Photo (filepic) - Patrick Wong, CIO, Takaful Malaysia
Malaysian Islamic insurance firm Takaful Malaysia's switch to in-house IT infrastructure management by using of Microsoft System Center 2012 has already resulted in an efficiency increase of 40 percent and a 27 percent IT operating cost reduction, it said.
Takaful Malaysia chief information officer Patrick Wong said this overall improved business agility was the result of ending an outsourcing arrangement that had been in place since 2008 and putting its IT infrastructure and end user computing under the company's own IT team.
With the previous IT service provider, there was often a delay in response to service requests because of the manual intervention that is needed, Wong said. "In our business, IT is what differentiates us from our competitors. We are on the constant lookout to improve our IT infrastructure to better support our employees in their job, which in turn allows us to provide better services to our end customers."
"Our employees rely on top-grade IT services to accomplish that, thus fast and effective IT support is central to their success," he said, adding that Takaful Malaysia's top management found it difficult to monitor the performance of the provider against service level agreements (SLAs) because reporting was also done manually.
"We examined three different solutions that would enable us to automate IT service desk and infrastructure support for all operational systems internally, and needless to say, System Center came out tops," Wong said.
The Microsoft solution was installed by Malaysian system integrator Redynamics Asia System Management whose managing principal consultant, Raymond Chou, said, "We worked very closely with the Takaful Malaysia's IT team to find a solution that enables a more agile, efficient and robust IT infrastructure for the company, and managed to deploy it all within Takaful Malaysia's timeframe and budget parameters. As a result, Takaful Malaysia is now reaping the benefits of its decision to bring IT in-house."
Chou said the deployment included System Center Service Manager, which serves as the main service-management tool for incident and problem resolution. Takaful Malaysia also opted for System Center Orchestrator, which uses workflows to assign tasks to available IT engineers. In addition, Microsoft System Operations Manager, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, and System Center Endpoint Protection completed the present setup.
Staff are the main beneficiary
Takaful Malaysia's Wong said the previous IT provision needed more than 24 on-site staff and 6 tower leads to manage these engineers. Unfortunately, the tower leads did not understand the business, leading to wrong decisions.
Following the decision to bring IT infrastructure management in-house meant that Takaful Malaysia could reduced the total IT staffing requirement by 7 staff as well as cut licensing costs, which resulted in an overall 27 percent reduction in IT infrastructure and support expenditure.
"We analyzed all the costs - including licensing and staffing - on the basis of three-year and five-year time spans, and compared the costs of managing IT in-house with System Center as opposed to extending our IT infrastructure outsourcing contract," he said. "When we factored in everything, it was clear we could manage our IT more cost effectively in-house - and do a better job!"
With System Center, the 950-odd employees at Takaful Malaysia are the main beneficiary, said Wong. The system has tools to help staff solve many of their own IT issues.
This increased automation resulted in faster resolutions, he said. "Overall, we've reduced our average resolution time by 40 percent. As for managing PCs and servers, it now requires far less effort, and the IT team can track IT inventory, deploy software and enforce compliance more easily."
"Automated workflows have also eliminated many manual Helpdesk tasks, so IT support staff receive instant notifications of priority tasks," said Wong. "As the CIO, I also have a dashboard that shows me exactly how all systems are performing and instantly alerts me to any breach of our SLAs. If anything goes wrong with our core systems, it tells me straight away. Now I feel much more in control; I know the health of my IT services at a glance."