From ground to cloud, first in the World – the Finnish financial giant OP Financial Group executed a unique IT service integration
In the financial sector, IT isn’t just a support function but the backbone of the whole business. That’s why IT development projects in this sector are even more strategic than in other fields.
So, there were many challenges when Finland’s biggest finance group OP started outsourcing in an exceptionally large scale. The outsourcing aimed at achieving annual savings of 20 million euros, and consequent to it, 500 employees were transferred to the service of new employers.
There were plenty of moving parts. Part of the application development and maintenance was outsourced to consultation company Accenture, and insurances to ICT service company CGI. Also Tieto and Fujitsu were included. This meant that most of the Finland’s most significant outsourcing partners were involved.
Time schedule was tight.
“The project was started at fall 2013, and the whole package was planned to be ready in March 2014. The service integrations were part of the overall project, and their deployment between the three service providers took only three months”, says Vice President of Common-ICT Services Marika Lindström.
One common operating model, control of data in all situations
The challenge was to integrate the services so that the processes and tools used by different parties implement the same use cases and the information is transferred smoothly from one operator to another.
In the complex entity every operator had their own ITSM (Service Desk) tools and customized processes. In addition, information was in both in Finnish and English. Also the volume was high: tens of thousands error and service tickets are created every month.
“Our starting point was that the outsourcing partners adapt to our operating model and not the other way round”, says Lindström.
“Additionally, it was important that we maintained the control of the data.”
Help from the cloud
The traditional point-to-point integration would have been too complicated due to the amount of service providers as well as the movement of the tickets not only between OP and the service providers but also between the different service providers, and also the tight schedule wouldn’t have allowed it. After comparisons and surveys OP ended up to utilize the new SaaS solution of Finnish Service-Flow. The cloud based solution makes the operations significantly easier and faster compared to the traditional model, but the biggest benefit is the service management ecosystem built by Service-Flow.
• the ground breaking service of Service-Flow shortens the deployment times to a fraction
• Less resources are needed to work with interfaces and firewalls, which frees resources to the actual work
The SaaS solution of Service-Flow provides ready interfaces for both the most common ITSM applications and the biggest service providers – the role of Service Flow is to act as a silent translator and intermediate between them. All parties can keep their existing tools and processes but information related to the service processes is moved centralized and fast to correct locations, translated and forwarded by Service-Flow.
Also the outsourcing service providers used by OP and interfaces to ITSM tools existed already in Service-Flow.
Time for the essential
The model simplifies the deployment work as well as the end user’s life.
During the deployment, the ready-made interfaces guarantee that the software projects for system integrations are not needed, nor any additional software or hardware acquisitions. The time freed from interface problems, opening of firewalls and integration development can be used for implementation of use cases.
The integrated processes make also possible that the user can receive support services from one place instead of having to contact each service provider separately.
“When technical ping-pong is played between the service providers and applications and situations are sorted out, the ping-pong is played behind the scene. The end user doesn’t have to care about it”, says Lindström.
The other benefits of SaaS model are continuous maintenance, development and supervision as well as lower life cycle expenses and reusability and flexibility.
First of its kind in the World
“The IT environment of OP is quite complex. If you exaggerate a little, you can say that we are using almost all technologies of the World”, Lindström laughs.
Multi provider environment is challenging enough already from the perspective of the field, and the big cultural change that OP started brought extra challenges. The new operating environment requires commitment, understanding of the customer and completely new way of working together from all of the parties. When you add the very different and international organizations, tools and operating models, we are talking about a very unique IT service production environment even in a global perspective.
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