Q&A: Computacenter and Munich Re discuss the digital workplace
Technology is rapidly changing the way we live at home and work in the office, from mobiles connecting to central heating systems to virtual desktops assisting contact centre agents in their daily multuichannel interactions.
We spoke to Andreas Toeroek, Head of Group Propositions at Computacenter, about the digital workplace, what this means and how the company helped Munich RE to implement its own version. We also spoke to Dr Dirk Heiss, Global Infrastructure Services Officer at Munich Re, about how this has impacted the group’s operations. First up is Toeroek.
BRE: What does the digital workplace mean to you?
AT: The Digital workplace is the workplace of the future. Technology now has the ability to dramatically transform the workplace environment and be a catalyst for user engagement and collaboration as well as attracting talent. At Computacenter we believe that users are at the heart of our offerings and particularly the digital workplace – ultimately, it is they who use the IT solutions and help drive their company’s productivity and efficiency. Digital Workplace take workplace services to the next level, creating clear benefits for the CIO, the individual employee and of course generating competitive advantage for the business.
How does Computacenter define a successful digital workplace implementation?
New services and technologies only deliver true benefit if they address a specific business and user requirements. Understanding these requirements and making sure the different user types are transparent at the beginning of each digital workplace transformation is key to success. Each organisation is different and it is important to understand each business’ unique priorities and issues before engaging in such wide reaching projects.
Upon implementation users need to understand in detail how the changes affect their daily work lives. According to our customers, the top goals for workplace IT are to achieve increased user engagement and enhance collaboration. As a result, this is how we define a successful digital workplace implementation. If done correctly, this will lead to quantifiable business benefits.
How is the digital revolution impacting your customers?
Many customers are still at an early stage of their digital transformation. Currently they are seeking solutions to an increasingly complex IT environment with shorter development cycles, new stakeholders, continuous transformation and disruptive technologies. What I’m seeing however is that more often than not, customers are looking to carry out small activities on a step-by-step basis towards achieving digitalistion
Introduce the rollout for Munich Re and how it played out.
MunichRe kicked-off their workplace transformation project in 2012 with the aim of significantly increasing levels of user satisfaction and to ensure that their workplace environment was the foundation for future business success. The programme was arranged in two main phases. The first one covered the technological consolidation and rollout of new elements to support the collected user requirements. We supported the rollout of a new mobility platform which included working to grow user adoption. The second phase was started later, in 2015 to implement an appropriate sourcing model that would support an end-to-end managed workplace environment. We piloted the implementation with 100 users in MunichRe’s sales organization.
What are the most common stumbling blocks or specific challenges with a digitalisation project?
Understanding in detail the requirement of the core business and ensuring a joint roadmap moving forward is a key pre-requisite from our perspective. Numerous shadow-IT assessments show, that isolated, silo initiatives without consideration of the required integration to neighbouring solutions are of limited benefit and are likely to become expensive on the long term. For this reason, we recommend that IT organizations and the cores business develop a joint technology and services plan that is flexible and allows agile execution and early prototyping. Thus both parties can jointly learn from small implementations and develop solutions that integrate well with existing platforms.
Case study: Munich Re and workplace digitalisation
BRE: What does the digital workplace mean to you?
DH: Reinsurance underwriting, client management and claims handling require expert knowledge, close collaboration in global, virtual teams and consistent communication with clients and partners across channels like phone, web conferences, e-mail and face to face meetings. The Digital Workplace integrates the tools and services for digital knowledge management, collaboration and communication – and enables our employees to be productive and ultimately improves our bottom-line company result.
How is the digital revolution impacting your employees?
Digitalization will transform the insurance industry as a whole. It not only affects the sales channel with a shift from traditional insurance agent business to online business. Approaches like big data analytics and partnerships with players outside the insurance industry allow new value chains and new risk management solutions like micro-transactions (“insure-as-you-go”) and insurance products embedded into other services. For our employees, this means change in the way we do business and that technology expertise is becoming increasingly relevant.
Were there any stumbling blocks or specific challenges with the project? If so how did you overcome them?
As any large organization, we were struggling with the organizational change required to adopt new working style, collaborating using IT tools and work more flexible in general. One key success factor for us was that we approached the digital workplace project in collaboration with our HR department. HR and IT together with business stakeholders defined new working style, mobility options and IT requirements based on a set of personas who represent typical employees of Munich Re. This helped us in communicating the benefits and educating people about good approaches to use the digital tools in their daily business life.
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.