Endpoint Management ROI: One Tivoli Solution Pays Many Dividends

Tivoli Beat. A weekly IBM service management perspective.

One of the great strengths of IBM Endpoint Manager is its sheer versatility.

Because it can accomplish so much, so quickly, and in such a centralized fashion, organizations are leveraging it in more and more ways. And that in turn means it’s generating more and more business value for them over time.

In large part, this comes thanks to Endpoint Manager’s elegant architecture—a single intelligent agent deployed on all endpoints, and a server that supports up to a quarter million of them. This design provides an exceptionally efficient and powerful mechanism for carrying out a wide variety of different tasks.

Examples include:

Furthermore, because Endpoint Manager tasks are largely automated, tasks finish faster and require little/no oversight—no matter how many endpoints are involved. That means far fewer IT team members are required. It also generates a better experience for endpoint users, who are less likely to experience technical problems they’d otherwise report to IT.

The bottom line: Endpoints are more up-to-date, generate lower costs and risks, and contribute more to everything the business is trying to use them to accomplish.

Faster patch management and improved compliance rates

Keeping a huge army of endpoints properly updated with the latest patches is a major challenge at many organizations. Patch installation takes so long, and new patches are so continually issued by vendors, that an uncomfortably high percentage of endpoints aren’t properly patched at any given point in time. This in turn opens the door to all sorts of potential problems, ranging from application/OS instability to inconsistent feature sets to diminished performance.

"As the number of endpoints scales up, so does the logistical difficulty of securing all of them against a potential breach. Add to that the fact that malware continues to become more sophisticated and complex, and you see why IT managers are increasingly struggling with endpoint security."

Organizations that have deployed Endpoint Manager, though, often find that patch management worries become a thing of the past—and the percentage of endpoints that fully comply with organizational goals skyrockets.

This was the case for SunTrust Banks (PDF, 245KB), which operates almost 1,800 retail branches and more than 2,500 ATMs—a remarkably distributed infrastructure.

Said Ed Jones, senior information planning engineer at SunTrust: “A patch or an update used to take two to three weeks to execute. We now average two to three days to update over 50,000 computers on our network.” As a result, patch efficiency has climbed to more than 98%.

An even more impressive outcome was realized by the Chichester School District (PDF, 194KB), which uses Endpoint Manager’s exhaustive insight into endpoint configurations to achieve a first-pass success rate of 99 percent for new patches.

“In terms of accurate asset inventory and configuration information,” said Tim McGrath, senior network administrator, “this solution blows every other tool out of the water.”

Decreased security incidents and malware infections

Security is another common endpoint concern. As the number of endpoints scales up, so does the logistical difficulty of securing all of them against a potential breach. Add to that the fact that malware continues to become more sophisticated and complex, and you see why IT managers are increasingly struggling with endpoint security.

At Concord Hospital (PDF, 209KB), that struggle has become much easier to manage. Since deploying Endpoint Manager, the total number of malware infections has fallen to zero, and patch compliance has escalated from 60% to 93%. And for an organization chartered with HIPAA compliance—the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which includes security and data integrity requirements—that’s a dramatic win.

IBM (PDF, 137KB), too, has recently enjoyed the security benefits delivered by Endpoint Manager. Following two very successful pilot programs, IBM rolled out Endpoint Manager to more than half a million endpoints worldwide—the largest and fastest internal client deployment in IBM’s history.

The outcome? Said David Merrill, IBM security strategist: “We have realized a 78% decrease in endpoint security problems in the first quarter of global use. This should drive savings well above our initial $10 million estimate—and I believe that we’ll see the savings increase as we complete the deployment to all 750,000 endpoints.”

Increased IT/worker productivity—and decreased help desk duties and support costs

Every year, IT is asked to do more, yet IT budgets typically remain flat or fall. This means that IT must continually find new ways to become more efficient and cost-effective.

Consider the case of Western Federal Credit Union (PDF, 219KB), a leading credit union with 32 branches in nine states across four time zones—and an IT team of three. This organization has found that Endpoint Manager’s self-governing architecture significantly reduces both IT oversight and IT operating costs.

“There’s no need to scan your endpoints because changes constantly trickle into the console. Essentially, the machines report on themselves,” said Nate Howe, vice president of Risk Management. “When we make a change to a machine, the console is accurate within a matter of minutes.” And Western Federal Credit Union’s labor cost of managing endpoints has, as a result, fallen an estimated 50 percent.

Tax Tech, Inc. (PDF, 188KB), has realized similar gains via Endpoint Manager. Instead of 20 IT team members needed to oversee software updates and patch provisioning, this organization now needs only one. And because endpoints are so rapidly brought up to target specifications, they perform better—reducing the daily volume of support calls from as many as 100 down to fewer than 20.

Going green without creating a business impact

Endpoints continually burn energy, yet their business utilization is typically well under five percent. Meanwhile, energy itself is becoming more expensive. This situation practically demands an energy optimization strategy to drive down energy costs, and at the same time to preserve worker productivity and support business strategies.

Such was the situation faced by Penn State University (PDF, 215KB) recently. Due to a sudden lift in electric rate caps, energy costs had skyrocketed, making energy optimization a mandate—not merely a goal. Fortunately, via Endpoint Manager, Penn State was able to devise and implement a scheme in which unused computer displays, and then the computers themselves, were put automatically to sleep.

This scheme has led to considerable cost reductions—a whopping $288,000 per year—with even more to be realized in the near term. “We expect to see almost $800,000 in annual savings, once all of our approximately 20,000 workstations are under Endpoint Manager and similar power management settings are applied,” said Matt Boyd, service manager for IBM Endpoint Manager at Penn State.

The story at Fiberlink (PDF, 590KB)—an innovator in voice, data, and IP networking solutions—is similar. This organization has leveraged Endpoint Manager as part of a device management platform called MaaS360, which is used by many Fiberlink clients.

Partly because Endpoint Manager is so easy and fast to deploy, Fiberlink has become significantly more agile in the marketplace—delivering six new solutions in just 18 months.

And the energy cost savings for Fiberlink’s customers are similarly impressive. At one government agency alone, those savings come to almost half a million dollars per year.

Says Chuck Brown, Director of Product Management at Fiberlink: “The CIO can now track for each building how much is being spent and how much is being saved, and we expect that they'll save in the mid-six figures.”

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