Veenendaal is a comfortable place to live and work. The city has around 65,000 inhabitants. It is a city built on enterprise and has the largest business network in the country, a history of wool and cigars, and a future filled with ICT and technology. Veenendaal wants to become one of the top 3 ICT service providers of Dutch municipalities.
Since 2017, the municipality of Veenendaal and the surrounding municipalities of Rhenen, Scherpenzeel, Renswoude and later Woudenberg and the shared Sportservice together form a shared service center The initial goal was to set up one standard desktop as a base for all collaborating municipalities. On top of this, they wanted to offer additional layered functionality.
The municipalities of Scherpenzeel and Woudenberg were using RES Workspace and a number of other municipalities were using Novell Open Workgroup Suite (NOWS) with ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM).
The shared service center investigated whether there was a package similar to ZCM already on the market. The focus was on the user experience, namely easy access to or rollout of software by clicking on icons. These ‘smart icons’ start an action, depending on who is using the icon and where they are. For example, if an end user is not at the office, a VDI is automatically started. If they are offline, Microsoft Excel is started locally. The end user will not notice this change, because the application will be working the way it usually does.
Another extremely important point was the way in which applications are distributed. Liquit proved to be the best solution in both cases. The shared service center now controls the underlying communication between the municipalities. Liquit Workspace and Liquit Release & Patch Management are now used as the overarching management environment of the five Liquit working environments that are operated by the municipalities.
When the central environment was built in 2018, the municipality of Scherpenzeel was the first to be added, without a transition period. Additionally, the municipality has received its own Liquit environment, which involves a new way of working. Scherpenzeel worked with RES Workspace and did not have any experience with the smart Liquit icons. Due to working with ZCM, the other municipalities were already used to this way of working. The municipality of Woudenberg transitioned in phases at the same time as Rhenen. In 2019, it was the turn of Renswoude, and this year, the municipality of Veenendaal will be connected to the shared environment.
This effectively means that employees of the connected municipalities are able to access the programs available in their Liquit environment by simply clicking on smart icons. This way, Liquit Workspace is providing the direct rollout of the available software as well as access to it. Patrick Jansen, system manager of the Municipality of Veenendaal, explains: ‘This saves a lot of time! Not just for the employee, who doesn’t need to request and install a software package themselves, but also for the management organisation, because everything can be controlled from a central point.”
Every municipality has its own Liquit environment under the central Liquit management environment. In total, there are five different Liquit environments within the shared service center, all linked using connectors in the same overarching management environment. Packages are created from this environment and distributed per municipality using credentials. The municipalities receive a smart icon which they can click on and which executes the rollout.
Liquit Workspace and Liquit Release & Patch Management have already been implemented across the entire organisation. While Liquit Workspace provides a clear, recognisable look and feel for the employees of the municipalities, with icons and an options menu on every device, the introduction of Liquit Release & Patch Management helps the IT team to configure, use and patch the applications, which saves a considerable amount of time.
Jansen explains: “We use Liquit for our internal service provision. More than 700 out of the 1200 users now make use of Liquit. The municipalities are connected, but all have their own Liquit environment and maintain their own identity and freedom of choice. They do, however, benefit from the central management environment. For example, Windows 7 was still being used. By carrying out the migration to Windows 10 from Liquit, a clean Windows 10 environment was built from Liquit, using the same method within the collaborating municipalities. For us, the most important principle was to collaborate as fully as possible, but to easily be able to work independently as well. With this solution, Liquit was able to give us exactly what we were looking for.”