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Challenge

Managing IT support across a large geographical area and providing top quality services to all locations.

Solution

Integrating tools and the ConnectWise Automate IT management platform to deploy updates and manage multiple locations from one point of control.

Results

Drastically improved ability to provide top quality support to all store locations and growth potential for the IT department now that technicians are able to focus on more important tasks.

Growth is great, but it also brings a unique set of challenges — not the least of which is maintaining PCI compliance. No one knows that better than Liquor Stores NA Ltd. Through rapid acquisitions, they grew from a handful of stores to nearly 300 retail locations in Alaska, Kentucky, and Canada. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, they quickly realized that covering that much geography creates big IT hurdles. How do you properly manage all those stores without feet on the ground in every location?

Growing Pains

With at least two software deployments per week to the almost 300 retail locations, something had to give. A single update could take weeks to implement! Perhaps the biggest pain point was zero visibility into real-time outages. Director of IT Infrastructure Steve Schick said his team didn't know a location was down until someone notified them. Because of this, the IT department's reputation wasn't great.

Adding an extra layer of complication, Liquor Stores has to ensure they remain PCI compliant. Part of that process involves a rigorous annual audit, which includes providing proof that each location runs current antivirus software and demonstrating that remote services—patching and repairs—are provided securely. Not only were they able to pass PCI v2 compliance audits with ConnectWise Automate deployed, they were also able to use ConnectWise Automate to help pass certain aspects of those audits—including proof of AV deployment, patch health, etc.

"To give you an idea of how frustrating our situation was, a simple task — like deploying a product discount to each sales point — was a long, manual process that involved logging in to each individual machine to upload the files. There were no standards for Windows Updates, software deployments, or antivirus checks. Everything was done manually. It drove me nuts."

Steve Schick, Director of IT Infrastructure and Operations, Liquor Stores NA Ltd

Reducing Operational Cost

Since no one can be in multiple places at once, and it didn't make sense to have technicians on-site at every location, Schick knew he needed a powerful solution that empowered technicians to be not only productive, but also everywhere at once. This would ultimately increase technician efficiency and productivity.

Schick was no stranger to the benefits that automation and network monitoring brings when investing in an IT management solution. Pulling from past experience, he made the recommendation to add ConnectWise Automate to their IT team. The difference was night and day.

With the help of ConnectWise Automate, software updates that once took days to do manually could now be done in 15 minutes. A simple script could simultaneously deploy files to every machine in record time. Software deployments, patch management, and remote support became easy. "We created a lot of raving fans that day," Schick shared.

Freeing Your IT Staff to Focus on the Big Stuff

Automating small, daily tasks saves Schick's service technicians at least 9 hours per week, freeing them to focus on more important complex issues. That freedom led to the development of a heads-up display that highlights outages and priorities.

The newfound automation, and visibility it provided, dramatically improved the IT department's reputation. "Before ConnectWise Automate, our support was reactive; but now, with the remote monitoring notifications triggered by ConnectWise Automate, we call stores to troubleshoot outages before local staff even realize they're down," explains Schick.

The team has also seen a decrease in tickets around performance issues and coworkers are reporting faster machines.

By investing in ConnectWise Automate, Liquor Stores NA Ltd. gained six big advantages:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Real-time visibility to outages
  • Dramatic decrease in the number of reactive IT service requests
  • More time to focus on strategic IT enhancements
  • Improved perceived value/reputation of internal IT team
  • Peace of mind

"Before ConnectWise Automate, a simple task — like deploying a product discount to each sales point — was a long, manual process that involved logging in to each individual machine to upload the files. Now, tasks that took weeks to complete can be done in 15 minutes."

Steve Schick, Director of IT Infrastructure and Operations, Liquor Stores NA Ltd

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