Tata Consultancy Services is a leading global IT services, business solutions, and outsourcing company with offices in 35 countries and growing at over 30 percent in revenue terms for the last couple of years. One key challenge arising out of the rapid growth in people intensive business such as TCS has been ever-increasing demands on the IT infrastructure. Situation
Tata Consultancy Services is a leading global IT services, business solutions, and outsourcing organization. It is present in 35 countries across six continents and provides comprehensive range of IT services to clients in diverse industries, such as banking and financial services, insurance, manufacturing, telecommunications, retail, and transportation.
TCS had created a broad vision for its Standard Operating Environment (SOE). SOE is a clear specification for standard application and software to be used within an organization. TCS has a vision of being on the top 10 IT Services globally by 2010. This vision had to be supported with an agile IT network. This means the ability to increase capacity quickly, adapt to new technologies while proactively monitoring the network to provide higher availability. The company has also created a comprehensive plan for disaster recovery. The SOE also outlined how the organization would increase productivity and enhance IT administration.
The multi location distributed environment threw-up several challenges:
Too many administrators needed to be deployed in addition to duplication of administrative efforts
Inconsistent operating environment
Distributed control of IT infrastructure assets
Security and business policy enforcement across the network
Identity management and control
Administrators were facing several challenges in the fast growing TCS network. The team spent a large part of its time in helping end users with issues arising from resetting passwords, restoring deleted files, updating the desktop and its applications, or removing applications that conflicted with the line-of-business application. So TCS would either have to increase the number of administrators or centralize control for better utilization of manpower.
By creating an SOE especially for TCS global IT infrastructure, the company aims to significantly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the desktop computing environment as well as provide a framework to provide effective support to its global workforce.Solution
Active Directory contributed to the TCS initiative of building the world class IT. Specific set of activities (tools and processes) were defined based on the BS7799, ITIL and Microsoft’s IO model for execution in order to move the company’s infrastructure to Rationalized level.
The first component of technology to move on the journey was an enterprise wide directory infrastructure. TCS, after evaluating several options, concluded that Microsoft Active Directory®, service would be an optimal solution to create the framework for its key requirement of maintaining a Standardized Operating Environment. Microsoft Active Directory would also provide the ability to manage users, devices and accounts on the network centrally while reducing the dependence on IT administrators at each location, implying moving ahead on the optimization path. Windows Server 2003 Active Directory: The TCS Experience
Microsoft® Active Directory® directory service is an integral part of the new solution to manage resources, security policies, and access control. It is a scalable directory service that allowed TCS system administrators to leverage the benefits of a centrally managed repository of the company’s network resources. Transition period, usually the most painful period for the enterprise, was not even realized by 80,000 TCSers.
With Active Directory, all aspects of network, server, and desktop operation are managed from a single source. Active Directory controls network services such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and Domain Name Server (DNS), which are critical network configurations for all the machines on the corporate network.
“Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 Active Directory® provides a central point of administration for IT staff, and improves desktop as well as server management through Windows Server 2003 Group Policies,” explains Alok Kumar, Global Head - Internal IT, Tata Consultancy Services.
Group Policies allows IT administrators to automate one-to-many management of users and computers. To simplify administrative tasks TCS IT administration team applied Group Policies to users and computers. This helped in achieving stable, secure and consistent environment.
TCS now centrally manages and controls passwords, permissions, and application access by defining Group Policies that are applied to groups of users, departments, or the entire company.
Group Policies implemented include:
Self healing: Automatic disconnection of the system from network, if the antivirus definition is older than seven days
Device management control: CD/Floppy/USB devices management made easier by mere changing group membership
Consistent and predictable desktop: Enforced security policies to maintain the higher percentage of security compliance and consistency
Power saving: Power off the monitor on 15min inactivity
Reduced administrative efforts: Infrastructure settings enforcement for proxy and software update settings
Use of operating system inbuilt tools: Remote assistance eliminates the use of third party tools for remote management
Deployment of standard security policies across enterprise with minimal efforts and centralized controlBenefits
“A global organization like TCS needs a real-time infrastructure to enable our employees to collaborate and serve our customers better. Microsoft® Active Directory® helps simplify the complex infrastructure to support the rapid growth of our business,” explains
Alok Kumar, Global Head - Internal IT, Tata Consultancy Services Single Sign On for Infrastructure Services
Infrastructure services such as file and print servers, proxy, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server version, Microsoft Office Project Server version now integrate with Active Directory and facilitate single sign on for seamless access to all the users in the domain.
The numbers of domain names were reduced globally from 50 to five. This has led to better identity management with a single identity. This has helped the individual users as well as the organization. Uniform Security Policy Enforcement
Implementation of Microsoft Active Directory and Group Policies has streamlined IT administration, reducing 40 percent of helpdesk calls. In addition, on a macro level, the technology enhancement has helped TCS implement certain mandates outlined in the Indian Information Technology Act 2000, BS7799, and BS15000 for security compliance. “Group Policies have helped enforce standard and consistent environment on the desktop, thus improving the reliability of the desktop and reduce downtime for individual users or groups,” says James Desouza, Head India Infrastructure services.Better Operational Control
The new IT infrastructure has enabled TCS to optimize its infrastructure and thus reduce the cost of operations and the total cost of ownership. Desktop management has been reduced by as much as 75 percent after rationalizing and optimizing the infrastructure.
Centralized administration and implementation of Group Policies ensures increased desktop availability. This is because all users are following standardized software and settings. This has increased compliance with the company’s desktop policy management. Group Policies also ensures that users can only change PC settings that do not jeopardize reliability or security of a desktop. “Single forest implementation allows the helpdesk to service all the desktops globally in the TCS network,” says Amit Jain, Head Overseas Infrastructure Services, TCS.
Centralized administration has also benefited the IT team; they can manage the infrastructure from a central location. TCS has redeployed up to 75 percent of its administrators into revenue earning projects. The TCS IT staff now controls globally environment from central location. With remote management and troubleshooting, the team is able to eliminate the problems from their desktops. In addition, the reporting tools and alarms ensure that any problems are put right before it affects the network performance.
Commenting on the increase in productivity, Bandana Sinha, Information Officer, TCS,
“Uniform experience for the TCS employees across its widely distributed Global Networked Delivery model has increased the productivity of our mobile workforce. Active Directory is the ‘silent’ key enabler of services extension with "painless" scalability possibilities coupled with TCS's Identity Access and Management (IAM) initiative.” Reduced Complexity by Consolidating Servers by 33 Percent
The Active Directory implementation has helped consolidate all users under a single domain. Every user is listed in the global address book. What’s more, this now is the foundation for access to infrastructure applications and internal sites and portals for employees and consultants.
The entire Active Directory infrastructure is managed by a team of 4 administrators. “Smaller, leaner team gives better visibility and control over the complete Infrastructure services globally. With this setup resiliency and high availability has drastically increased,” concludes Ragini Patil and Aashish Narkar, ADS Team Lead, TCS. Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
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