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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.

Value Delivered

  • 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.

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Background & Challenges

A leading pharmaceutical company in India improving healthcare with innovation, commitment, and trust. The Company is vertically integrated with the ability to develop, manufacture and market pharmaceutical products, pharmaceutical substances, and intermediates.

The IT infrastructure had grown organically since its inception and it was becoming difficult to manage across three locations, including Corporate and manufacturing locations. It was becoming imperative to upgrade their systems, OS and infrastructure and thereby transform the business capabilities by adopting IT best practices, tools, and architecture. Optimizing and improving the network connectivity between the manufacturing facilities at 3 different locations was required. The in-house IT team found it difficult to keep up with the changing pace of desktop technology, end-user computing devices, security policy implementation, standardization of operating systems and, backing up of end point devices due to lack of skilled in-house resources. The enterprise wanted a partner to implement and manage the VDI setup for 1000 users spread across 3 locations.

Anunta engaged to provide a VDI environment with maximum benefit by improving manageability, security, and enhanced user experience for applications that are accessed by its employees. We also provided centralized remote management and monitoring services for the VDI environment and currently supporting 2700+ users.

Complex IT Management:

Difficulties in managing the complexity of the operations, particularly change management was resulting in lack of end-user satisfaction and productivity loss. Additionally, poor control over the application environment and license compliance requirements further increased IT inefficiencies. IT teams were facing difficulties while managing network issues, server errors, misconfigurations, and security breach.

On-going Monitoring:

There was a lack of continuous monitoring of the virtual desktop environment like user issues, continuous peaks in a day or week, moving averages , consistent utilization level breaches, etc. The IT team wanted deeper insights into the overall health of the IT infrastructure of the company.

Scalability:

The IT team was finding it difficult to ramp up or down the capacity depending on the utilization and to manage any additions or deletions of the user profiles. There was no systematic process for capacity planning and sending capacity-based alerts resulting in delayed response to business needs.

Security:

The solution had to meet the company security requirements and create a complete data protected environment. The client wanted to ensure that the employees had secure access only to profile specific business applications.

What Anunta Did

Anunta identified the use cases and validated the desktop, OS, application requirements, policies, and licensing requirements. Based on information gathered about the applications, desktops, and user distribution landscape, it designed and implemented the virtual desktops on Citrix XenDesktop with Xenserver hypervisor for 300 users initially and additional 700 users with 100% concurrent users. High availability (HA) database servers, connection servers, and UAG servers were setup. The team created three golden images and deployed Key Management Server (KMS) for volume activation of Microsoft products (Windows OS and MS Office).

A cluster of two load balancers were recommended for two datacenters. The load balancers were integrated with VDI infrastructure to provide seamless load balancing and failover. Two Factor Authentication and biometric were integrated for all users to ensure secure access.

The virtual desktops were configured as part of the active directory domain with all group policies including password length, resets, and deletion or creation of users applied. The team ensured the desktops were built as per the security guidelines and applied patches, updates, and hot fixes to the systems with an end-to-end antivirus protection to ensure security.

Anunta designed and implemented end to end monitoring and management of the virtual desktop infrastructure using its cross-domain expertise and remote support capabilities. The ongoing support offered a unified framework for incident, change and problem management for desktop, servers, storage, data center, networks, telecom, and entire spectrum of IT services.

Anunta also provided service desk support services, including incident, problem, change, and patch management for the desktop environment that helped their IT team to focus on core business activities.

Value Delivered

  • Significantly reduce downtime: Our round the clock support service provided the users with quick resolutions to user or performance issues. Our smart monitoring system enabled quicker and proactive issue identification and resolution, allowing the employees to work without any disruptions.
  • Enhanced End user experience: The SLA based solution provided 99.99% of application availability resulting in significantly improved end-user experience and productivity.
  • Centralized IT Infrastructure Management: Adoption of a centrally hosted, remotely monitored model enabled the company to provide enhanced security, increased IT effectiveness and better ROI for IT expenses.
  • Low Cost: The new virtualized infrastructure allowed the pharma company to significantly reduce Opex by a considerable amount.
  • End to End Management: Anunta provided a fully managed solution that included provisioning, integration, configuration, and management of the virtual desktop infrastructure.

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Background & Challenges

Established in 1958, the media group is urban India’s #1 newspaper group and has 6 newspapers with 66 editions. The group has a total readership of 1.26 crores in urban India and a strong presence in the radio business. The media group’s is the largest radio network in India, with presence in 30 cities across 7 states. The digital arm of the group has 9 portals and 4 apps in Hindi, Gujarati, English and Marathi.

The successful implementation of desktop virtualization solution for an initial group of 500 users by Anunta, enabled the media house to quickly take a decision in rolling out the solution to all its 1500+ geographically spread users across 14 cities in India. Additionally, lack of visibility, poor control over the application environment and license compliance requirements further increased IT inefficiencies. Delays in production and print schedules were a constant issue. While virtual desktop infrastructure solutions had the promise to solve many of their problems there were concerns in the senior management about its implementation because successful across-the-board transition in the media industry was almost unheard of.

  • Usage of Heavy Applications: As a media group, its end-users used high I/O applications such as Adobe Creative Suite (primarily InDesign and Photoshop) for design and creative illustrations, and applications such as Matrix and News Wrap for page composing and formatting.
  • Integration: IT teams were unsure whether their legacy peripherals would operate seamlessly in the new environment.
  • Business Impact: There was zero tolerance to any downtime or business interruption as missing deadlines would result in newspaper prints not hitting the stands causing loss of revenue.
  • User Acceptance: The IT teams feared that end-users, mainly journalists, photographers and visualizers, would not easily agree to adopt the new technology resulting in project failure.
  • Change and Patch Management: The company dealt with roughly 80 changes (comprising of font installations, application upgrades, new application roll-outs and browser upgrades) every year, each requiring around 15-20 mins/user and were dependent on system and user availability. Roll-backs were also difficult, painful and time-consuming.
  • License Compliance: Since users were spread across multiple locations, IT managers were not completely aware of the exact user needs, and sometimes ended up installing complete application suites where users required only a few applications to work with.

What Anunta Did

Staring with 500 users initially, with its years of extensive experience in end-to-end implementation and management of virtualization technologies, Anunta designed a virtual desktop solution that not only addressed the group’s IT challenges but also managed to convince the key stakeholders that the virtualization project could be implemented without any disruption to business. This involved designing solution for mainly two distinct set of user groups that included, Corporate and Support functions such as Finance, Accounts, Human Resources and Admin Departments whose requirement for applications were overlapping and compatible to run on a server operating system. The other set of user groups included editors, page makers, photographers who had requirement for common applications that would run on desktop operating systems.

The success of phase I of the deployment led to drastically reduced IT Infrastructure outage providing end users seamless access to their desktops. Basis this, desktop virtualization was rolled out across the group’s existing and new upcoming sites. This involved adding new user groups that include, segmentation of support functions based on their application usability requirement. This meant making available business applications such Adobe, CorelDraw, Open Office, Microsoft office suite per the need of the specific user groups. Anunta created multiple different user profiles and golden images to cater to over additional 500 users across 10 locations using combinations of virtualization technologies. Anunta identified application, compute and storage requirement for each user profile and provided them with only those applications necessary for their profiles.

Anunta further onboarded the remaining 700 users based on the success of phase I. These user profiles were segregated based on their application requirement. These users included, designers, support functions, editors, page makers, and business development. Providing these varied users with consistent and uninterrupted access to the applications in a virtualized environment was extremely complex and required an application architecture design that addresses the needs of specific user groups.

Additionally, Anunta managed the new IT environment for all end-users across the group’s multiple locations. This approach enabled the media group to implement desktop virtualization without administrative complications of dealing with multiple partners, ensuring complete accountability.

Value Delivered

  • Reduced Downtime: Improved application availability and reduced user- reported incidents significantly reduced downtime for the group’s editorial newsroom. This provided journalists with a stable, high-performing environment where they can peruse and create editorials in a timely manner.
  • Anywhere Access: End-users were no longer tied to their physical end points. Also, any breakdown at end points had no impact on end-user’s productivity or production schedules as they could swiftly move to another end-point and resume work with respective customized personal desktop experience.
  • Improved End-User Experience: Anunta’s domain experience in managing virtual desktops led to improved end-user satisfaction & productivity substantiated by consistent real-time customer satisfaction (CSAT) score of above 95%. Additionally, centralized image management ensured users had uniform desktop experience irrespective of where they logged-in from. Over 80% issues were proactively identified and monitored further enhancing end- user experience.
  • Enhanced Application Availability: Continuously improved from 71.6% prior to desktop virtualization to above 99.98%at the end of the second year of operations.
  • Reduced Incident-to-User Ratio: Dropped by 27% from 0.22 to 0.16 even while the number of sites increased. Peak-time and non-peak-time incidents dropped by 31% and 19% respectively.
  • Change Management: Over 250 changes have been handled seamlessly in a span of two years with 15% increase in incidents managed proactively. Today all changes are managed through central provisioning services and are completed within stipulated deadline with easy roll back option, if needed.
  • Centralized Image Management: Centralized golden image management enabled IT to provide all users with function-specific desktop/profile which was not feasible earlier.
  • Significant Cost Reduction: Desktop Virtualization eliminates the need for hardware refresh reducing upfront Capex significantly. Centralized architecture & profile management resulted in an overall reduction in support costs in addition to 70% reduction in power consumption.

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Background & Challenges

The customer is globally renowned company with a massive portfolio of Consumer Products, Luminaires, and EPC (Illumination, Transmission Towers and Power Distribution). It has 18 branch offices and 468 consumer care centers, spread in different parts of India besides being supported by a chain of Dealers and Distributors across the country.

The company was looking at overhauling its distributed IT infrastructure spread across all of its branch offices to a centralized virtual infrastructure in order to improve end-user experience, simplify IT management while reducing the cost of application delivery.

Given the distributed nature of the existing IT infrastructure, the company was facing the following challenges:

  • Poor application availability: The existing application availability stood at a meagre 90%.
  • Tedious IT Management: IT teams were facing difficulties while managing network issues, server errors, misconfigurations, hard- disk failures, virus attacks. Incident-to-user ratios were at an all- time high of 1.2 -2 per user/month.
  • Poor end-user experience: End-users experiences frequent downtime and system crashes causing data loss. Additionally, they also encountered difficulties logging into systems due to weekend maintenance schedules.
  • Technical expertise: Centralization of the IT department, changing pace of desktop technology, end-user computing devices, security policy implementation, standardization of operating systems and, backing up of end point devices were additional challenges faced by the company due to lack of skilled in-house resources.

What Anunta Did

Unlike most solutions that begins at the datacenter and makes its way to the end-user level, Anunta designed an HVD-HSD solution that began at the end-user level and reverse engineered the architecture to implement an IT infrastructure that is measurable and enforceable from an end-user SLA standpoint.

As a part of the onboarding process, end-user profiling was done at multiple levels to determine user application usage, user customization needs, types of applications that need to be delivered, and most importantly the productivity needed from each user group.

Basis this research, Anunta sized datacenter requirements, application architecture dependencies, compliance and security, and management tools. It developed an application delivery architecture that took into account the type of access and the amount of storage required by different user groups. This ensured that task users got the right-sized CPU and high-end users got a fair share of the computing power without comprising on application performance. This also ensured that each user group had access only to necessary applications and resolved compliance issues.

Mobile users were provided with secure gateway options, enabling them to access their systems seamlessly. The senior management was provided with dedicated hosted virtual desktops that allowed room for customization basis their specific requirements. Anunta deployed its proprietary monitoring platform that identified how applications were behaving at the end-user terminal and generated alerts for aberrations, if any.

Beginning with an initial 300 users, Anunta eventually facilitated large scale adoption of close to 1,800 end-users. Further, Anunta’s also provided the company with Managed Services through a core support team, comprising of an end-user experience management team and a service assurance & customer experience management team.

Value Delivered

  • 99% of users reported increased productivity while 100% expressed satisfaction with their end-user computing systems in a post onboarding end-user survey.
  • The month-on-month incident-to-user ratio trend came down to 0.2 – 0.3 incidents per user per month as compared to the earlier ratio of 1 – 1.2.
  • 70% issues are now predicted and prevented even before they impact the end-user.
  • 15% reduction in the cost of application delivery per user per month.
  • Above 99% application availability resulting in significantly improved end-user experience and productivity.

Testimonial

Since bringing Anunta on board, our end-user experience has greatly improved. The Anunta team’s speed of response, proactive management approach and depth of technical knowledge has given us the confidence to fast track our project and explore how we can expand our partnership.

President and CIO

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