With a name inspired by pioneer woodmen who cleared forests to build communities, Modern Woodmen of America was created to ease financial burdens for families. As a member-owned, fraternal benefit society, it provides financial products and fraternal benefits to serve a membership of nearly 730,000 across the United States.
Founded in 1883, Modern Woodmen has a long history of providing protection against uncertainty. Its core offerings include life insurance and retirement products, plus fraternal benefits, and programs. Fraternalism is a unique combination of business and giving back to help members protect their families and their futures to improve quality of life. This unique mission, focused on financial security and community impact, means Modern Woodmen was ahead of the pandemic curve: before the world shut down, they had already launched an ambitious new IT project in order to better serve their base of 500 home office users.
Modern Woodmen implemented a completely new VDI environment to get visibility into resource usage, processes and consumption on all of their virtual machines, centrally monitor everything, and have historical data to reference and evaluate. At the time, they were having memory issues and CPU issues with the VMs, VDI administrator Adam Brandt explained, and “we were looking for a product that could look at everything at once.”
W. Kenny Massey, president and CEO of Modern Woodmen of America, lost his father at an early age. Because of his experience with life insurance, he understands the importance of the promises Modern Woodmen makes to its members. Woodmen of America’s mission statement is “to improve the quality of life for our members.”
Though the shift to remote work during COVID was not the driver for Modern Woodmen to seek out ControlUp, it was definitely good timing. The organization was abruptly forced into managing employees who were all working from home and needed a way to monitor the environment without remoting into people’s computers or running speed tests—metrics that are often either incorrect or don’t provide visibility into what’s actually going on with endpoints.
“Typically, when we get tickets about people’s issues, the first thing we do is look at their endpoints because 95 percent of the time that’s where the issue is: being able to see the latency and being able to see the Wi-Fi signal is huge,” said Adam. “One hundred percent, I would say the Edge DX platform has been extremely transformative in the way we troubleshoot.
For Modern Woodmen’s IT team, a typical issue would be an employee who’s working from home and struggling, generally, with slow speeds. Prior to Edge DX, they’d have been asked to restart their router as a first step. If they were still having issues, support would remote in and run a speed test from an external website, then look at Device Manager, then determine whether the computer was doing Windows updates or a virus scan—a linear process that could take upwards of two hours, depending on the person’s confidence in their technical ability.
Now, issues are solved in “about two minutes,” Adam said, removing the friction that can impact employee productivity AND happiness. “With Edge DX, there’s a ton of information you can get to, but it doesn’t take long. I think a 10-year-old could figure it out,” he added. “It’s really well designed.”
Mr. Brandt described a recent situation with a colleague that in earlier days would have launched a frenzy of troubleshooting. As they moved back to their desks from a 10 a.m. meeting, one laptop stayed connected to the distant wireless access point, causing the Wi-Fi signal to drop in half and latency to skyrocket.
“Being able to zoom in on the historical reports from Edge DX, we could see exactly what had happened at that time in about five minutes. We were able to reconnect him to the nearer access point, his lag went away, Wi-Fi signal came back, latency dropped, and his VDI connection got better,” he explained. “That’s a great example of something that could easily happen to an end-user. We were able to diagnose it 100 percent using Edge DX whereas normally that would have been almost impossible to figure out.”
With ControlUp in place, Modern Woodmen’s team is no longer going down rabbit holes, spending long periods of time troubleshooting with individual users. The time they’re saving can instead be spent on finding better ways to serve their membership and keeping their user base delighted and productive.
“Of all the vendors I have ever worked with, ControlUp support is definitely the best. It’s easy to open a ticket, everyone seems knowledgeable about the system even when it’s brand-new stuff, and your technicians always have the answers,” he said. “I would encourage you to never change your support infrastructure,” he smiled.
Founded in 1883, Modern Woodmen of America is one of the largest fraternal benefit societies in the United States, with nearly 730,000 members. In 2021, total assets equaled US$17.49 billion.
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