Customers Appreciate a Joint

By Alison Diana  |  Posted 2006-03-27 Print this article Print

Commitment"> Today, it takes the department approximately three to five days to deliver an imaged system—a far cry from the three months it had taken previously, Husain said. "We build standard desktop images for the labs and then build packages of software. If an accounting teacher comes to my department, we can quickly build a package and deploy it. We dont have to build a whole new image every time," Husain said.
Although Queens College worked with two partners, the relationship was seamless, Husain said.
"One of the customer requirements when you choose a [partner] is you only have one point of contact," Husain said. "There was no finger-pointing. At the end of the day, everybody wanted to get the job done. We had this one period where we had an issue about how the software worked. We got Kelly [Walker] and Peter [Welling] into the same room—it wasnt a difficult time—and they sat down and said, We want to make you, the customer, happy." Whenever possible, Custom Computer and CA took lengths to ensure that they worked on any problems offline, Welling said. "Theres a joint commitment. We dont figure things out on the customers time," Welling said. "We both spend a fair amount of time at each others location, doing solution training and product updates. Theres a lot of fluidity between our two organizations." Read more here about CA Unicenter and CAs Enterprise IT Management initiative. In fact, the relationship between the two companies—which is already deep—could grow, based on its successful implementation at Queens College, Walker said. Already, the duo has presented the results of its work to a conference of technology personnel from CUNY. "What Peter and I are trying to do is take the work weve done here and ultimately deliver it to every school in the CUNY system. Its a technology conference that CUNY has every year for every technology employee throughout the system," Walker said. "Each CUNY institution is unique, but there are a lot of similarities. If theres any way we can take this success and help the other CUNY institutions, then thats what were trying to do." The presentation went well. "Its been enlightening to see how a partnership can have a far-reaching effect," Welling said. "We had great feedback and a lot of participation from the CUNY committee." Custom Computer—which, according to published reports, in 2005 earned revenue of approximately $62 million, an increase of more than 16 percent over the prior year—is not a small company. But partnering with CA helps the solution provider pack a powerful punch when meeting potential clients. "Its great to go in together with CA to a customer," Walker said. "They are a large company, and, sometimes, being an integrator, you dont have great access to a large manufacturer, even though its so key to delivering a successful solution. With [CA], it doesnt matter what time or day; theyre there for us. I think they view us as a reseller and a partner—and one of their customers as well—so theyre there, they gather the teams and they get you the right resources, which is definitely helpful." The relationship between the two companies is not new. Geographically close, the companies have participated in presentations at other colleges and universities. In 2004, two CA executives and a representative of Custom Computer presented the "Data Protection Survivor Seminar" at the Conference on Instructional Technologies held at the State University at Stony Brook, N.Y. Today, however, Custom Computer and CA continue to expand the capabilities of Queens Colleges solution, which ultimately is expected to include CAs Unicenter Service Desk and the ability to completely support distributed software, Husain said. "Their partnership—in working with us, the client—helped them build kind of a kit that they could use as a protocol," Husain said. "The common goal at CUNY is doing the best for our students and making it a friendly experience. The theme is people, process and technology—with technology being last. The idea behind the CUNY mandate was to make education accessible to everyone." Technology combined with a partnership focused on the total customer experience is helping at least one CUNY school meet its mandate: delivering educational tools accessible to all students, no matter where they choose to study. Alison Diana is a freelance writer based in Merritt Island, Fla. She can be contacted at Case file
  • Customer Queens College
  • Location New York
  • Organizational snapshot Public college, part of the City University of New York network of colleges and universities
  • Technology partners Custom Computer Specialists, Hauppauge, N.Y.; CA, Islandia, N.Y.
  • Business need Enable fast imaging of lab computers to allow commuter students to access courseware and other information from the college network
  • Recommended solution CA Unicenter, Microsoft Active Directory, CA eTrust PestPatrol and other security programs
  • Project timetable Installed 2005-2006
  • Return on investment Slashed PC imaging time from three months to approximately three days Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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