Background & Challenges
The company is one of India’s leading private sector life insurance companies with a nation-wide distribution presence through 425 branches, 9 banc-assurance partners, 6 distribution channels, over 83,000 direct selling agents, other Corporate Agents and Brokers.
For the insurer company, digital transformation is tied to achieving its business objectives. It has been extensively busy upgrading its legacy systems and business processes in order to enhance customer acquisition and drive revenue generation. Nearing hardware refresh, the insurer wanted to further accelerate digital innovation by adoption of Cloud technology with a focus on upgrading people- centric systems that would exceptionally enhance their end-user experience, unlock user productivity and drive process efficiency. The insurer wanted to empower its sales force both in-house and 83,000 strong direct selling agents with speedy access to applications and help them process insurance application faster.
In the existing set-up, all company branches were linked via MPLS and DSL link. Simultaneous usage of multiple applications led to bandwidth congestion resulting in application slowness, latency and poor end-user experience. The insurer wanted to centralize its distributed IT infrastructure by adoption of digital technology that can address Capital Expenditure incurred on hardware refresh and enhance user- productivity simultaneously.
The insurer needed a partner to fast-track its digital journey by implementing people-centric systems to help achieve its business objectives and wanted to initially upgrade employee work systems for 1,400 users across 100 geographically spread branches on a pay-as-you-go model. Anunta Technology proposed an end- to-end End-User Computing transformation through adoption of Cloud hosted desktops on Azure (Microsoft Cloud). The success of the initial implementation and management has paved way for future EUC transformation.
Having been in business for nearly two decades, the insurer has an extensive network of branches and partner agents managing its business operations daily. The insurer required much-needed and innovative technology to accelerate its digital transformation journey and address the following challenges in its endeavour to adopt EUC transformation:
- Distributed IT infrastructure made its overall management a tedious and time- consuming process. Operating System (OS) upgrades/migrations were extremely complex with high turnaround time (TAT) making them commercially unviable.
- OS, Patch and Anti-Virus upgrades used to choke bandwidth during normal business hours leading to poor application availability, and latency and brown- outs resulted in poor end-user experience. Any attempt to plan these upgrades during non-business hours had also failed.
- Accessing core business applications and additional new business applications over existing link connectivity clogged bandwidth, resulting in poor end-user experience and negatively impacted their performance.
- The insurer had adopted new age productivity and collaboration applications (Office 365) but realized that the existing infrastructure was not robust enough to adopt these applications.
- Distributed IT infrastructure made it difficult to quicklyrampup/down as every activity hadto be performed manually for additional end-users.
- Anytime, anywhere access of data and applications limited sales force mobility and impacted their performance.
What Anunta Did
Anunta engaged with the insurer to identify ~20 business applications (both legacy and new) for 200 users and conducted 30-day POC to design a Cloud hosted desktop solution (DaaS) on robust Microsoft Azure Cloud. Basis the success of POC for baseline applications, Anunta designed the solution across the board for 1,400 users and 1,000 end-points in the first phase of implementation. Given the insurer’s use case, Azure was the best-suited cloud infrastructure for this transformation.
Anunta designed a secure end to end managed solution on Azure Cloud that include, Citrix Xen Desktop and Firewall implementation, data and Office 365 migration, peripheral integration, monitoring and management of complete VDI stack in the Azure environment. Provisioned for user access, application access, user data backup, performance, troubleshoot & daily administrative tasks. Anunta implemented single sign-on (SSO) for hosted shared desktops to enable end-users with seamless accessibility. All applications were centrally hosted and published across all branches. All workloads were standardized and delivered through dynamic allocation.
The DaaS on Azure solution was first of its kind implementation that induced true mobility (anytime, anywhere accessibility) for the sales team and direct selling agents enabling end-users to access core business applications seamlessly in a secure environment. This helped to improve the company’s overall productivity, while significantly reducing costs by adoption of Azure Cloud on a pay-as-you-go model. The replacement of old desktops with thin clients, resulted in power saving.
- CAPEX Reduction – Adoption of Azure Cloud brought down the Capex involved in hardware refresh and enabled dynamic availability of infrastructure during.
- Seasonal Business Spikes.
- Mobility – Cloud Hosted Citrix XenDesktop on Azure enabled the insurer’s sales force to access data and applications across branch locations seamlessly thereby improving end-user experience and productivity.
- Resource and Time Saving – XenDesktop implementation on Azure Cloud helped to bring down deployment time to 1 week as compared to 4 weeks in case of on- premises.
- Security – Centralized desktop management on Azure cloud helped to secure the virtualized environment preventing data leak and data misuse by end-users.
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity – Provided the insurer with the ability to adopt a Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy without making Capex investment. This enabled performing the periodic DR drill on Cloud without having to invest separately for DR – further adding to the overall savings.
- Centralized Desktop Management – Allowed centralized management of desktops ensuring seamless integration of legacy and new peripheral devices, patch updates, application rollouts/rollbacks and Anti-virus upgrades.
- Smooth Transition to Cloud – Timely and seamless transition of workloads to the Cloud smoothened adoption of new technology by end-users thereby improving mobility, user experience and productivity.