreement which made the implementation itself not too complicated, however, we weren't without help. We figured out how to do things through Microsoft.
The entire deployment took about 30 or so days.
What about the implementation team?
Microsoft directly assisted us with the product.
What was our ROI?
The ROI is good. Most operations that are running within System Center do alternate in the number of processes. Basically, it cuts down on the costs in terms of time and personnel. Most of the support is done remotely. That's cut down in terms of transport and in terms of fuel. The downtime is also minimal as we are able to attend to all faults that are reported.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
We have an enterprise license, which is basically a three-year license. We pay on annual basis, however, it's a 3-year license. The initial payment paid for training and support as well as anything else we needed.
What other advice do I have?
We are customers and end-users.
We are running on the 2016 version of the solution.
The System Center is a comprehensive solution that can help support the organization. It's easy. It's a product that can give you a good ROI while being stable to make sure that your environment is secure in terms of the DPM. It makes it much, much easier so you can deploy objects within very large environments. It's a great product for large organizations.
I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?