Microsoft Server Product Portfolio Customer Solution Case Study




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Microsoft Server Product Portfolio

Customer Solution Case Study


















IT Management Solutions Help Nissan Reduce Costs, Improve Reliability and Productivity








Overview

Country or Region: Japan

Industry: Manufacturing
Customer Profile

Nissan is a global automobile manu­facturer based in Ginza, Japan. The company operates in 160 countries, with more than 160,000 employees worldwide.


Business Situation

Nissan’s IT infrastructure was hard to manage and support, leading the company to embark on a rigorous effort of simplification and standardization.


Solution

Nissan is centralizing and streamlining IT management with Microsoft® System Center solutions, including Systems Management Server 2003 and Operations Manager 2005.


Benefits

  • Enhanced end-user productivity through increased reliability and security

  • Improved IT staff productivity through automated software deployment and remote support capability

  • Labor cost savings of 40,000 hours in six months










“We’re committed to delivering a 14 percent reduc­tion in IT spending through technology simplification, and we expect a lot of that savings to come from the work that we’re doing with System Center solutions.”

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer, Nissan










When Nissan needed to improve desktop management and server monitoring, the global automaker turned to Microsoft® System Center IT management solutions. Nissan is using Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 to automate the deployment of software and remotely support end users, thereby reducing the time and effort required to maintain user desktops and help employees remain productive. The company uses Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 to closely monitor its messaging infrastructure and help keep such mission-critical Windows®-based systems up and running smoothly. During a six-month period ending March 31, 2006, Nissan saved 40,000 hours in labor costs, putting the company well on its way toward realizing its goal of a 14 percent reduction in IT spending.




























Situation

Nissan Motor is a global automobile manu­facturer, selling 3,569,000 cars in fiscal year 2005 and generating record annual revenue of more than U.S.$80 billion. Headquartered in Ginza, Japan, the company has research and development facilities in 11 countries; manufacturing facilities in 16 countries; and design facilities in Japan, the United States, Great Britain, and Taiwan. The automaker’s primary markets are Japan, Europe, and North America, although the company is aggressively expanding into new markets such as China, Thailand, and Russia.

“From a partner’s perspective, the implementation of Systems Management Server is easy. Our goal is to manage the Nissan infrastructure with the greatest efficiency, and Systems Management Server will help us deliver outstanding results.”

Hirohisa Ogawa, Senior Systems Analyst, Nomura Research Institute






Nissan prides itself on being a leader in the application of information technology. The company invests heavily in the IT infrastructure needed to accelerate the design and development of new vehicles, streamline their production, and maintain the high quality for which Nissan automobiles are known. “IT infrastructure is a critical component of the business,” says Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer for Nissan. “Our execu­tives are heavily focused on investing in technology because it’s very important that we have a robust and scalable IT infra­structure to support our growing business.”
In 2004, Nissan undertook an effort to benchmark its IT environment against those of leading companies, after which it reached the conclusion that there was room for improvement. “We found that we had a very complex IT infrastructure and application portfolio, and that we needed to work aggressively to standardize and simplify,” says Guiotoko. “We went to the executive committee and proposed what we call the BEST Program: B for Business Alignment, E for Enterprise Architecture, S for Selective Sourcing, and T for Technology Simplification. Focusing on those four pillars for the next five years will help us build a world-class IT organization that can better meet the needs of the business.”
With respect to technology simplification, one area where Nissan needed to improve and standardize was in how user computers were sup­ported and managed, especially the area of software distribution. For example, in the past, Nissan Japan deployed new software, software upgrades, and security updates to its 10,000 Windows®-based computer-aided design (CAD) computers using semi-automated tools, and to its 30,000 other computers through desk-side visits by technicians.
“In the past, we used two different vendors to support CAD workstations and other PCs,” says Yoshikazu Sano, Global IS Division Manager at Nissan. “Software distribution for most desktop and notebook PCs was done manually, which made it very slow and labor-intensive.”
A second area in which Nissan needed to improve was the monitoring of its mission-critical Windows-based server computers. The company had little visibility into the health of those systems other than knowing whether they were running or not. For example, with the company’s Microsoft® Exchange Server messaging infrastructure, Nissan had no way to monitor server health and workloads. When problems with a server arose, they often were not detected until users started calling the help desk, at which point IT technicians would log on to the server and begin diagnosing the problem.
“Understanding the health of our e-mail servers and other mission-critical systems was difficult because we had no good way of watching them as they were running,” says Sano. “It’s important to understand the operation and performance of our systems in detail so that we can work to improve their efficiency and reliability, but we didn’t have that information.”
Solution

Nissan is simplifying and improving its technology infrastructure by standardizing on Microsoft System Center IT management solutions, including Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 for desktop management and Operations Manager 2005 for server monitoring. “During development of the BEST Program, we examined the elements of our IT infrastructure as well as best practices for managing those systems,” says Guiotoko. “When we looked at our options, we saw System Center solutions as some of the strongest offerings that could help us achieve our desired technology simplification.”


Comprehensive Desktop Management

With Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 running on the Windows Server® 2003 operating system, Nissan has a full-featured solution for the deployment, maintenance, inventorying, and support of user computers. “Since we introduced Systems Management Server, IT operations have been simpler and more effective,” says Sano. “We’ve been able to centralize and automate many aspects of desktop management and support.”


As part of the selective-sourcing focus of the BEST Program

“Systems Management Server plays an important role in helping us improve the security and reliability of all user PCs, so that everyone can work on bringing great cars to our customers with minimal interruption.”

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer, Nissan






, Nissan had chosen Nomura Research Institute (NRI) to provide life-cycle management services for both CAD and other computers. Nissan again turned to NRI to imple­ment Systems Management Server for those 40,000 computers. “We were familiar with Systems Management Server from other clients who were using it to achieve strong benefits, and were confident that it was the right tool for Nissan,” says Hirohisa Ogawa, Senior Systems Analyst at NRI. “From a partner’s perspective, the implementation of Systems Management Server is easy. Our goal is to manage the Nissan infrastructure with the greatest efficiency, and Systems Management Server will help us deliver outstanding results.”
A key new capability that benefits Nissan is the automated deployment of software applications and updates, which helps ensure the security and reliability of the company’s computers—especially the CAD workstations that are so critical to the core business. Nissan has some 200 applications packaged for delivery with Systems Management Server, which is being used to deploy software to large groups of user computers roughly 10 times per month.
“With the ability to centralize and automate software distribution,” says Sano, “we can easily push out new applications and just as easily deploy important security updates or change a user’s network configuration settings—all things that were done manually in the past.”
Nissan also is using Systems Management Server to inventory computer hardware and software. Inventory data collected by Systems Management Server is written to a database, against which Nissan can easily run reports to check on licensing compliance, generate data needed for audits, and verify that all computers have the latest security updates. Inventory data also is used to deliver new computers to users with the necessary software already installed based on the knowledge of which applications the user was running on the old system.
In addition, Nissan is using the solution to improve user support and reduce the number of desk-side visits. With the remote support capabilities provided by Systems Management Server, help-desk personnel working from a centralized location can take over the user’s desktop, enabling the staff to handle a far greater percentage of support calls remotely.

Moving forward, Nissan may use the new solution to upgrade user computers to the Windows Vista™ operating system remotely. “We’d like to introduce Windows Vista into the company, and I think that Systems Management Server could be effective for that purpose,” says Sano. “We first have to address any applica­tion compatibility issues, but eventually the time will come to back up user data and reimage PCs, which is where Systems Management Server could help significantly reduce the time and effort involved.”


Comprehensive Server Monitoring

In late 2006, Nissan Japan began using Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 running on Windows Server 2003 to help monitor the 45 server computers running Exchange Server 2003. “We chose Operations Manager because of its low licensing costs, ease of implementation, and strong integration with Exchange Server,” says Sano. “The entire rollout took only a few weeks, and we’re now able to monitor our e-mail systems in real time. E-mail is very critical to the business, and we can’t afford to have that system down fo


“We have many mission-critical systems that run on Windows, and Operations Manager will help us more proactively and efficiently manage all of them, thereby improving our ability to provide high service levels to the rest of the business.”

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer, Nissan






r more than 15 minutes. If we do, we’ll have a lot of internal customers complaining, as well as some very upset vendors and suppliers.”
Operations Manager subjects each server computer in the e-mail environment to highly granular levels of continuous monitoring, enabling Nissan to collect a wealth of data on how its servers are running, their availability levels, and where any problems might lie. A role-specific management pack for Exchange Server 2003 extends those capabilities even further by providing a set of monitoring rules with predefined thresholds, a built-in knowledge base with troubleshooting and resolution information, and scripts that can be used to quickly and efficiently resolve issues. Upon detecting abnormal behavior, configurable processing rules built into Operations Manager can notify IT staff by pager or e-mail that a potential issue exists, with knowledge base information appended to the alert to aid in problem resolution.
“Today, we’re mainly using Operations Manager for reporting, and it’s bringing us good results in terms of enabling data collection and reducing the burden of reporting on that data to a single mouse click,” says Sano. “Moving forward, we plan to use it for operational monitoring and problem resolution as well. Operations Manager provides a rich lineup of functionality, and we’d like to expand its use gradually, first expanding how we’re using it to help manage our e-mail servers and eventually expanding its coverage to include other systems such as file and application servers. We have high expectations of Operations Manager moving forward because its use will benefit the entire organization, including both end users and IT staff.”
Benefits

Through use of its new system management solution, Nissan is standardizing, centralizing, and automating IT management, thereby improving the reliability, scalability, and security of its IT infrastructure. In addition, the company is improving end-user productivity and reducing IT labor costs, freeing resources across the company to focus on contributing to continued business growth.


Increased Reliability and Security

Nissan now is better able to keep its business up and running. With Microsoft Operations Manager, the company can better monitor and understand the health of its messaging environment, and can improve the overall availability of that important infrastructure component as well as other mission-critical systems.


“Our Exchange Server infrastructure handles more than 1 million e-mail messages per day, so it’s important that we operate that environment with a minimum of downtime, which Operations Manager helps us do,” says Guiotoko. “We have many mission-critical systems that run on Windows, and Operations Manager will help us more proactively and efficiently manage all of them, thereby improving our ability to provide high service levels to the rest of the business.”
Nissan also is using System Center solutions to improve the reliability and security of user desktops, which is especially important for the Windows-based CAD workstations used by designers and engineers. With Systems Management Server, Nissan can push out the softwar

“We have more than 10,000 engineers, who use CAD workstations running Windows, and Systems Management Server enables us to provide on-time delivery of the software updates, upgrades, and configu­ration changes needed to help engineers remain productive.”

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer, Nissan






e updates needed to improve reliability and security to those workstations more accurately and quickly, thereby helping ensure that the all-important design work required to bring new Nissan vehicles to market is uninterrupted.
In the past, when semiautomated tools were used to deploy software updates to CAD workstations, users received a pop-up message asking if they wanted to install the new soft­ware updates at that time—a task that was often postponed to avoid lost productivity. With Systems Management Server, updates automatically are pushed down to user desktops and installed in the background, enabling the company to update computers faster—and thus decrease the time window in which the computers remain vulnerable to security risks—without affecting end-user productivity.
“Systems Management Server plays an important role in helping us improve the security and reliability of all user PCs, so that every­one can work on bringing great cars to our customers with minimal interruption,” says Guiotoko. “We have more than 10,000 engineers, who use CAD workstations running Windows, and Systems Management Server enables us to provide on-time delivery of the software updates, upgrades, and configuration changes needed to help engineers remain productive. And if users do have problems, the remote support capabilities provided by Systems Management Server help us resolve those issues more quickly.”
Improved IT Staff Productivity and Significant Cost Savings

Along with helping ensure that end-user productivity is uninterrupted, Nissan’s use of System Center solutions is helping improve IT staff productivity. The automated software deployment capabilities provided by Systems Management Server have reduced the need for desk-side visits by technicians, leading to a considerable reduction in the IT effort required to keep user computers up-to-date. Simi­larly, the remote support capabilities provided by Systems Management Server have made the company’s help-desk personnel more efficient and productive.


“With the deployment of Systems Management Server, we were able to realize a savings of close to 40,000 hours of labor cost over a six-month period,” says Guiotoko. “Its deployment has been a win-win situation for both IT staff and end users in that, instead of spending all that money simply maintaining user PCs, we now have more funding to invest in new applications or technologies that will benefit our internal customers. We’re committed to delivering a 14 percent reduc­tion in IT spending through technology simpli­fication, and we expect a lot of that savings to come from the work that we’re doing with System Center solutions.”
Global, Cost-Effective Scalability

Nissan’s success with System Center in Japan is being repeated in the company’s other two major geographies. In the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region, Nissan is using Systems Management Server to manage 7,000 computers in 33 locations, and is using Operations Manager to monitor all server computers supporting that region’s Exchange Server infrastructure. In the Americas region, Nissan is using Systems Management Server to distribute applications and updates to 9,500 desktop computers, as well as for remote end-user support. The company is using Operations Manager to monitor server computers running Exchange Server and the Active Directory® service.


Nissan’s decision to standardize on System Center solutions globally also will help the company to efficiently build its presence in new markets. “Nissan is aggressively expanding its presence in both existing and new mar­kets, so we need an IT management platform that provides cost-effective scalability,” says Guiotoko. “With Microsoft System Center solutions, we have the flexibility to start small, with a minimal investment, yet can still scale to support our IT management needs in each region as that business grows. We’ll be able to both minimize up-front costs and reduce ongoing costs because we now have a standardized, more efficient IT management environment in place.”

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.com


For more information about Nomura Research Institute, visit the Web site at:
www.nri.co.jp/english
For more information about Nissan, visit the Web site at:
www.nissan.co.jp/EN


This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Document published February 2007










Software and Services

  • Microsoft System Center

  • Microsoft Operations Manager 2005

  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003

  • Windows Server 2003

Partner

  • Nomura Research Institute



Microsoft Server Product Portfolio

For more information about the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to:



www.microsoft.com/servers/default.mspx
Microsoft System Center

Microsoft System Center is a family of leading IT management solutions that helps you proactively plan, deploy, manage, and optimize your IT environment.



For more information about System Center solutions, go to:

www.microsoft.com/systemcenter


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