The field included the ubiquitous Microsoft Office 2003, but Datamation Product of the Year voters in the Desktop Product category this year gave the nod to Desktop Authority from ScriptLogic Corp.
The top vote getter is an interactive and remote-management tool for networked PCs. Users were won over by Desktop Authority’s ease of administration and use.
Jurg Thomas Weiss of Jet Aviation Management AG, used to use a host of remote control products, including Microsoft SMS and Computer Associates’ Unicenter Remote Control. But he stopped using the others when he found ScriptLogic’s Desktop Authority.
”We tried many other products but we replaced everything with Desktop Authority,” says Weiss, director of IT infrastructure for Jet Aviation, a business aviation company in Basel, Switzerland. ”You don’t have to install any client software. All you need is a browser to access the PCs remotely, as long as you are authorized. That’s much easier than the other products.”
Weiss and his team use Desktop Authority to manage the PCs for about 800 users.
Desktop Authority combines logon scripting, security policies and user profile management into a single, graphical management console. It was designed to build on ScriptLogic’s flagship ScriptLogic Enterprise Edition, a suite of desktop administration tools.
Desktop Authority users can check e-mail, make registry changes and manage permissions without additional client software. The administrator only needs a Java-enabled browser to do remote control on any desktop, whether in the office, at home or on the road.
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Using Desktop Authority, administrators can find out exactly what a particular PC is running.
”It’s not just remote control,” says Weiss, adding that it enables IT to quickly fix errant desktop configurations. ”From one console, you can get a lot of information about what’s on the PCs themselves, what servers are running, what drivers are installed.”
Located in Switzerland, Weiss was not able to find a company that offers training for ScriptLogic products. He forged ahead anyway.
”We do our own training,” he says. ”We read the manuals and knowledgebases on the Internet. I was willing to take the risk because the reviews were so positive. It’s really a good product.”
Datamation’s readers’ second favorite desktop product this year was Microsoft Corp.’s Office Professional Edition 2003. Microsoft took a step forward with this Office version, including enhanced collaboration capabilities and XML support.
The software giant also beefed up the navigability of Office, adding a vertical navigation pane on the left side of the screen with the most frequently accessed folders at the top and buttons below linking to popular components such as Mail, Contacts and Calendar.