Murata: Incorporating IT data to everyday maintenance operations

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Workstation data allows performing proactive end user IT services

Murata Electronics, a leading international expert in electronics components, took Applixure into use when the company wanted to understand the big picture of its IT workstation environment. After Applixure’s effortless deployment, Murata discovered that Applixure’s data enabled a lot more, such as incorporating data as part of everyday maintenance operations. Seamless integration with ServiceNow and taking concrete actions based on data are the foundations for the continuously expanding use of Applixure for workstation maintenance.

Murata’s initial goal was to use Applixure to get a comprehensive view to the company’s 700 workstations.

Before, we had scattered data linked with educated guesses and hunches. As we did not see the big picture, we were not sure if we were taking the right actions to improve our environment as a whole. In addition to showing us the big picture, Applixure turned out to be a tool that helps us both in doing daily support work and planning our weekly and long-term procedures,” says Ari Kaislaniemi from Murata Electronics.

Applixure turned IT workstation data into an active part of maintenance planning. IT management now spends its time more efficiently as it can anticipate future tasks more accurately and automate a part of the maintenance work with ServiceNow integrations.

Now we can perform proactive maintenance instead of simply reacting to support requests. For example, when Applixure notes that BitLocker protection is turned off on a particular workstation, this automatically generates a ticket in ServiceNow. Our end users have been very happy when we have upgraded their laptop battery even before they notice it is failing, for example,” continues Kaislaniemi.

In addition, every PC handled by support is thoroughly examined with Applixure in order to discover potential hidden maintenance needs. When all problems are fixed at the same time, the workstation will not cause additional support requests in the near future.

Making maintenance workflows and planning more efficient

On top of everyday operations, Murata utilizes Applixure for planning and organizing workstation maintenance. For example, the company has weekly Service Desk team meetings to review the current state of the IT environment as presented by Applixure.

We follow up on the quality scores provided by Applixure and evaluate where we can make improvements. We can decide to upgrade certain software applications to minimize the number of different versions, for example.

In fact, reducing the number of different versions of the same software is a key goal at the company. When you have hundreds of workstations in different phases of their life cycle, you are bound to have a wide variety of different software versions in the environment. Murata’s goal is to go through the entire installed software base and review whether any forbidden or unsupported applications can be found.

Compared to where we started, we have now removed 1,000 software applications or versions from our environment. Still, we have 2,300 different applications. There are many reasons for the variety, some of which are perfectly valid reasons. Right now, we can see which applications are actually being used and which are simply taking up disk space. Without Applixure, it would be impossible to manage the software version chaos,” Kaislaniemi states.

In addition to controlling the various software versions, making software use more efficient is also a key development goal. If a particular application hangs or crashes a lot, the appointed Key User for that application gets notified.

By monitoring how software is used, we have learned that some applications not used the way they should be used. When the key user guided the end users on proper use, a particular application started working significantly better on a company level.

Continuous development based on data

Taking Applixure into use was surprisingly simple. Now, as workstation data is flowing in, Murata is continuously discovering new ways to utilize it. In addition to office staff workstations, Applixure will be soon used for workstations in the production environment. The company also has other development ideas planned out.

Right now, our ServiceNow uses SCCM to pull data. In the future, we will replace SCCM data with software, hardware and usage data produced by Applixure. In addition, we will build an end user service where they can view the details for their own device, including leasing contracts and warranties,” Kaislaniemi outlines.

About Murata

Murata is a leading global expert in electronics component design, manufacturing and sales. Murata Electronics Ltd has over 1,000 employees and belongs to the international Murata Manufacturing Group.