Suncorp goes Agile for 19k desktop integration project

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Suncorp goes Agile for 19k desktop integration project

Suncorp has revealed that, as part of its merger with Promina, it used a variation of the Agile software development methodology to deliver a major desktop integration project covering 19,000 computers.

The finance giant engaged Infosys to help it deliver a common business productivity platform for all 19,000 employees – 9,000 from the Promina group of companies (AAMI, Vero, Shannons, APIA, Tyndalls and AA Insurance) and 12,000 from Suncorp.

The project was unusual for an infrastructure initiative in deploying Agile delivery principles more commonly used in software development.

The Agile methodology is an adaptive, collaborative approach which calls for IT to work in concert with business goals, and encourages multiple small iterations of work rather than one large deployment.

“We executed the integration project in short, sharp bursts with deployment occurring over 125 consecutive days and regularly checking progress to ‘course correct’ and ensure the project remained on track,” explained Paul Cameron, executive general manager of business technology infrastructure at Suncorp.

The Agile method meant the integration – comprising multiple email, calendaring, directories and storage systems - was completed in 18 months rather than the original three year estimate, according to Cameron.

“Time is money, so our executive team were overwhelmed with the speed and success of the deployments,” he said.

When it came to deployment, the plan was always to execute as quickly as possible.

“We leveraged Infosys’ selective offshoring model which allowed up to 70 per cent of the deployments to happen offshore after hours,” said Cameron/

“Work was generally completed by 11pm Australian time each day, minimising disruption for users.”

The desktop provides access to one email and calendaring system, a single domain login from any desktop computer in any country, access to Instant Messaging and shared training programs for all employees.

Features such as shared use of Microsoft Office Communicator, desktop video integration and integrated telephony access are also said to help Suncorp collaborate and serve customers across multiple geographies.

Across the Suncorp business there’s now a feeling that technology “just works,” noted Cameron.

“A project such as this brings a certain level of anxiety with it, so to be receiving positive feedback from users so soon after deployment is a great outcome.”

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