Insurance giant a.s.r. is known for offering financial products covering a wide range of insurance and pension programs..
Dutch Insurance Company Automates Incident Management
Improving upon a reliable but costly and resource-heavy control center to keep networks and websites running at full capacity around the clock.
With OnSolve®, a.s.r. can now reach technicians and escalate incident tickets smoothly, despite a reduction in headcount.
The company has improved incident management and recognized significant savings with automated mass notification.
The World of Insurance
As one of the largest insurers in the Netherlands, a.s.r. provides just about every type of insurance. Like many companies of its size, a.s.r. has grown through the acquisition of other outstanding companies, which means it has a variety of systems and websites that require constant attention to manage and support. Continuity and trust are of great importance to a.s.r., as well as to its customers. To ensure that trust, a.s.r. systems and sites must be available at all times; if they are compromised or threatened in any way, swift attention must be paid to return everything to working order.
The Problem: Incident Management Outside of Business Hours
As the business world has increasingly become an online world, customer expectations are that every business is available every hour of every day. And with the right kind of Web presence, that’s easier to pull off than ever before. But now and then things happen, systems lag, website response is delayed, or even worse, online commerce grinds to a halt. To Frans Boejé, monitoring specialist, I&O monitoring and security at a.s.r., those lags are unacceptable. To avoid just such a situation, a.s.r. used personnel from the control center that had been in place since the time of large mainframe systems. Since systems have become more automated these days, the operators were spending most of their time monitoring the IT environment. In the case of a website being down or a network lag, the team of 16 operators who comprised the control center began calling technical engineers to find someone who could fix the problem. At night the task became a bit more complicated. The team would first check a spreadsheet list and determine who was on standby, and then start dialing. If a person didn’t answer within a specified amount of time, a call would go out to the next person on the list. If a technician wasn’t found quickly, the calls would be escalated to a manager. To keep all hours covered by the control center required a larger team than Boejé knew was necessary to make sure that every incident, no matter how rare, was resolved quickly. “Now that we’ve automated the notification process, we’ve been able to scale down the team to just those we really need, which gives us a considerable savings,” said Boejé. “In the past, an operator might call the wrong person because the error description didn’t clearly indicate which team was responsible for solving the problem, which would delay a solution and sometimes interrupt the sleep of technicians unnecessarily. The new system designates which team to target with a notification.”
The Solution: OnSolve
In his quest to streamline the process and make it more efficient and effective, Boejé explored the use of technology to automate the monitoring and alerting operations. His team chose OnSolve to work with the existing ITSM system, so that when signaled by the monitoring system, alerts could be delivered by text, email and phone to the suitable technician. To make sure the system always reaches the right person with the alert, staff has been trained to use Account Portal, the customizable quick registration portal that allows users to keep their own profile information.
Automating the Process Saves Money and Resources
Installing the system took time and programming, and it was necessary to train staff on how to use the software. For initial training, Boejé and two colleagues traveled to London to work with OnSolve engineers. The actual installation was accomplished online with an engineer and shared screens. Now that all is configured, staff is happy with the end results of the transition to the OnSolve system. Boejé says that incidents where technicians need to be notified only happen once or twice a day these days, so reducing the control center staff made sense and has resulted in significant savings. A much smaller staff is still on hand for regular work for just a few hours in the evening. For the night shift, an incident manager can work from home and only be notified when it’s necessary to execute a specific action. The automated solution makes the process more efficient as the system immediately starts notifying as soon as an event occurs and never dials a wrong number.
How a.s.r. Benefits from OnSolve:
- Ease of use — Launching an alert is now automated, with escalation plans built into the system.
- Power to the user — With Account Portal, users are responsible for keeping their own contact and availability information current.
- Data security with ISO 27001 and GDPR — OnSolve hosts all personal insurance data in geographically dispersed, multiple- redundant data centers, meeting the highest standards for data security and privacy.
The End Result
Boejé is pleased with the level of support, noting that he had assistance from the OnSolve team all along the way. “Our company relies on a number of insurance websites that have to be available around the clock or we’ll lose business,” said Boejé. “Even though we’ve incorporated as many as 25 technical departments, each with its own skills and on-call schedules, the new automated alerting system works well.”