JTL is a leading work-based learning provider in the UK. They have a small IT department that manages over 1000 computers used by employees and students at their training centers. JTL struggled to keep the computers running smoothly. They were unable to forecast issues and found themselves stuck in reactive mode.
Fortunately, they’ve been able to turn things around with Applixure. With valuable information about the state of the devices, JTL’s IT team can provide a better end-user experience – while saving both time and money.
Small IT team frustrated and stuck in reactive mode
JTL is a UK charity providing apprenticeships, traineeships, and professional development in the electro, technical, and mechanical engineering sectors. JTL’s Head of Technology and Security, Lee Walker, has been with the company for 22 years. He leads JTLs IT team of 13. Six of these are support staff who manage the laptops of JTL’s 450 employees as well as all the laptops located in training centers. In total, approximately 1000 devices.
JTL’s IT team was struggling to keep the computers running smoothly. They did not have a way of monitoring the computers in order to spot issues before they became problems. Lee explains:
“We didn't really have a way of monitoring the devices, so we were a very reactive department. People would come to us after a problem had happened. We had no way of forecasting any particular issues that may happen. We had no live status updates or anything like that. That was why we were looking for a way of being able to monitor devices and see their statuses and try and resolve any issues before they happen.”
Working in this kind of reactive mode was really frustrating for Lee and his team who wanted everything to work smoothly for both employees and students.
“You feel that you’ve let the user down because you were not able to prevent issues that were going to happen.”
And when issues arose, finding the root cause was difficult. This led to them frequently having the laptop sent to the IT department to be wiped and re-installed – not a very efficient way of working.
“It’s been a real eye-opener. It’s provided me with more information on our devices than we’ve ever had before.”
Choosing the right tool
JTL has grown a lot during the last couple of years, which created a need for more efficient ways to monitor software remotely and prevent technical issues. The company explored various different solutions available on the market:
“We looked at different solutions to see what would be best fit and most cost effective. And with us being a charity, we need to make sure that we've gone out and evaluated different software and services and make sure that we're getting value for money.”
In addition to cost effectiveness, there were many things that set Applixure apart from other solutions. Lee explains what appealed to him about Applixure:
“The effortlessness and convenience of being able to identify issues, clear and understandable results, and the easy-to-use software made us feel that Applixure is a step above the other solutions."
The free trial revealed impactful, easy-to-fix issues
Lee and his team got a lot of value out of the free trial of Applixure Analytics. It provided them with a whole new level of visibility into their computer environment. They particularly liked the easy-to-read dashboards and performance scores for each computer and for the environment as a whole:
“What stood out about Applixure was the ease of being able to identify issues. The dashboard highlights the machines with issues. It gave us the breakdown of the machines and their performance scores and our performance score for the whole estate. So, we could see why a machine is underperforming. It could be due to incorrect settings or the health of the device.
And everything just looked really nice as well. It wasn't just a lot of numbers. It was very easy to understand. So things like that really made us think this is a step above other solutions.”
“It has definitely saved time and money now that we can sort out issues remotely and proactively.”
Easier to dig into root causes
Digging into why a computer’s performance score was low is made easier thanks to Analytics’ Rewind to History feature which allows you to see a computer’s whole history for up to 1 year back:
"We could have a look through the computer’s history and see if something had been installed that brought the performance score down."
Shifting from reactive to proactive way-of-working
With the information provided by Applixure, JTL’s IT department has been able to shift to a proactive way of working. Applixure identifies easy-to-fix issues which have a significant impact on the end-user experience. Lee explains:
“Straight away I was able to see these are easy fixes, these are things that we can do right away. And the user doesn't even know. They may not even know that this is a potential problem. And to see that we had a number of devices that required a battery replacement, it was just straight away, this is how we can show that our department is now proactive. We can now resolve these issues before the user would suffer from the battery dying. So, now, rather than being a reactive department, we can be a proactive one.”
“The moment I saw all the information it gave, such as battery life and disk space, I realised that these were easy fixes. We could fix problems before they got so bad that the user would suffer the consequences.”
Applixure saves both time and money
Applixure has allowed JTL to resolve issues that were not being resolved previously. Before using Applixure, if the IT department could not figure out what was wrong with a device, they would replace the machine and wipe and reinstall it, creating lots of extra work for the department. Now, they have the needed information to fix problems before they affect the user experience.
With Applixure, JTL can resolve problems remotely, quickly, and with ease, instead of having to send laptops from training centers to the IT department and back. As Lee summarizes:
“It has definitely saved time and money now that we can sort out issues remotely and proactively.”
JTL is also using Workflow, an easy-to-use add-on that pulls data from Analytics and turns it into tasks that can be assigned to members of the IT team. The tickets include the list of devices which are affected by the issue so that agents, know which computers need their help. Lee explains:
“We regularly monitor the Analytics dashboard, but we've linked it with Workflow, which enables you to set up alerts. So, we have alerts for things like battery life, disk space usage. Also, if a particular security feature in Windows hasn't been enabled, bit locker, we have notifications come through and that will automatically create a ticket in our help desk system. Then, the agents can pick that up and reach out to the users and resolve those issues.
“We use Analytics for more in-depth analysis, but using Workflow gives us automated notifications for pre-defined issues we want to be sure to take care of."
Pros and cons
The use of Applixure has, of course, increased the amount of work his team has in the short-term since they can now see all of the things that need fixing. However, long-term, doing this proactive fixing will decrease the amount of work they will have since the issues won’t evolve into real problems.
The team is looking forward to doing less firefighting. Despite the slight increase in workload in the short-term, JTL has no regrets.
“It's a service that we've not got any regrets in getting. It's definitely going to help the team and the business as a whole.”
Advice for others
All in all, Lee and his team have had very positive experiences with Applixure. He describes it as a simple tool that’s easy to use and is guaranteed to give you some ‘aha’ moments. Being able to proactively identify issues on computers and solve them before they lead to bigger issues has changed the way the entire IT department operates.
Lee wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Applixure to others and describes his experience as extremely positive:
“Applixure has been great. It's been an eye-opener. Applixure provides more information on our devices than we've ever really had before."
Head of Technology & Security, JTL
About JTL: Established over 30 years ago by the Electrical Contractors’ Association and Unite the Union, JTL is a charity organisation offering apprenticeships, traineeships, assessment services and professional development training across the electro-technical and mechanical engineering services sectors. We currently work with 8,000 learners and 3,800 employers across England and Wales in more than 100 locations, including dedicated JTL training facilities in Telford, Hull, Eastbourne, Worthing, Norwich, Carlisle, York, Barnsley, Nottingham, Birmingham, Oxford, Orpington, Maidstone and Ashford. The JTL Group is made up of three separate organisations which are JTL, Develop Training and CompEx.
Applixure is a B2B SaaS solution that provides IT with always up-to-date visibility of how computers and software are serving employees. It pulls the relevant data into intuitive dashboards and clearly indicates high-impact yet easy-to-fix issues - enabling your IT to be more proactive. Set-up is quick, so you can start reaping the benefits almost overnight. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Finland, Applixure is trusted by over 1000 companies and managed service providers (MSPs). Give your IT the visibility it needs to improve your digital employee experience with Applixure.
Schedule a complimentary DEX Assessment
See what Applixure Analytics reveals about the state of your computer & software environment. Schedule a free DEX Assessment with one of our DEX Improvement Masters.
The Assessment requires about 3 hours of your time spread out over 3 weeks:
- Kick-off meeting (45 mins): deploy Applixure agents - data collection begins immediately
- Review preliminary results (1hr): 1-2 weeks after kick-off, share & discuss preliminary findings
- Final results (1hr): 1-2 weeks after preliminary review, go through the final results & recommendations.
👇Fill out the form to get started! 👇
What IT leaders have said about their assessments:
"After it had been running a few days, we could already see useful data: 'Look Otto, your computer is out of memory' and 'look Antti, your warranty ran out two years ago.'"
- Tommi Saarela, Senior IT Manager, Moonhill
"It's been an eye-opener. Applixure provides more information on our devices than we've ever really had before.'"
- Lee Walker, Head of Technology & Security, JTL.