Systemgroup Consulting Inc.for Enterprise Solution

City: Mississauga
Province: ON

Provide a brief description of the Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative.

Financial services companies are looking for ways to modernize cumbersome and inflexible infrastructures so that they can compete with better products, better product innovation and superior customer service. the client (Insurance) wanted to replace old technology built on siloed point solutions, introduce self-service and real-time business transactional processes so that innovation could flourish. They had an idea for a “Health Assist Initiative” which provides health benefits for some of our society’s most marginalized families and individuals. To deliver this, the clientwanted a platform with a low TCO that could be rolled out in record time and provide self-service options for users. Systemgroup introduced the clientto the power of SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012, which could be easily integrated to their back-office Oracle system. At the same time we introduced an Azure development platform for the clientto use going forward for its test/dev initiatives. This public cloud would provide an available and scalable test/dev environment on a “pay as needed” basis. Providing affordable health benefits to Canadians is what the client is all about. As Canada’s only national not-for-profit benefits specialist, they offer health and dental programs to employers and individuals. But their reason for being is even bigger than that.The client’s mission is to empower their employees to generate innovative ways to improve access to better health for all Canadians. This means the most marginalized in our society such as the unemployed, low-income, single parent families and even self-employed and small business owners. Empowering employees to innovate means running a lean and efficient organization, but hampered by siloed data, aging infrastructure and a rigid mainframe-based CIS system, staff were duplicating efforts and customers were forced to use a variety of methods including manual ones to apply for and process benefits claims. The board of directors at the clientmandated a new initiative – the Health Assist Initiative– to easily reach, invite and approve coverage for these groups of underserved Canadians. the clientneeded a seamless and transparent solution that would support the full life-cycle of benefit applications, approval of coverage, claims submissions, payment and reimbursement. It needed to be secure and accessible from any device. It needed to integrate in real-time with their Oracle CIS system and it needed to be delivered within a fixed budget in a short period of time. Systemgroup met with the clientto discuss the right approach for the Health Assist Initiative. The Health Assist Initiative would provide full self-service capabilities for members including, ID card download, claims information and submission, eligibility requirements, account balances, payment authorization and direct deposit support. Systemgroup recommended SQL as an ideal platform what would be agile, secure, easy to use, accessible across multiple devices, fast time-to-market and low cost of ownership. Systemgroup began the process with a tailored demo (SIE or Server Immersion Experience) to introduce the clientto the power of SQL 2012 including workflow, integration capabilities, security features, business intelligence capabilities and ease of use for users. They also tested the SQL Server and Oracle integration – enabling the seamless flow of client information required. the clientproject team members estimated that by selecting the Microsoft platform instead of extending Oracle, this solution delivered twice the capability at half the cost and one-third the time to deliver. The Oracle solution would have required 33,000 hours of effort while the Microsoft solution was delivered at less than 10,000 hours.
Describe what makes this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative original or innovative.
The client told us that they found our approach refreshing. We used SIE (Server Immersion Experience), sessions so that they could easily see how the Microsoft technology was the right fit for them –one that would integrate well into their existing heterogeneous network environment. By beginning with an SIE, they felt they had all of their critical questions addressed up front with no risk to them. Once we started the project, we introduced them to our agile development methodology. The client was used to a waterfall approach but they liked what they believed was our “disciplined, yet modern” style. With agile, this allowed requirements gathering and finalization alongside architecture and development. We encouraged the client to adopt agile internally and helped them establish a new development environment. the clienthas now created a Windows Azure ALM / EPM environment for the development of new applications and projects across their enterprise. Leveraging their Software Assurance dollars, POC funding and their EA agreement the clientwas able to deploy an enterprise grade ALM/EPM environment at zero dollar investment from them. We have now used this as a model for other customers and have presented jointly with the customer at events. “Microsoft and Systemgroup enabled us to build a state-of-the-art development environment taking advantage of cloud services to spin up test machines and build servers on demand.” the client.
Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s sales or revenues. What changed?
Provide evidence of measurable improvements in sales, revenues, cost reduction, etc.
The client has not released any sales figures around this project.
Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s efficiency. What changed?
Provide evidence of how customer efficiency was increased.
When we first met with the clientthey had pockets of old Microsoft technology (early 2000) for inefficient point solutions and relied heavily on their Oracle CIS and manual processes to solve all of their business problems. There was an internal belief system that Microsoft technology did not have the capability they required and we had to address a lot of personal bias. Our approach was to really showcase the Microsoft technology at its finest – and that meant spending time to clearly identify the goals of the client before we showed them any software. Once we understood the objectives, we designed an SIE – Server Immersion Experience that showcased: • Executive Dashboards – how quickly and easily business intelligence could be accessed and manipulated using familiar Microsoft technology all built on top of a powerful database engine – SQL Server 2012. • Rapid Development – how TFS and Visual Studio could provide them with a superior development environment and speed up their time to market • Reduced cost of ownership – how the combination of software and services with a Microsoft solution integrated to their Oracle CIS would deliver the best solution • Reduced cost of ownership – how training and the learning evolution for their staff would be minimal • Reduced cost of ownership – reduced maintenance and support costs with the Microsoft platform • Flexibility – Using Azure as a test/dev environment provided options for this and other projects that the client had not even considered prior to meeting with us • During the SIE, we introduced the client to Office 365– we are now working with the client to migrate them to this solution. Our meetings and SIE resulted in a road-map for this project along with a parallel Azure roadmap for their test/dev environment. The technology used in this project includes: • The solution built on .Net Framework 4. • Frontend eCommerce Web site built on ASP.Net MVC 4 • Backend Administration system built on WPF 4.0 • Middle tier services built on WCF 4.0 • Database: Oracle 11G, SQL Server 2012 • Azure Cloud Services Hardware: • Web tier farm: 3 virtual servers with 2 Xeon CPUs and 4GB of RAM (Windows 2008 R2), • Middle tier farm: 2 virtual servers with 2 Xeon CPUs and 2GB of RAM (Windows 2008 R2) , • DB: Oracle DB 11g on Power 5 (AIX) Reliability and availability: • The architecture supports 99.99% availability by design due to utilization of Load Balanced Active/Active Windows 2008 R2 Cluster approach for Web and Middle Tiers with Shared Session managed by State Server. Scalability: • The system supports scale up scenarios due to utilization of the virtual machines in Active/Active cluster. • Scale out scenarios can be supported by adding more servers to the web or mid-tier clusters. When number of concurrent sessions will exceed capacity of single state server, it is possible to leverage Session State Partitioning technique in order to spread the load between several State Servers . Transactional volume: 1000 visits per day.
How did this Solution, Service provided, or Initiative improve the customer’s ability to serve its internal and/or external clients?
Provide evidence of the improvement.
the clientproject team members estimated that by selecting the Microsoft platform instead of extending Oracle, this solution delivered twice the capability at half the cost and one-third the time to deliver. The Oracle solution would have required 33,000 hours of effort while the Microsoft solution was delivered at less than 10,000 hours. Systemgroup has a long history of providing value-based services to its client base. The following showcase our evidence for customer excellence through awards, case studies and customer testimonials. Awards Systemgroup has won or been a finalist in 14 awards – 6 of these in the past year. Here is a list of our award wins and finalist recognition •2013 Winner Country Partner of the Year – Microsoft WPC for Canada •2013 Finalist Humanitarian Partner of the Year – Microsoft WPC •2012 Winner Worldwide Data Platform Partner of the Year – Reporting/Analysis/Integration Solution for Healthcare •2012 Finalist Canadian Business Intelligence Partner – Advance Analytics •2012 Finalist Canadian Sustainability Partner – Advance Analytics •2012 Finalist Canadian Portals & Collaboration Partner – SharePoint Remediation & Governance •2012 Winner GOLD – CDN Channel Elite Award – Best Collaborative Solution •2012 Finalist BoT Business Excellence Award – Global Reach Category •2011 Finalist Canadian Business Intelligence Partner – Operational Reporting Solution for Mining •2010 Winner Canadian Data Management Solution – Electrical Utility Data Integration Solution •2009 Finalist Canadian Business Intelligence Solution – pulseAnalytics Performance Management for Healthcare •2008 Finalist Canadian Custom Development Solution – Collision Reporting and Analytics solution •2008 Winner Canadian Business Intelligence Partner — Hospital Balanced Scorecard •2007 Winner Canadian Data Management Solution – Banking Call-Centre Electronic Scorecard •2005 Winner Canadian Integrated eBusiness Solution – Collision Reporting Solution •2005 Winner Worldwide Integrated eBusiness Solution – Collision Reporting Solution Videos Systemgroup featured our customer HudBay in a video overview of their SQL 2012 application for mining. Testimonials 4 or 5 testimonials “Systemgroup proved themselves as a trusted advisor, helping us define the areas of improvement to our business and matching that with the value of the Microsoft TFS platform. We are delighted with the results and have used the results to set our course forward with TFS in order to function more collaboratively, reducing our operational costs and increasing our efficiencies.” Gordon Stack – Transamerica “The BI solution Systemgroup designed for us has been deployed at multiple mine sites around the globe. Streamlining our data and consolidating multiple sources into a single operational datastore, we are enhancing our data analysis capabilities. Where before we spent 80% collecting and 20% analyzing, we will be focusing 80% of our time on data analysis as the powerful features of SQL Server enable data integration, ad hoc reporting and static reporting all delivered through familiar front-end tools, giving us operational insight into the mines.” Mike Jankowski – HudBay Minerals “With the new BI solution delivered by Systemgroup and running on the Microsoft SQL 2012 platform we are transforming our business. We now have a real-time tool that will enable us to make business decisions based on accurate information. Information that will allow us to deliver on our new 2012 Performance Agreement with the Government of Ontario, serving the people of Ontario.” Andrew Lemon – Ornge “Before Systemgroup implemented SQL 2012, we were operating on a variety of systems and Excel spreadsheets. Numbers often didn’t agree and we were reluctant to trust the data. This impacted our ability to make the right business decisions – we just didn’t have the information and there were too many sources to try and pull the right data together manually. The new solution has freed us to deliver on our mandate to the people of Ontario. It’s a relief to finally be able to focus on doing what we do best.” Andrew Lemon – Ornge “SARBU Energy Report showcases the ORS platform. It employs Microsoft SQL server integration services and Report services technologies. By collecting data from over 6 different source systems, the reports provide energy/production performance (KPIs) of all equipment in the Barrick South American Region. It will serve as the benchmark against which energy and greenhouse gas reduction projects will be measured against.” Marc Lefebvre – Barrick Gold Case Studies Systemgroup has several published case studies that are documented here.
In what ways does this Solution or Service Provided go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
Our approach was to provide a detailed onsite Server Immersion Experience which is a cross between a demo and a POC. Using the customer’s own data in their environment we were able to test out the high risk factors of the project as well as showcase the capabilities of our recommended solution prior to the client making a decision. We were able to secure funding from Microsoft to help defer the cost of implementation which reduced their risk and lowered overall project costs. Finally, we introduced them to a hybrid cloud model by establishing a test/dev environment using Azure. This approach ensures test/dev is always available but is only paid for when it is being used.
How does this solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
As a new product fully automated on line and with self-service capabilities, this solution means no paper is required to process applications.


Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Curtis Sheppard
Curtis Sheppard
Curtis Sheppard is an online marketing and social media expert who helps businesses develop and fine tune their Internet and social network campaigns. He was originally studying to become an Anglican minister when spirits of a different kind beckoned and he ended up handling the IT infrastructure, Web development and social media program of Rodrigues Winery/Sedna Nutra. in Newfoundland. Now conducting web development and social media marketing for Ossetra, a Newfoundland cosmoceutical company.

Related Tech News

Get ITBusiness Delivered

Our experienced team of journalists brings you engaging content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives delivered directly to your inbox.