Global Insurance Enterprise
Branch Office Transformation: Delivering the Value of Enterprise Architecture

Background

WhiteSpider, specialists in Enterprise Architecture, had been working with a global insurance company for several years to develop a library of architectural standards for IT infrastructure. Based on TOGAF principles and delivered through WhiteSpider’s ea4 framework, these standards enabled the business to standardise the technology it uses across all areas of their global IT infrastructure, including Data Centres, Compute, Virtualisation, Wireless, and Branch Office.

At a glance

  • The largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer in the world required a large-scale office migration and a complete network refresh.
  • There were considerable time constraints and there had to be zero downtime.
  • This project was successfully completed according to a tight time scale delivering considerable OpEx savings, improved network performance whilst reducing complexity and simplifying management.

Situation

In order to reduce overhead costs, the North American division of the global insurance company had begun a project to consolidate their branch office estate. In New Jersey, USA, the business had two offices (Office 1 and Office 2). As part of this project, Office 1 and Office 2 were to be combined – the staff at Office 2 were to be moved to the Office 1, which would now need to accommodate 3,000 staff. As well as reducing costs, this project would provide significant operational benefits; for example, encouraging greater collaborative working.

From an IT perspective, this project presented a significant challenge; the existing network infrastructure at Office 1 was not designed to cope with such a huge increase in users and – if left unchanged – this would have severely impacted performance. To prevent this, the insurance company needed to refresh and redesign the entire LAN infrastructure at Office 1. This work needed to be completed before the lease at Office 2 expired in 4 months’ time.

Digital transformation

Turning strategy into reality through the effective use of IT.

Engagement

To complete the project, the global insurance firm needed to engage with an organisation that could respond quickly, had an excellent understanding of their business and a high level of technical expertise. It approached WhiteSpider, confident in the team’s expertise and ability to respond to complex challenges at short notice.


WhiteSpider was tasked to design and install a new network infrastructure (including LAN, WAN and WLAN) at Office 1, and manage the migration to the new network. This project had to be carried out in line with the business’s requirements: the project needed to be completed with no disruption to the business and users could not experience any connectivity issues.


The project was also made even more challenging because areas of Office 1 were undergoing refurbishment; WhiteSpider’s engineers had to plan and work around the different construction projects on site.

WhiteSpider are consummate technical experts and design authorities for all things network and security related. Their capability and technical solutions, in both operational and architectural disciplines, are second to none. They have vast experience in data centres, security & networks and the results they deliver are nothing short of outstanding.

Vice President of Enterprise Infrastructure Architecture & Engineering

Solution

In this project, the planning stage was particularly important; careful planning allowed the latter stages of the project, including migrating new staff, to run smoothly.


During the initial engagement, WhiteSpider worked with IT teams to perform a comprehensive audit of the LAN network and with business stakeholders to understand the site from a commercial perspective, considering business drivers and strategic goals.


Following this process, WhiteSpider had all the information required to create a network design: branch office architectural standards, detailed audit information, and business requirements. WhiteSpider produced High and Low-Level Designs and an implementation plan.

The solution WhiteSpider proposed was based on Cisco hardware and included:


  • More than a hundred 3850 core and access switches
  • A hundred 3802 wireless access points
  • Over 6,000 network connections

Once the final network designs were approved, WhiteSpider adopted an agile approach to deliver the project, planning the installation and migration thoroughly. The project needed to be completed within a very short timescale and with no disruption to everyday operations; therefore, the team constructed the new network in parallel to the existing network, working after office hours to bring the new infrastructure online and migrate users across.

Outcome

WhiteSpider completed the installation and migration within the short timescale permitted and did not disrupt day-to-day working at Office 1. This successful outcome was achieved because of WhiteSpider’s detailed audit, design and project management. Only by doing this could the teams react to changes on site and deliver the project to schedule.


Since this project was successfully completed, WhiteSpider has continued to work with the team at Office 1, providing ongoing services and support for their new network platform. WhiteSpider has also worked with insurance company to adjust the network design to meet changing business requirements. The final solution added value to the insurance business in a number of ways:


  • Reduced costs and improved agility through Architectural standards. In shortly over 3 months, WhiteSpider successfully completed the audit, design, planning and implementation of a large branch office network refresh and office migration. This project was completed on time because WhiteSpider and the insurance firm had already worked to complete a set of architectural standards.
  • Reduced complexity through efficient design. The network design was developed using Cisco best practice and audit data collected by WhiteSpider. It was specifically created to ensure it was simple and efficient to make changes and find faults.
  • High business productivity. As WhiteSpider was able to deliver the solution on time, with no downtime and with no impact on users, business productivity was maintained during the whole project.
  • Improved network performance. The solution included a full network refresh of the site, based on the latest technology and design, improving the overall performance and visibility of the network infrastructure.

This was a very complex project and we were up against it in terms of time. WhiteSpider simplified the whole process – their expertise and planning allowed the project to run as smoothly as possible.

About WhiteSpider

Established in 2012, WhiteSpider specialises in providing consultancy, strategic advice, and practical support in enterprise service architectures. The company helps organisations to standardise their IT and communications infrastructures by using a unique new service framework – ea4 – developed specifically with the needs of global enterprises in mind. Headquartered in the UK, WhiteSpider works with global companies across a range of industry sectors, including financial services, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, construction and motorsport.

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