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Call center computer systems

In my former life, I supported dozens of workstations for dozens of users in an environment that needed to use 1, maybe 2 applications. Towards the end of my time in being involved in this role, I designed and proposed a system to resolve many of the problems that we were experiencing with IT support, users spending company hours running and playing with things they weren’t supposed to, upgrading software that caused conflicts with applications that were required to perform their job, and over-sharing of workstations because of the cost of maintaining said workstations. The company continues to grow and the IT department continues to get backlogged while trying to maintain these workstations.

Here is my advice for these organizations: After over a decade in the industry, I have learned a thing or two about what does and doesn’t work. What Doesn’t Work – Buying more than a dozen workstations at $1k or more a piece for users that need to run Outlook, Internet Explorer or Firefox, and possibly Word or Excel. What Does Work – Buying Wyse S10 thin clients and connecting them to a couple $2500 powerhouse quad core servers that run VMWare VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).

Make your IT staff happy. They will be able to roll out software upgrades faster and easier. They wont have to rebuild workstations when hardware breaks. Add Microsoft Softgrid (releasing in 2008) and virtualize the users applications also, then your IT staff can automagically roll out updates and prevent users from upgrading/breaking their software.

Make your users happy. They will not have to remember if they backed up their documents before the 2nd shift user broke the computer. They will not have to remember to lock their workstations at lunch so your unscrupulous techie prankster (me) will play cruel and unsual pranks on them. (although, you always have to watch out for the BOFH.) They won’t have to clutter their miniscule cubicles with a workstation that takes up half their legroom and makes cords tangle around their feet, (the Wyse clients can mount on the back of an LCD monitor.) They will be able to work from anywhere with a decent Internet connection, like when they are sick and in bed. (okay, so maybe this wouldn’t make them happy.)

The point of this whole story, is that if you have to gear up more than about a dozen workstations and maintain the types and versions of software and make sure it all runs decent on all the hardware in your office, their is cheaper and less painful ways than buying each user a workstation. Call me or email me if you want to check my availability to design a system like this for you.


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