HELLER is known in many industries—including the automotive, energy technology and aerospace industries—for its top-shelf CNC machine tools and production systems for metal-cutting processes. It employs more than 2,900 people at five production sites and over 30 local sales and service locations. Its teams work hard every day to provide the best solutions for their customers’ specific production requirements, from machines to applications to comprehensive services.
Virtually all initiatives to boost productivity and efficiency ultimately require cutting-edge end devices. The number of such devices has increased significantly at HELLER’s production and service locations outside Germany. These offices had previously procured, installed and administered their IT environments themselves. However, a global concept was needed in light of the increasing number of applications, growing complexity and ever-greater security challenges.
HELLER was aiming for better-than-ever performance when it migrated to Windows 10. As part of its digitalisation, the company wanted to take initial steps into the cloud, allowing software applications to be adjusted automatically as needed, and managed and deployed centrally. HELLER’s goal was to be able to leverage digital transformation and a high degree of automation to provide client services substantially faster, more reliably and more flexibly. But its own IT department wasn’t able to complete this IT upgrade in time, which is why the Head of Client Management at HELLER needed a strong partner to support their efforts. And Bechtle was just the expert they were looking for.
HELLER’s Infrastructure/Server and Client Management departments worked with Bechtle to develop a plan for transitioning HELLER to the cloud smoothly. Thanks to the capabilities of System Center Configuration Manager, which HELLER was already using, supplemented by Intune and Azure functions, the cornerstone was laid for central client administration and the ability to use additional Windows 10 features in future. Bechtle presented the system in a Proof of Concept (PoC) and demonstrated its benefits, which includes an annual in-place upgrade as part of Windows-as-a-Service processes. In addition, the connection to Azure opened the door for Heller to use Microsoft Cloud Services and state-of-the-art features.
HELLER’s transition to the Microsoft Cloud expanded and optimised its previous set-up, integrating the existing virtual desktop infrastructure into new processes. The Windows-as-a-Service introduced by Bechtle automatically updates computers, giving all users access to the latest OS version in their respective languages. HELLER now installs and configures clients located all over the world using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). In addition, all clients feature a consistent desktop design, with the same group policies for data protection and security settings, as well as the same software applications. Patch management and software distribution and installation are controlled and managed centrally by HELLER.
Local clients are integrated into the cloud using Microsoft Azure Active Directory, with Azure Active Directory Connect synchronising local users and groups in HELLER’s Active Directory with Azure AD. Active Directory Federation Services allows users to authenticate themselves for various Microsoft Cloud services via single sign-on, regardless of which organisation they belong to. This gives them access to services such as the Microsoft Store no matter where they are. In the Microsoft Store, IT administrators can search for, purchase, manage and distribute apps for Windows 10 devices, and also assign and reuse licences as needed. Mobile device management (MDM) was ensured by configuring Microsoft Intune with an Exchange on-premise connector to enable management of Android Enterprise and iOS devices and to control conditional access.
Clients are protected with Microsoft BitLocker, which encrypts hard drives in compliance with Active Directory group policies. Recovery keys are managed and the self-service and help desk portals are accessed using Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM). A VPN solution ensures secure access from outside the company network. If HELLER’s users experience any issues, they can open support tickets with the Bechtle Service Desk. Bechtle also provides second-level on-site support, which includes end-device maintenance, quarterly client rollouts and deployment of software packages using SCCM.
Through cloud enablement and Hybrid Join, which connects on-premise and cloud technology, HELLER was able to optimise and expand its IT infrastructure. The company now manages its clients centrally and automatically, while Bechtle manages the end-user environment as part of its Service Desk services and supports HELLER with larger-scale rollout projects. This approach has lowered operating costs while ensuring that clients are always up to date. HELLER is now equipped for the future, able to respond if data storage or employees’ working methods change, resulting in additional services having to be migrated to the cloud.