A Successful IT Integration for AMP and AXA
Client:AMP and AXA
- Consolidate IT infrastructures of two merging, industry-leading organizations
- Create and manage a transition plan, including corporate governance
- Avoid business disruptions during the merger and IT consolidation
- A dedicated, specialized governance structure
- Five-point plan for consolidation of IT infrastructure
- Successful integration completed within budget and on time
- 20% reduction in infrastructure costs
- Systems in place to enable the merger
Three years ago, AMP Ltd., a financial-services company based in Sydney, Australia, was readying itself for an upcoming merger with AXA Asia Pacific Holdings. The stakes were high. The merger, if successful, would create the largest financial services supplier on the continent.
The AMP-AXA merger was in fact completed in March 2011, and today AMP is the biggest wealth-management company in Australia and New Zealand, with more than 5,800 employees. It provides clients with services that include financial advice, “superannuation” (mainly retirement plans), personal insurance and banking products. While managing AU$179 billion in assets for its customers, AMP had revenue in its most recent fiscal year of AU$1.23 billion.
A Trusted Partner
Working behind the scenes to help AMP navigate the IT channels of this merger was CSC. AMP and CSC had partnered on other projects over nearly two decades. In fact, just before the merger with AXA, AMP had been renegotiating its infrastructure-outsourcing contract with CSC.
To prepare for the merger with AXA, CSC and AMP initially decided that they would need a clear transition plan. So CSC identified five IT areas as key transition areas:
- Compute: mainframes, midrange servers and storage
- Personal computing: desktops, laptops and printers
- Networks: both voice and data
- Service management
In each of these areas, CSC then identified postmerger opportunities to eliminate duplicate functions. “We needed to drive down costs for a good reason,” says Sharmini Sivathas, IT director for service management at AMP. “We would have had two of everything.”
Even more important, Sivathas knew, would be creating a strong plan for governance during the merger’s transition. “This was one of the key success factors,” she explains. “We thought long and hard, and we worked with the CSC team, which had seen examples of what worked and what didn’t, to make sure we had executive sponsorship well defined, steering committees, and an appropriate and pragmatic view of what the project team could do.”
Establishing the Transition Program
The CSC team soon realized that AMP also needed a plan for transitioning the IT staff. So it created what became known as the Knowledge Transfer Program to ensure that all project teams would have the knowledge they needed at each merger milestone. This, in turn, would ensure that the transition ran smoothly, that business continuity was maintained, and that the impact on the business and staff would be minimal.
The CSC team next established individual technology-transition programs for AMP’s mainframes, midrange systems, personal computing systems, service management, networks, data center and cybersecurity. For each of these technology categories, CSC evaluated the various systems and services run by AMP, AXA and even CSC itself. Then CSC created a transition plan to consolidate these systems wherever it made sense.
The overall scope was enormous, involving more than 3,000 PCs, 300 printers, 800 servers and 300 software applications. Some of the projects had a global reach, too. For example, as part of the plan, selected AXA mainframes based in the United States were targeted for migration to CSC’s data center in Clayton, Australia, a suburb of Melbourne. Similarly, AMP’s Level 2 (lower priority) service desk in Melbourne was transitioned to a CSC facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. CSC also assumed management of AXA’s data-network services and consolidated them with AMP’s to create a single network.
“As you can imagine, bringing two organizations together from every aspect — people, processes and the underlying infrastructure — was a fairly complex exercise,” Sivathas says. “Bringing them together was no mean feat.”
‘A Very Successful Project’
Despite the high level of complexity and the many opportunities it presented for something (even many things) to go wrong, CSC’s integration project for AMP was an overwhelming success.
Integration of the infrastructure services under a single service contract was achieved three months ahead of schedule. The CSC team even agreed to accelerate the schedule, taking over all remaining services early, thereby freeing AMP from that work and further reducing its risk.
The integration program also met all its committed costs and benefits. The work was delivered within budget. And it achieved the operational efficiencies that AMP’s IT group had promised to the rest of the business.
Finally, during the actual integration, there were no disruptions of business service and only minimal service outages. “What was required of the infrastructure integration was that it be done in a seamless way, and that we got cost efficiencies,” Sivathas says. “What CSC was able to bring to the table was the experience and expertise to enable us to do that. It was a very successful project.”