Since its start in 1968, Merrill Corporation, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, has steadily grown to over 5,600 employees with offices and affiliates worldwide. Merrill is a leading provider of outsourcing solutions for various complex business communication and information management needs. Merrill’s services include document and data management, litigation support, branded communication programs, fulfillment, imaging, and printing.
Merrill’s Mac users are located throughout fifteen locations worldwide, and as William Smith, Merrill’s Technical Support Analyst, describes, “It’s the most challenging environment I’ve ever had to support.”
“We have a small number of people managing nearly all of our Macs worldwide—global control is critical,” says Tim Schultz, Merrill’s IT Manager.
William jumps in, “Support is also only one of our responsibilities. We also work on workflow management, scripting, and development.”
“The Casper Suite is saving us right now,” adds Tim. “It’s an all-in-one tool that lets us maintain our environment so we can focus on those other priorities.”
Merrill relies heavily on the Casper Suite’s policy functionality.
As William puts it, “Dealing with customized software and workstations within a corporation of our size can be maddening. There’s no way we could get by without the Casper Suite. I love the Casper Suite’s policy features. It lets my users decide when they want to receive updates because they’re triggered by log offs and log ons. I don’t have to interrupt anyone’s work, I don’t have to be on site to roll them out, and I receive a complete activity log.”
Tim adds, “William supports users with 20 different applications—plus their plug-ins—with updates potentially happening two or three times a week. The Casper Suite makes this a lot easier.”
William describes his process, “As soon as I have an update ready, I’ll broadcast a message using the Casper Suite to the appropriate users and then they trigger the pull whenever they’re ready by logging off and on.”
This approach lets Merrill do their updating during regular shifts so analysts and managers like William and Tim get to have more of a life.
Push and pull
Merrill’s Mac environment is a complex mix of standard builds and intense customization. Some of their machines could even be described as ‘Frankensteins’ due to complex configurations. The Casper Suite’s push and pull capability combined with policies gives support personnel at Merrill tremendous flexibility.
“The Casper Suite allows us to push out updates when necessary while also allowing us to set up Policies to create forced pulls,” said William. “Users determine when to receive updated preferences, fixes, or other modifications.”
Merrill strategically deploys pushes and pulls for greater efficiency and easier maintenance.Download PDF