(a) To identify the problem and select the solution
- It took us about 2 months to evaluate and conduct the RFP process
(b) To plan and implement the solution
- Planning was less than 1 month and the entire implementation took 6 months
(c) Post implementation training, and so forth.
- It was done within the 6 months implementation period itself
In the original news report, you mentioned that Takaful Malaysia's staff was the immediate beneficiary: could you compare and contrast the workflow and work culture before and after using the Microsoft solution?
Yes with System Center, the 950-odd employees at Takaful Malaysia are the main beneficiary as the system has tools to help staff solve many of their own IT issues.
Before the implementation, everything was done manually by the outsourcers via e-mail and excel. Now, it is system driven. User can query the logs online too.
The awareness were triggered at management level, and communicated down via our Portal. Training was conducted for all staff to familiarize with the MSSC and as the interface is very straight forward and user friendly, the adoption and adaptation was quite fast. We made the transition as transparent as possible for the users.
Photo - Takaful Malaysia's Patrick Wong points out some features of the new system.
What were some of the features of the solution that you felt were not right for your company and which you had to customise or localise?
The dashboard was too technical for my liking. Redynamics [the system integrators] understand my point of view and as such, they have assist in developing a high level dashboard. They are really good and can adapt to customer environment. I was informed that they will be have a new version for me sometime middle of this year as they have taken our requirements and enhance it for their customers.
How have all the stakeholder groups responded to this solution?
Since this is internal facing, the internal employees will experience the most changes. We have conducted a survey and we have received positive feedback. We have cut a lot of red tapes which was previously introduced by the outsourcer.
With the entire infra now within our own control, we can move very quickly. Example: if I need to have few Virtual Servers for pilot testing on a Sales initiative, we can do that within one or two days. Previously, we had to comply with the outsourcer SLAs, which could take up to five days at times. This was because the resources from the outsourcer were shared among their clients. All local resources were already pulled out to be place at their data center at Cyberjaya.
What key considerations would you advise new companies must tackle or put in place, if they are considering a similar move?
For every implementation, or decision to insource/outsource, the key three areas to look into are people, process and technology. If any of the components are missing, the implementation will fail. However, the key driver will always be the people and their leadership. In any case, the decision to insource back after few years being outsourced, the management team has to be bold enough to take up the challenge. The existing outsourcer will always sell fear that you do not have the internal capacity or capability to take it up. Hence, once we have the people onboard, everything will fall into places.
Presuming that the Microsoft implementation is part of a longer strategy, what is your overall goal and what are the next steps?
This is only the foundation whereby it touches the infrastructure monitoring. We plan to upgrade our exchange server to 2013, AD to 2012 and SharePoint to 2013. Moving forward, we plan to implement collaboration tools such as Microsoft Lync and we are also looking into IP telephony.
In the last three years we have migrated our end-user computing to Windows 7. Now were also exploring mobile workforce for the sales team so that they can work anytime, anywhere.