How Zurich Insurance Modernized 3,000 Servers
Client:Zurich Insurance Group
- Zurich needed to refresh and virtualize 3,000 servers at its EMEA data centers and other local service agreement (LSA) locations.
- CSC established a centralized Program Management Office (PMO), using Agile processes integrated in CSC’s Catalyst methodology, to simplify the complexity of the modernization effort, speed refresh times and respond rapidly to Zurich’s changing business
- Zurich enjoys predictable business outcomes as modernization activities are coming in on budget, on time or ahead of schedule, and within scope.
- Zurich now has the flexibility it needs to enter new markets, such as China and Latin America, more quickly and cost-effectively and more easily leverage its vast resources throughout the world.
Agile PMO Delivers Predictable Server Modernization Outcomes on Budget, on Time and Within Scope
Zurich is a leading multiline insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. As part of a global IT services agreement with Zurich — initiated in 2004 and extended in 2009 and 2012 — CSC has helped transform and standardize the insurer’s IT operations and platforms to be scalable for entry into new markets. Zurich now has the flexibility it needs to enter new markets, such as China and Latin America, more quickly and cost-effectively and more easily leverage its vast resources throughout the world.
Challenge: Server Refresh Complexity
To further improve business agility, CSC is helping Zurich transform its global data center environment into a fully modernized, flexible and highly virtualized operation.
A key component of that effort requires the refreshing of 3,000 servers across Zurich’s EMEA data centers and other local service agreement (LSA) locations — a highly complex 2-year modernization effort that we began in 2013. The effort requires 16-plus workstreams, the decommissioning of retired equipment, and thousands of related tasks across Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Switzerland and Russia.
To manage this complexity, CSC’s Project Services team in the Baltics and other delivery centers, working in close collaboration with Zurich’s IT and Program Management Office (PMO) teams, needed to first address a key challenge: Each Zurich data center and LSA location was managed by its own service executive. There was no single PMO to centrally manage the entire EMEA refresh and virtualization effort. There was no centralized system to provide clear visibility into the multiple projects that had to be completed concurrently across all locations.
Solution: Centralized PMO with Agile Processes (Scrum, Kanban)
To efficiently control project scope and track and deliver multiple tasks according to scheduling and budget, CSC established a PPM Services capability, which included a Program Management Office (PMO) that incorporates Agile methods.
Through our PPM and PMO, we leveraged solution architecture and design, data center engineering support, and the deployment of proven processes and procedures, including CSC Catalyst, our Global Project Management Framework (GPMF), and Agile processes that have been successfully used in the market for more than 10 years.
The first step was to employ a Scrum framework that emphasizes empirical feedback and team self-management. Scrum has three roles: PMO Lead/Product Owner, Scrum Master and Project Team. To enable Scrum processes, the PMO Lead/Product Owner, together with the Scrum Master and remaining PMO members, formed a single, unified team across all of Zurich’s EMEA data centers and LSA locations.
“By using Scrum processes, we allow every member of the centralized team to work towards the same shared goal,” says Sarunas Dargelis, CSC’s EMEA Program Manager, Agile Coach and Trainer. “Scrum processes encourage team members to self-organize, giving them the authority to make decisions and readily adapt to changing demands. Our team is able to prioritize project work to deliver the highest level of business value to the client in alignment with business strategies.”
The next step was to employ the Kanban methodology to give every member the ability to quickly track, monitor and analyze thousands of ongoing project activities. Using Kanban processes, the team was able to display various ongoing requirements through emails, Word documents and spreadsheets — through a simplified graphical board.
“Another Agile deliverable example was a dashboard that displays and tracks the status of all workstream key milestone activities, monitors schedules and deadlines, and grades performance,” says Dargelis. “It gives team members and senior stakeholders convenient access to the information they need to systematically analyze and prioritize their activities — and adjust quickly in response to urgent client requests.”
To help all stakeholders master best practices and advance modernization excellence, CSC University is providing all team members with Scrum and Kanban training and certification. One additional requirement: Our solution had to integrate with Zurich’s existing PMO, which is a key organization that sits between the CSC and Zurich refresh programs. It was essential that all programs and projects comply with Zurich’s Agile policies and procedures.
Result: Greater Business Agility, Predictable Business Outcomes
Zurich’s modernization effort is being delivered with minimal costs, waste and time. PMO modernization activities are coming in on budget, on time or ahead of schedule, and within scope. And the team is able to respond rapidly to urgent client requests.
When Zurich sold part of its general insurance retail business in one of the EMEA countries, the project team needed to segregate that division’s servers and applications quickly. Thanks to our dashboard, we had 100 percent awareness of every server and every application assigned to that division, and our team was able to quickly establish a seamless project plan to segregate that division’s IT estate in the most efficient, timely and low-risk manner. The effort took fewer than 2 weeks — the standard Scrum iteration — and brought both parties into alignment.
In another case, we accelerated the refresh of Windows servers to help Zurich avoid Microsoft’s increased end-of-life support costs. Because the team had detailed access to information on each Windows server, we were able to determine the scope of the refresh effort and create a transparent, accelerated workstream to quickly address Zurich’s business needs.
With Agile PMO-initiated activities on schedule or ahead of schedule, Zurich’s business partners and third-party contractors are better able to manage their own schedules and planning.
A key benefit of the effectiveness of our solution: We greatly strengthened our relationship with Zurich, in particular Zurich’s PMO. Zurich’s PMO has adopted CSC Agile PMO best practices and works in close collaboration on a daily basis.