Remote Control

Illinois school district achieves remote administration of IT systems

FEATURE | by Nick Guidish

A large, geographically-dispersed school district, Jacksonville School District 117 (“Jacksonville”) in Jacksonville, Illinois is spread throughout nine locations: a high school, junior high, six elementary schools, and an administration building. The district’s IT department works from a central location and is responsible for supporting users in all buildings. When end users in any location need support, Jacksonville’s IT department requires a quick and simple way to provide effective resolutions for them in real time.

Sizing Up the Real Time Challenge

Due to the size of the district and the fact that Jacksonville’s IT admins had to conduct in-person visits to troubleshoot problems, the IT staff was challenged to respond to requests in a reasonable timeframe. With schools as far as 13 miles from their office, the IT department spent a significant amount of time commuting that they could have used to solve IT problems from a central location.

Working on a typical tight budget, Jacksonville’s IT department originally used the built-in Windows® XP remote systems access to manage its network. However, they found that when setting up the system without user interaction it was complicated and unreliable. Additionally, they elected not to utilize Windows Remote Desktop Protocol because it would blank out the end user.

New Software Equals New Solutions

Enter DameWare Mini Remote Control (MRC). After researching the administration tool on WindowsNetworking.com and finding it to be a reader favorite, Jacksonville’s IT department downloaded a trial version. During the trial they found that it had the features they needed to simplify the management of the school district’s IT systems.

Once implemented, the IT department was impressed with the clean interface and usability. In fact, the entire department now relies on DameWare daily for remote desktop support – including the department secretary.

They use it for anything that doesn’t require an onsite presence. With wide dispersion of schools in Jacksonville, MRC saves the IT department time and mileage costs while also easing frustration for the end user who is no longer stuck waiting with a non-working machine.

Remote Monitoring Begins, Productivity Soars

DameWare MRC has proven itself as the right choice for Jacksonville and has changed the way the department operates. Since implementation, they react remotely first rather than traveling to the problem site, allowing them to answer urgent calls and help end users right away.

The time and energy savings have increased Jacksonville IT department’s productivity as a whole. Instead of spending an hour or more traveling to fix problems on-site, IT admins are able to put that hour back in their days.

Additionally, the district has seen time and money savings since implementation — not just through lowered software costs, but also through the savings reaped from decreased travel expenses.

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Nick Guidish is the Network Administrator for Jacksonville (Illinois) School District 117. Write to: nguidish@jsd117.org

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