Publiceret: 1/29/2010
Visninger: 1501
Bedøm casen:

Achmea Holding N.V. Insurance Provider Simplifies Content Management with Optimized Intranet Portal

Achmea, part of the Eureko holding, is the largest insurance group in the Netherlands, delivering services under 21 brands. Formed largely through mergers, Achmea had a large and disparate IT environment, so it developed a central intranet portal called 1Net. Unfortunately, the portal was fragmented, complex to manage, and difficult to use. Achmea wanted to enable employees to share information and collaborate easily across business units, make it easier for content authors to publish information, and reduce the management burden for its IT staff. The company used Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to deploy an updated intranet—called achmea.net—with content publishing, search, and collaboration capabilities. Now Achmea has a stable and user-friendly intranet where its employees can share information and access knowledge throughout the enterprise.


*
* With Office SharePoint Server 2007, we’re developing a mature enterprise portal that will make real collaboration possible. *
Richard Plooijer
Program Manager,
Achmea.net
*

Situation

Based in Zeist, in the Netherlands, and operating under 21 major brands, including Centraal Beheer Achmea, Interpolis, Avéro Achmea, Achmea Agis Health Insurance, and Zilveren Kruis, Achmea delivers insurance, pension, and banking products and services to governments, public agencies, and businesses of all sizes. With 25 percent of the Netherland market and a total of 4.5 million customers, the organization employs more than 22,000 people in the Netherlands. 

Achmea has built a reputation for quality and innovative services, and it relies on a robust information technology environment to help deliver what its customers need. Unfortunately, some of the company’s strengths—its size and diversity—made it difficult for the IT staff to efficiently meet the needs of the many business units and divisions.

Formed largely through mergers, Achmea had to manage many disparate IT systems. Each Achmea unit had its own intranet portal. Environments were fragmented and complex to manage. It was difficult for Achmea employees to communicate or collaborate across unit boundaries.

As part of an ongoing initiative to reduce costs and consolidate all of those disparate environments, the company developed a central intranet portal, called 1Net, using IBM WebSphere technology. The portal, however, did not perform as well as Achmea needed it to. Response times were slow and the environment suffered from frequent breakdowns. The existing 1Net interface was complicated and difficult for employees to use.

Different units had developed sites on the portal using different levels of maturity, some much more complex than others. This often made navigation confusing for users and sometimes created inconsistent messaging within the organization. And because the content management system was hard to use, it often took longer than it should have to get content published and updated on 1Net.

“The system didn’t invite us to reach out to each other,” says Richard Plooijer, Program Manager, Achmea.net. “Just a little bit of content could take hours to publish, and you had to be half an expert to work with the system. Not being able to move information across business units kept us all in our own backyards.”

Almost 2,500 people work in the central IT division at Achmea, and another 2,000 people at IT departments in each business unit. Despite its size, the IT staff was still challenged by the cost and effort of developing and managing a complex portal network that included the WebSphere intranet, a Lotus Notes environment, and a Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 collaboration environment that had to interoperate with 1Net.

“We wanted to be very business driven and say yes to everything,” says Plooijer. “But, with WebSphere, we had to develop all the functionalities ourselves, and we paid for a lot of consultancy hours.”

Achmea wanted to develop a more efficient portal environment that would enable its employees to share information and collaborate easily within and across business units. The company wanted to make it easier for a multitude of content authors to publish information on 1Net without having to rely on support from IT staff. At the same time, Achmea needed a portal technology that would require fewer resources to manage across its entire IT environment.

Solution

In 2009, Achmea finished the first phase of the deployment of a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment that includes an intranet portal with content publishing, search, and collaboration capabilities. In phase one, the company developed a stable, reliable environment to support its intranet portal. It rebuilt 1Net into a new environment it called achmea.net, so that business users throughout the enterprise can manage content, share information in document libraries, and use search tools to find people and information across Achmea.

“With Office SharePoint Server 2007, we had an opportunity to build a single infrastructure and one intranet for the whole of Achmea, across every division,” says Plooijer.

*
* The deployment went so smoothly that we had time to do additional testing and make sure that everything was fine before we deployed the updated achmea.net. The extra tests paid us back with a very easy launch. *
Richard Plooijer
Program Manager,
Achmea.net
*
The company supports achmea.net on a dedicated server farm, deploying Office SharePoint Server 2007 on a combination of physical and virtual servers performing specific roles, including two dedicated Query servers to accommodate an estimated 4.5 terabytes of content and 1.2 terabytes of index catalogs. The Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment is deployed in an advanced network infrastructure hosted by the service provider ATOS, with nodes distributed in twin data centers located in the cities of Best and Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The geodistributed infrastructure is designed to help ensure 100 percent availability of network services for all of the company’s 22,000 employees.

Very early in the deployment, Achmea IT staff, working with Microsoft and ATOS, encountered some challenges deploying the portal environment in the geodistributed infrastructure, due largely to customizations of other Achmea environments deployed on the network. Achmea caught the problem early with thorough testing, and the deployment went forward smoothly. In fact, Achmea expected it to take three to four weeks to migrate content from the old system to the new intranet, but after only three days, the IT staff had the task almost 80 percent complete.

“The deployment went so smoothly that we had time to do additional testing and make sure that everything was fine before we deployed the updated achmea.net,” says Plooijer. “The extra tests paid us back with a very easy launch.”

Achmea indexed every employee within the Office SharePoint Server 2007 People Search feature, so people working in one unit, division, or team can search for colleagues across the entire enterprise directly from their own achmea.net interface. Because the Achmea information environment is so large and diverse, the company used the Office SharePoint Server 2007 Business Data Catalog and a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol to enrich user profiles from several sources such as Active Directory Domain Services and SAP databases.

Business users across Achmea can publish business content or product information with familiar, easy-to-use tools in Office SharePoint Server 2007, without having to rely on IT support. With Office SharePoint Server 2007, the company can manage more than 250 content authors and thousands of pages of business information. The Achmea IT department site alone has more than 10,000 pages of content.

While Achmea will develop more collaboration capabilities on achmea.net in subsequent phases of the deployment, by late 2009, the largest current project within Achmea had its own project site. Authorized project members can use the site to share documents and collaborate on tasks. The achmea.net portal also interoperates with SAP applications that Achmea runs to manage time-writing, accounting, and Human Resources systems, without creating management challenges for IT administrators.

“With the SharePoint Server solution, we can reach each other with information and distribute news across the organization,” says Plooijer. “And we can use the portal environment to run all kinds of applications.”

In the second phase of the deployment, Achmea began adding more features to achmea.net. One of these is Office SharePoint Server 2007 My Sites, which employees can use to personalize their achmea.net interface, adding their own workloads, calendars, and regularly used applications. By the end of 2009, the company had also deployed 20 independent business-unit intranets on achmea.net.

Benefits

By developing a new portal environment with Office SharePoint Server 2007, Achmea has built a stable and user-friendly intranet. Now employees across Achmea can share information easily, publish content without IT support, and access knowledge and expertise throughout the enterprise.

Single Enterprise Environment

With Office SharePoint Server 2007, Achmea has developed a single portal across all of its many business units. The company has consolidated its information portal and its collaboration environment into a single content management system that is less costly to run and maintain than its previous WebSphere portal and is easier for employees to use.

In fact, use of achmea.net has increased dramatically across the enterprise. More than 15,000 unique visitors per day use achmea.net to find and share current information about company practices and initiatives.

“In the old situation, our intranet was just fragmented bits of news,” says Plooijer. “With Office SharePoint Server 2007, we’re developing a mature enterprise portal that will make real collaboration possible. For some divisions, this is a giant step forward into the twenty-first century.” 

Stable, Efficient Portal

By replacing many different content management systems in each business unit with a single system across the entire enterprise, Achmea has empowered its business users to publish information on achmea.net quickly and easily, without having to rely on support from IT staff. At the same time, the company can maintain control of how content is presented on the intranet.

“It often took days or weeks to get content onto the site before, and now we can do it instantly,” says Plooijer. “By setting a lower hurdle to publishing on the intranet, we’ve enabled the business to move forward.”

*
* With the SharePoint Server solution, we can reach each other with information and distribute news across the organization. And we can use the portal environment to run all kinds of applications. *
Richard Plooijer
Program Manager,
Achmea.net
*

With a better people-search solution, Achmea employees can quickly find colleagues within and across units, making it easier to mine company expertise, recruit team members for projects, or find answers to specific questions. Search response on Achmea.net is significantly faster than it was on the previous system, which helps increase employee productivity. And because Achmea could deploy Office SharePoint Server 2007 in its advanced, twin data-center infrastructure, the company can deliver a stable, reliable intranet with 100 percent availability.

Lighter Management Burden

Because Achmea could use Office SharePoint Server 2007 to build the features it needs in achmea.net without having to heavily customize the solution, it has reduced the amount of management required to maintain its intranet. Since business authors can publish information without IT support, IT staff can now focus on more important tasks, and by simplifying and centralizing its portal environment, the company needs fewer resources to manage achmea.net across its entire IT environment.

Lower Management Costs

Achmea anticipates significant reductions in the costs associated with managing its intranet. The company has already experienced efficiencies in the deployment of the updated achmea.net.

“When we deployed achmea.net for the first time on Office SharePoint Server 2007, we had virtually no issues,” says Plooijer. “We’ve compared our intranet deployment with other big multinational companies in the Netherlands, and it generally took them much longer and cost them more money.”

Microsoft Office System
The Microsoft Office system is the business world’s chosen environment for information work, providing the programs, servers, and services that help you succeed by transforming information into impact.

For more information about the Microsoft Office system, go to:
www.microsoft.com/office

 

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Achmea products and services, visit the Web site at:
www.achmea.nl  

Løsningen - kort fortalt



Organisations størrelse
22000 medarbejdere

Organisationsprofil

Operating under 21 brands, Achmea provides insurance, pension, and banking services. With 4.5 million customers, the company employs 22,000 people in the Netherlands.


Situationen

Achmea needed a more efficient, reliable, and simpler-to-manage intranet that would enable its employees to publish content, share information, and collaborate across business units.


Løsningen

In 2009, Achmea used Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to deploy an updated intranet portal with content publishing, search, and collaboration capabilities.


Fordele
  • Single enterprise environment
  • Stable, efficient portal
  • Lighter management burden
  • Lower management costs

Software & Services
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Industri(er)
  • Insurance
  • Financial Services

Land
Netherlands

Forretningsbehov
Collaboration

Udfordringen
Enterprise Portals

Languages
English