General SCCM related questions

loss4wordsloss4words Member Posts: 165 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hello everyone!

I think I might have a weird question :) At my current (new) position I feel our IT department's practices are a bit outdated and managers kind of stick to what they know, and although I'm not a manager I believe I have enough leverage to suggest new things/try new software and try to convince them to move the department in a new direction. I think setting up a lab/suggesting SCCM will be a step in the right direction, but what do you guys think?

The IT department is a big one and supports more than 1000 users. There are helpdesk folks who answer the phones and create tickets, desktop support (my department) who configure images and go out on calls, and a large number systems, database and network and other administrators. There's a MS AD domain but it baffles me because although all computers are joined to domain, end users are logging in with local accounts. The current process of re-imaging a PC is to go with an external drive, backup contents of user's profile, image and put user's files back in place. Software installations and other changes and setups are often manual. Although it works, it just seems so outdated to me, maybe because I come from a different background, granted my previous employer was much smaller and didn't support half as many users.

Would I be stirring the pan (so to speak) too much if I suggest SCCM? Imaging process using SCCM with USMT seems like something that could work along with other stuff that SCCM can do. Would I even be allowed to run it with the current setup - involvement of Systems, database and network admins seem almost essential for this work. It seems like right now there's no communication between Systems Administrators and Desktop Support and one department doesn't know what the other is doing and things aren't improving.

Sorry for all the babbling :) Any suggestions/comments?

Comments

  • MSSoftieMSSoftie Security+, ITIL v3 Foundations, MCSE Cloud Platform Infrastructure Charlotte NC areaMember Posts: 190 ■■■□□□□□□□
    SCCM is a great tool. I don't know how help desks with more than a couple of hundred computers does without. I don't know the politics of your workplace but if you could demonstrate it successfully you might get a big feather in your cap. One thing to keep in mind is that IT managers or the management they answer too think numbers more than technology. You may need to be prepared to show the projected cost of running the software and how many labor hours the software will save over time. You might want to have that done before you even suggest the test and use that to demonstrate the usefulness of testing the software. I believe you can get a free evaluation copy though so if your political situation is good - you may just go ahead and get the software loaded for demonstration.
  • NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would suggest that you do your research on the product then talk with you supervisor about it. Ask for permission to download the free evaluation version and test it in order to determine if it will be helpful to you or not.

    Once you've got a working demonstration, estimate the labor savings. Present all of this to your supervisor - I bet they will like it.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Are you experienced with SCCM and built it before? There's so many moving parts, it's desirable to really know your stuff before bringing it into any environment. It sounds like you'd also be selling a SOE, compliance mgmt, software mgmt, patch mgmt, possibly some level of security policies. If you can, then awesome; that'd look great on your resume and you'd really get attention if you pull it off. Be prepared to cop all the stress of getting SCCM working though.
  • crypticgeekcrypticgeek Member Posts: 66 ■■■□□□□□□□
    loss4words wrote: »
    There's a MS AD domain but it baffles me because although all computers are joined to domain, end users are logging in with local accounts.

    Sorry I don't have a lot to add to what's already been suggested, but I read this bit and just couldn't let it go because it made my eyes bug out a bit. I'm very curious to hear the rationale they are using for this.
  • loss4wordsloss4words Member Posts: 165 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you, everyone :) My plan is to build a small virtual SCCM environment and show it to my direct supervisor and hope that he's impressed enough/understands how it could benefit the department. My fear is that it is such a big change like mike mentioned that I'm in way over my head, and also as I mentioned I just started. How many people (holding which positions) do you guys think will need to be involved if it actually passes and the software gets purchased?
    Are you experienced with SCCM and built it before? There's so many moving parts, it's desirable to really know your stuff before bringing it into any environment. It sounds like you'd also be selling a SOE, compliance mgmt, software mgmt, patch mgmt, possibly some level of security policies. If you can, then awesome; that'd look great on your resume and you'd really get attention if you pull it off. Be prepared to cop all the stress of getting SCCM working though.

    I have little experience.. I've set up a small lab and was able to make it work and got as far as deploying software to client computers. I also took a one-on-one week long Microsoft course and watched CBT videos to get more familiar with the product. I would say I have fundamental understanding of how it works and how to set it up. You're completely right about all the things that I will have to sell, it's a lot. It bothers me a little.
    Sorry I don't have a lot to add to what's already been suggested, but I read this bit and just couldn't let it go because it made my eyes bug out a bit. I'm very curious to hear the rationale they are using for this.

    That caught me off guard too when I started. The only reasoning I can think of is the following: This is a university that has several small IT departments and one big "main" one. I work at the main one. The main IT has SLA's with departments which it supports. A department that signs an SLA agreement with main IT gets the technical support. SLA's have to be renewed every so often, maybe once every year. So in fact, a department that is covered by main IT this year, might not be the following year. So if end users become domain users, and decide not to sign an SLA agreement it can become messy. I don't know, though, that's the only explanation I can come up with.
  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    It's good to see that you spot problems and come up with ideas for solutions. Don't get stuck on SCCM--it's a great product, but do your due diligence and investigate other products that might meet your needs.

    Management wants options.

    Also it will need to be a business case and if you approach it this way then you will be taken much more seriously. As stated, see if you can get a general estimate of human hours salvaged. Also, what is the initial software cost? Yearly maintenance/support? OS/server requirements? There are many more factors than just selecting the product.

    Good luck!
  • ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Configuration Manager is an incredible tool that will save IT countless hours and vastly expand the capability. There are other tools, but I'd have to say CM is the best for most orgs.

    It is pretty much insane that an organization that size wouldn't have such a tool, wouldn't use domain accounts, and wouldn't have more sophisticated OSD and software distribution models. You should absolutely be pushing for these things, even if you're rocking the boat in doing so. You are going to have to justify it to the right people, but you should be. If you don't, what is your job? Just doing piddly desktop support tasks? Do you want to do that forever? You're not going to get any valuable experience at that company if you don't get it doing some of the right things.

    Walk before you run, though. Get them using AD accounts. There is simply no way there's a valid technical reason they would be using local accounts, and a hundred for why they should. SCCM is going to be pretty neutered if you keep using local accounts.

    For USMT, specifically, although it can be used for side-by-side migrations, IMO it's really not that great for it in that it's not an enhancement over other methods. It's awesome for doing OS upgrades on existing hardware without user changes, but that's about it. Honestly, if you have an all Windows-7 environment, I'd recommend Windows Easy Transfer. Seriously. I haven't seen a process or piece of software that actually works any better than just doing Windows Easy Transfer to a network location. Well, if you have workstation/user backups or redirected personal folders, those work better. What's silly is using external drives at anywhere but remote sites with slow connections to any network resources.
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  • icehacicehac Member Posts: 12 ■□□□□□□□□□
    SCCM is a great tool for Windows deployment options. The company I'm working for essentially forced me to setup the administration console for SCCM. We use it to rebuild Windows boxes when viruses are on machines (we have task sequences for each user), and USMT handles the rest. It's also become handy for 3rd party updates, such as Adobe Reader and Flash, especially when we get word about 0-days. I'm sure there are other alternatives out there, but SCCM has been a great tool for us thus far.
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