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Hanson Professional Services is a nationally recognized, award-winning consulting firm with offices across the United States.

Hanson’s CAD experts are distributed across many locations and smaller offices. The IT team needed to find a workstation solution that could support CAD users who needed to travel to job sites, giving them the ability to conduct construction observation and also make use of their CAD apps while in the field. In many of their smaller offices, employees had attempted to work on GPU-intensive files over a VPN connection, but they experienced latency that significantly lowered productivity and frustrated employees.

Bob Stidham, while initially skeptical even after seeing the cloud workstation solution demonstrated, led the proof-of-concept. Ultimately concluded, “The ability to spin up workstations, to redeploy workstations with our image on it, all done in five minutes, is huge for us.”

Workspot cloud workstations are placed in the Azure regions closest to each user, and because the GPU and project data are tightly coupled, users, no matter where they are located, experience performance that is often better than physical PCs. Now, rather than buying a $3,500 machine to do CAD, Hanson can simply provide a Workspot cloud workstation on a low-cost laptop. This makes it easier for people to move between office, job site and any other location where they may need to do work, while delivering great performance that keeps CAD engineers happy. When asked what cloud workstation power users think about the Workspot solution, Stidham replied, “100% of them say ‘this is awesome!’”

 


Cloud Workstations Enable New Levels of Productivity for Both CAD Power Users and the IT Team

Company Overview

Hanson Professional Services specializes in engineering, planning and a range of allied services. Headquartered in Springfield, Ill., Hanson is a nationally recognized, award-winning consulting firm with offices across the United States. Since 1954, the company has worked with clients in the aviation, railway, municipalities, telecommunications, healthcare, education and many other fields.

Challenge

Improve productivity for remote CAD users

Hanson’s CAD experts are located across the U.S. in both main office locations and smaller offices. The IT team sought a workstation solution that could support CAD users who needed to travel to job sites, giving them the ability to conduct construction observation and also make use of their CAD apps while in the field. In addition, employees at Hanson’s smaller offices attempted to work on GPU-intensive files over a VPN connection, but they experienced latency that significantly lowered productivity and frustrated employees. Similarly, the firm wishes to hire additional employees as they grow, with the flexibility to hire talent anywhere.

Solution

Deploy GPU cloud workstations to mobile and remote power users

Bob Stidham, Hanson’s IT Manager, learned about Workspot from a colleague and saw a demo of the solution during an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) meeting. While skeptical even after seeing the demo, Stidham decided to move ahead with a proof of concept (POC), and the Workspot team was able to set it up very quickly. Stidham concluded, “The ability to spin up workstations, to redeploy workstations with our image on it, all done in five minutes, is huge for us.”
With a successful POC behind them – which also proved that performance for power users would excel – Hanson chose to move forward with a production rollout of Workspot Workstation Cloud in Microsoft Azure. The service spans their U.S. offices, and is initially designated for CAD users who are mobile or who are located remotely in smaller offices, and for other employees who may work part-time or full-time from home. In one case, Hanson was happy to be able to retain a valuable employee who needed to relocate to another state by providing a Workspot cloud workstation so she could continue to work for Hanson – from home.

Business Results

Improved performance drives productivity

Workspot cloud workstations are placed in the Azure regions closest to each user, and because the GPU and project data are tightly coupled, users, no matter where they are located, experience performance that is often better than physical PCs. Now, rather than buying a $3,500 machine to do CAD, Hanson can simply provide a Workspot cloud workstation on a low-cost laptop.
This makes it easier for people to move between office, job site and any other location where they may need to do work, while delivering great performance that keeps CAD engineers happy. The resulting improvement in productivity means additional billable hours for the firm and faster project deliverables for clients. When asked what cloud workstation power users think about the Workspot solution, Stidham replied, “100% of them say ‘this is awesome!’”

Flexibility in hiring and simplified IT processes

Another benefit of this agility is the possibility of hiring or retaining employees from anywhere, since they have immediate, 24/7 access to the company’s data and applications in Azure. As the firm brings on new employees who need secure access to Hanson’s network and files, the on-boarding process has been completely transformed. Previously, there were two options: require the person to come into a main office to work on a physical workstation, or buy additional hardware, put Hanson’s VPN client on it, and require the person to work in a satellite office. Now, Stidham is able to spin up a cloud workstation in five to 10 minutes on a BYOD or Hanson-supplied laptop that provides many options for where people can be productive, while alleviating IT from resource intensive workstation provisioning and management.

Ability to pursue new projects anywhere

The addition of Workspot Workstation Cloud brings to Hanson a unique ability to be ready for any opportunity. To pursue new business, the firm no longer has to open a branch office in proximity to the project; they are able to bid on projects anywhere, globally, and that means greater agility to grow the firm.

Download the full Hanson Case Study

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