Fujitsu U.K. and Ireland wanted to reduce operational costs and improve the scalability of its in-house resource planning systems. Fujitsu developed the resource forecasting solution as a cloud-based application using Windows Azure and related
technologies. It has reduced costs by around 60 per cent for development and ongoing maintenance compared to traditional on-premises hosting.
Part of the Japan-based Fujitsu Group, Fujitsu U.K. and Ireland has 11,400 employees and annual revenue of around £1.7 billion. As a complex business, resource planning and forecasting is critical to ensure that Fujitsu manages peaks in demand for its highly
skilled staff, who work on multiple projects and often in remote locations. Many employees are deployed at customer sites, and it’s critical that the company knows where its people are working at any given time—and also to ensure maximum utilisation rates
for each individual or team.
Fujitsu developed a customised resource management forecasting solution using Microsoft Access 2007 database software. It had evolved over a considerable period of time to support around 100 users, but was struggling to meet additional business reporting
needs. The tool used a customised Microsoft ASP.NET web interface with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 data management software hosted in a Fujitsu data centre.
George Nagle, Director of Information Applications, Fujitsu U.K. and Ireland, says: “The challenge we faced was to reduce overheads while at the same time having a solution agile and scalable enough to meet changing business needs.”
The company also needed to accommodate increased use of its forecasting tool—from 100 to 200 users, with the potential to expand up to 1,400 users in future. Nagle says: “With this in mind, a cloud-based solution was attractive for cost reasons—because it
would be on a pay-per-use basis—and also to make it easier for remote users to access the system on the move through the Internet.”
In 2010, Fujitsu engaged in a partnership with Microsoft to use the Windows Azure platform to deliver cloud computing applications to U.K. businesses. To demonstrate its commitment to the partnership, Fujitsu used the platform for its own applications portfolio
and also to build experience and capability in deploying solutions using Windows Azure.
Windows Azure proved the ideal platform for the resources management toolset needed for Fujitsu in the U.K. It developed its resource forecasting application as a Windows Azure hosted solution using the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 development system and
the Fujitsu Velocity tool.
Velocity was developed by Fujitsu to accelerate the design, development, and deployment of applications based on Windows Azure. It allows an application to be modelled graphically, and for an enterprise-ready Windows Azure application to be generated and
The resource forecasting solution is an enterprise-class application designed for Windows Azure. It makes use of its compute and storage features in Microsoft SQL Azure Reporting Preview and Windows Azure platform AppFabric middleware. The solution also
integrates with the Fujitsu Active Directory service to ensure single sign-on and management of users and roles.
Fast time to market was an advantage of using Microsoft cloud-based technology, which required no upfront investment in physical hardware. “With the Velocity toolset and the versatility of the Fujitsu developer team, we had a working solution ready in just
six weeks,” says Nagle. “We have also seen the benefits of having a service delivered through the cloud, bypassing traditional channels of delivery.”
By developing its resource forecasting solution for staff time management and resource planning in Windows Azure, Fujitsu has achieved a significant saving compared to traditional methods of hosting. Nagle says: “With Windows Azure, we’ve achieved a rapid
time to market.”
Tool helps reduce development costs and timescales. By using the Fujitsu Velocity tool, both development costs and project timescales were cut significantly. Nagle says: “Our Windows Azure development toolset has reduced
time to market by around 60 per cent.”
Fault-tolerant solution improves risk management. Fujitsu has minimised delays in collating data. The solution is fault tolerant and uses the high availability features of the Windows Azure platform, which offers 99.9 per
Cloud operating system scales to support extra business units. Windows Azure is highly scalable and easily manages the current workload, with the ability to support future plans to scale up to around 1,400 users. And, with the pay-per-use
payment model, Fujitsu didn’t require any upfront investment.
Staff can access reports at any time. Instant access to the reports from the resource forecasting database is essential at key reporting periods for the company. Nagle says: “Windows Azure delivers the data securely and
reliably through the cloud, making it accessible to all staff through a web browser.”
User-friendly software ensures rapid
take-up. User adoption rates have been high and a smooth transition to the new system is taking place across the company.
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