Jackson School District Reduces Costs by 40% by Replacing Citrix with Ericom
Customers

Jackson School District Reduces Costs by 40 Percent After Replacing Citrix with Ericom's Remote Access Solution

Industry

   Education

Customer

   Jackson School District

Location

        Located in Central New Jersey,
approximately 60 miles from
New York City and Philadelphia

Product

        PowerTerm™ WebConnect
Ericom® AccessNow™


Challenges

  • Deploy a simple, affordable, and clientless alternative to Citrix without investing in on-premise IT infrastructure
  • Provide 1,000 teachers with remote access to Windows applications, files and desktops across various devices
  • Support the launch of a BYOD initiative that gives students access to various applications and resources via their own devices

Solution

  • Working with reseller Boxed Network Environment and Always ON Cloud Technology Inc. , implement a SaaS-based remote access solution that leverages PowerTerm WebConnect and AccessNow

Benefits

  • The combination of replacing Citrix with a SaaS-based remote access solution eliminated the need to purchase and maintain on-premise IT infrastructure and manage endpoint installs - saving 40 percent
  • Browser-based access via HTML5 doubled the lifespan of existing IT resources, including 3,000 desktops
  • Migrating to a hosted environment enabled IT staff to focus on more important projects
  • Provides teachers with "anytime, anywhere" access to their Windows desktops and applications such as curriculum-driven software and lesson planning programs


Working with Ericom Software and reseller Boxed Network Environment, Jackson School District replaced Citrix with a SaaS-based remote access solution that was browser-based and can be used across an array of devices, including Google Chromebooks. This will allow the district to save money and do more with less, as well as provide a scalable foundation capable of supporting initiatives such as BYOD.

"Replacing Citrix with PowerTerm WebConnect not only saved us money but also offers a flexible platform for teachers, students, administration and parents to connect with the school on so many different levels. Ericom, through the help of Boxed Network Environment, is removing the boundaries of the school's learning environment, especially as we begin implementing our BYOD initiatives."
Lincoln Mahabir, Supervisor of Technology, Jackson School District

Operating within a growing community, Jackson School District serves 10,000 students across 10 schools. These comprise six elementary, two middle and two high schools, supported by 1,000 teachers. Jackson School District previously utilized Citrix to enable teachers, staff and students to remotely access Windows applications and desktops, but the solution proved to be too complex and costly to support and maintain, especially with shrinking budgets and a small IT department. The school district needed a better way to securely access files and applications from home as well as inside the school without downloading client software.

Building Blocks to BYOD

In 2011, Boxed Network Environment deployed a hosted remote access environment powered by Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect, an RDP connection broker that provides secure and centrally managed access to Windows desktops and applications. This eliminated the need to maintain client software at the endpoints which had proved to be too cumbersome and difficult for users and requiring support from Jackson School District's IT staff. Instead, Ericom provided a browser-based solution that was easy to use and accessible via a broad range of devices, including the district's Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mac computers as well as 700 recently purchased Chromebooks. "We switched from Citrix to Ericom because in addition to lower costs, we felt PowerTerm WebConnect was a lot easier to use, more flexible and faster because it takes advantage of HTML5," explains Lincoln Mahabir, Supervisor of Technology for Jackson School District. "Using a standard browser versus downloading a client improved the user experience and significantly reduced support, making our teachers and students more productive."

Taking advantage of browser-based remote access, teachers now have the flexibility to perform curriculum-related tasks such as lesson planning and test generation from home or outside of school. Additionally, students will increasingly be allowed to use their personal devices such as smartphones and tablets to access certain applications and learning environments. As part of a new program, Jackson School District is integrating Chromebooks inside the classroom, offering similar browser-based access to cloud-hosted Windows resources as well as Web applications via Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect.

Coupled with Ericom AccessNow, both teachers and students have full access to managed desktops, files and applications via popular HTML5 supported browsers, such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox, with no client software or setup required. AccessNow also supports a broad range of devices, making it even easier for Jackson School District to deliver its learning environment wherever the user wants to take it.

Save Money and Do More With Less

Specializing in providing "Always On Cloud Technology," Boxed Network Environment worked with Jackson School District to replace Citrix with a hosted implementation of PowerTerm WebConnect. This not only improved accessibility and lowered IT overhead, but also saved the school district from the cost of purchasing and maintaining on-premise infrastructure such as servers, virtualization software and other networking equipment. "After replacing Citrix with Ericom, we saved 40 percent and now have the capability to expand the use of our hosted remote access environment to accommodate the evolving needs of the school district's teachers and students," added Mahabir.

Having the benefit of utilizing PowerTerm WebConnect for nearly two years, Jackson School District has been able to redirect the cost savings to support other K-12, BYOD and business-critical projects. It estimates that by utilizing a hosted environment, older equipment such 3,000 desktop computers can be repurposed, extending the average life from three years or less to approximately five to seven years.

"As schools enter the BYOD-cloud era, they need to be creative on how to address IT infrastructure from a cost, technical support and usability perspective," explained Vinny Zafonte of Boxed Network Environment. "Through our SaaS-based deployment of PowerTerm WebConnect, Jackson School District is well-positioned to leverage its browser-based platform to support a wide range of academic and administrative functions and get better utility out of existing IT resources."

Eliminate Endpoint Support

Because of tight budgets, schools typically have stretched IT departments often bogged down by excessive desktop or endpoint support issues. According to Zafonte, Jackson School District eliminated the time required "touching many desktops" for software upgrades and printer drivers. This frees up Mahabir and his IT staff to focus on higher priority projects.

"Through Ericom's HTML5 browser-based platform, printing is no longer a problem," Zafonte added. "By having the printing capabilities built-in to the browser, teachers and students can effortlessly print at home or in school, significantly reducing support calls."

Next Steps

Jackson School District continues to evolve as the community it supports grows. The school district currently supports its teachers, students, administration and parents with a 100-user concurrent license of PowerTerm Web Connect and plans to expand this to 250 users. According to Mahabir, the school district plans to work with Ericom and Boxed Network Environment and Always ON Technology to deliver the best computing experience, encouraging the use of Chromebooks in the classroom and all types of devices from home and other remote locations.






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