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04:39 PM
Lori Widmer
Lori Widmer
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Remotely Speaking

Penn National Insurance enables remote software distribution and support for off-site users with LANDesk Management Suite.

When Tres Inscore arrived three years ago at Penn National Insurance (Harrisburg, Pa.) as the IT manager for FTP and desktop support, he found a challenge waiting for him. To enable Penn National's on-site IT staff to service remote desktops without traveling to them, Inscore's predecessor had begun to install South Jordan, Utah-based LANDesk's Management Suite. But the installation was never completed.

The need for the LANDesk solution was spurred by the fact that Penn National's IT department consists of six employees, each with a specific function. In the past, the staff was required to travel to remote users to implement software and offer on-site support. As a result, the company would be minus one specific set of expertise and incur travel expenses every time remote support was needed.

"We needed to stay closer to our desks," says Inscore. Accordingly, Penn National had purchased the LANDesk solution to remotely service its 93 off-site users, including the capability to install software applications and gain remote control of users' desktops.

Before he rolled out the solution companywide, however, Inscore wanted to evaluate the product so he could leverage its capabilities better. Inscore and his team spent a year examining LANDesk, but once he fully understood the solution's functionality, he quickly put it to work. Within two months of completing the year-long product analysis, Inscore had deployed the LANDesk Management Suite enterprisewide.

Amazingly, he relates, no platform changes were required. The application suite was compatible with the company's Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) SQL database. And, as Penn National migrated and upgraded to a Windows 2000 server using a 2000 SQL database, LANDesk's software was moved without problems. "It's a very flexible product," Inscore comments.

While it hasn't reduced staffing, the LANDesk solution has cut significantly the amount of time it takes to install new applications and operating systems companywide. For example, when the company upgraded from Windows 95, the process took seven years, he relates. With LANDesk in place, "I foresee only six months needed to migrate to new platforms" in the future, he says, adding that most application distributions with LANDesk take as little as five minutes and rarely more than a day.

In addition, the solution has reduced both the number and duration of help desk calls, according to Inscore. LANDesk enables the IT department to create an image of a user's desktop. This allows IT staff to install software and updates from their own desks - all in a way that is transparent to users. And the ability to see a user's desktop offers technicians a better understanding of the problem, saving time by eliminating the need for users to provide an explanation.

While he wasn't involved in the decision to purchase the software, Inscore says he couldn't be more pleased with the results. His expectations, he says, have been exceeded. And, he adds, the best part is that new uses for the product are discovered almost daily.

According to Inscore, Penn National currently is exploring implementing LANDesk's Security Suite, though the insurer has not determined a time line. Still, he expects a flawless execution, given the success of the Management Suite implementation.




Penn National Insurance (Harrisburg, Pa.; $1.3 million in assets).

Lines Of Business

Property and casualty.


LANDesk's (South Jordan, Utah) Management Suite, a hardware and software management IT application.


Remotely distribute and service software for off-site users.

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