MAKEMUSIC – SERVICE DESK
AND ENDPOINT MANAGEMENT
Keeping IT In Tune: Virteva’s End User Support Mutes Mac, PC and Mobile Distractions
MakeMusic, Inc. is a world leader in music technology. It’s mission: to develop and market solutions that transform how music is composed, taught, learned and performed. The company’s products include the world’s best-selling music notation software, Finale®, which allows composers and others to create, edit, print and publish musical scores, and its SmartMusic® education software, which lets students practice thousands of band, orchestra and vocal pieces and get immediate feedback on their performance.
MakeMusic develops and supports its software on PCs, Macs and mobile platforms. As a result, its employees require an ensemble of machines and operating systems to do their jobs effectively. It’s a complex environment, and keeping it all in tune can be a challenge.
MakeMusic has very sophisticated support needs and its employees need to remain focused on delivering innovative software features. These employees often have two or three monitors and an assortment of mobile devices as part of their work environment. The company also maintains several older versions of operating systems so that it can make sure its software works properly for all of its customers. All together, this is one of the most complex operating environments to support for end user computing.
The complexity was outgrowing the company’s in-house capabilities and it was becoming a distraction for non-IT employees, who were fielding troubleshooting questions that were beyond the scope of their primary job responsibilities. “A single problem could encompass four or five people at a time,” said Paul Carlson, MakeMusic’s chief technology officer. Productivity was suffering and the source of the problem had to be addressed.
As a managed IT service provider, Virteva was hired to run the end user computing environment including all desktops, networks and mobile devices. The change to Virteva both eliminated distractions and enhanced the service to end users.
“Virteva brings to us a lot of capabilities that we would have a hard time staffing,” Carlson said. In particular, the company now has expert support for both PC and Mac, which had been a challenge to maintain in-house and was a key differentiating factor in choosing Virteva over other IT service companies.
When Carlson joined MakeMusic in August 2011, he hired Virteva to help assess the company’s existing IT infrastructure. Virteva was then contracted to replace an aging wireless network with one that is powerful and more reliable.
Virteva has helped standardize the set-up and configuration of new computers, something that was put into practice more than 30 times within the first few months of service. Besides installing software and drivers on new machines, Virteva also prepares the old hardware to be redeployed elsewhere in the company.
When problems arise, from forgotten passwords to network connection issues, MakeMusic employees have access to a support hotline during all business hours. (Virteva also offers 24/7 support, which MakeMusic doesn’t require.) When problems can’t be solved over the phone, Virteva dispatches technicians on site.
Proximity was an important reason why MakeMusic chose to partner with Virteva. Other factors included price (the service is paying for itself though cost-savings) and Virteva’s existing client base, which demonstrated that Virteva is an established company that’s trusted by many well-known organizations of all sizes. MakeMusic is also working with Virteva to transition from a premise-based Microsoft Exchange solution to Office365, and to evaluate whether to expand or replace its backup infrastructure, or to move it into the cloud.
The presence of Virteva has started to change an office culture in which employees sometimes hesitated to bring problems to central IT before their problem became a drain on productivity. Virteva’s phone number is now posted on fliers and magnets throughout the office, giving staff an easy one-stop for computer questions. The user base now thinks more highly of central IT due to Virteva’s presence.
After MakeMusic employees learned how to use Virteva’s help desk service at a series of lunch-and-learns, a spike in calls was observed, likely reflecting some pent up demand. “One employee’s computer had been taking 10 minutes to load Outlook for the previous four to five weeks. This issue was immediately resolved,” said Tim FitzPatrick, IT Business Systems Manager.
Meanwhile, those who weren’t shy about asking for help are no longer interrupting their coworkers who’s time could be better spent on other projects. “Instead of focusing our resources on supporting our internal employees, we’re able to redeploy those resources to support our customers,” said Carlson.
MakeMusic now looks forward to a having a “nicely tuned” desktop environment that will help the company hit the right notes in the months and years ahead. “It’s been a very positive and painless transition,” Carlson said.