The Salvation Army – an international charitable organisation at work across 130 countries – has deployed Citrix technology to increase flexibility for its officers and employees, allowing them to focus even more of their time on helping people.
The organisation’s UK and Ireland territory has more than 600 community churches that support people and families who struggle financially, face loneliness or need employment advice. Its “Lifehouses” are located across the country and provide more than 3,000 places every night for people experiencing homelessness. With a small 30-member IT team responsible for supporting 5,500 officers (The Salvation Army’s ministers of religion) and employees in the region, tech reliability is key to minimising the number of support incidents and enabling teams to keep offering practical support to those in need. Yet the charity’s previous PC-based network was both restricting flexibility and expensive to maintain and update.
To boost flexibility so officers and staff could help more people more quickly, The Salvation Army experimented with various models of centralised desktop services. Eventually, the charity selected Citrix Virtual Desktops to reduce desktop cost of ownership and increase flexibility for its workers.
Key benefits of the project include:
·Better performance at lower cost: Within The Salvation Army’s UK and Republic of Ireland premises, staff now use Dell Wyse thin-client terminals to access a virtual Windows desktop with all their apps and information. When out of the office, people can access the same desktop from any device. Unlike PCs, thin clients do not need regular desk-side maintenance and do not need to be refreshed every couple of years. As a result, the organisation has lowered total cost of ownership while improving tech performance.
·Simpler desktop management: When Windows XP reached end of life, The Salvation Army was able to switch all users to Windows 7 overnight. This simpler desktop management is a key benefit for the small IT team, enabling more of their time to be focused on supporting officers and staff to carry out their charitable works.
·Reliable performance: Citrix Virtual Desktops offer a clean desktop every day with consistent logon times. The Salvation Army’s IT team found that logon times with PCs could range from a couple of minutes to 10 minutes but with Citrix technology, this has been reduced to just under 60 seconds every time.
·Secure working for visits to services or people needing support: The Salvation Army’s officers and employees are devoted to helping others wherever required – whether providing comfort at disaster sites, helping people who are homeless or supporting older people in their homes. Wherever it’s required, the charity prides itself on being a “connected Army”. Now anyone with an authorised user account and a device using the Citrix Workspace App can connect securely to their desktop apps and information. The ability to connect remotely and securely ensures staff do not need to retype handwritten notes later. By keeping data on the central servers, the charity is reducing both paper and the risk of data leakage. Citrix technology allows staff to help people more quickly and securely by enabling them to work more flexibly.