Customer Success Story ZEISS: Seamless IT documentation as basis for fault-free IT and business processes

Carl Zeiss AG is an international leader in the development and manufacture of optics and optoelectronics. Flawless IT infrastructure is business-critical for the company; production operations in its factories must be totally reliable. To achieve this, IT staff require a comprehensive overview of the infrastructure at all times and across all sites, enabling them to locate and rectify any faults without delay. Seamless documentation of physical components is thus of crucial importance for the company.

ZEISS relies on the cloud-based FNT Command Platform solution for this purpose. The software also supports the company’s international expansion strategy. The technology firm is planning to invest millions in new high-tech development and production sites, with the associated infrastructure planning being based on data from FNT. The solution enables enterprise-wide transparency and smooth IT and business processes.

Restructuring is only possible with precise knowledge of the IT infrastructure

ZEISS began a worldwide restructuring of the group’s IT systems in 2012. As part of this restructuring, the existing IT landscape, including all the components and physical systems, should be accurately mapped. The detailed inventory is a prerequisite for real-world planning of future locations. What’s more, reliable data on the existing infrastructure was essential for group-wide rollout of new technologies, such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). To support its upcoming construction projects and ongoing development of existing plants, the technology company needed a detailed overview of its entire IT infrastructure across all 53 sites throughout Germany. The existing documentation was patchy and inconsistent. It was housed in multiple applications, ranging from Excel to PowerPoint to semi-professional documentation tools, in heterogenous formats.

Decision for professional IT documentation software from the cloud

When the ZEISS IT team began systematically documenting all the physical systems, starting at group headquarters in Oberkochen, Germany, they quickly ran into obstacles. A professional software solution was required. The FNT Command Platform was selected. Today, physical components such as racks, cabling, switches, and routers, as well as network connections are captured in this software. The depth of the documentation depends on the size of the ZEISS location; the larger the location, the more detailed the documentation, because complexity increases with size.

One tool – many advantages

By using the FNT Command Platform, ZEISS benefits from numerous advantages:

  • End-to-end transparency across the entire IT infrastructure at the sites already documented:
    Due to the detailed overview of the physical IT components, incidents and faults can be precisely localized and effective countermeasures can be taken before major damage occurs.
  • Efficient collaboration of all stakeholders involved:
    External partners such as engineers or help desk service providers also document directly in FNT Command. This creates a central, consistent database that can be used to manage partners efficiently.
  • Managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:
    At the beginning of lockdown, some 10,000 of the company’s 13,000 staff in Germany had to work from home. Thanks to seamless documentation, within a few days and without any major issues, ZEISS was able to hook up home workspaces and roll out collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams.
  • Defense against a cyberattack:
    When numerous cyberattacks by the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm took place in May 2017, FNT Command Platform enabled ZEISS to precisely identify all at-risk clients via the location of their documented ports and isolate them from the network as a precaution.
  • Inventory with a few mouse clicks:
    As part of a construction project, a service provider needed an inventory of the existing physical infrastructure components in the location involved and called for a five-figure budget to create it. Exporting it from the FNT system instead required only a few mouse clicks and saved several thousand euros.

Read the full Customer Success Story to find out exactly how ZEISS tackled the documentation of its IT infrastructure and which further documentation projects ZEISS is planning.