Micro Focus and Desjardins Transform Financial Group for Future Growth
In a major corporate initiative, led by Monique Leroux, chair of the board, Desjardins, Micro Focus Professional Services Organization (PSO) worked closely with Desjardins’ senior management, and IT staff to transform the Cooperative from the top down. With more than ten separate IT silos, and as many ways of doing business, the Cooperative understood it needed to undergo a large and highly complex corporate-wide IT transformation. The transformation is designed to improve governance and normalize processes, as well as standardize, consolidate, and centralize its IT infrastructure and resources. It was also crucial that Desjardins emerge from this daunting transformation with industry best-practices, calculated to help maintain its unique and distinguishing cooperative customer culture, and further its competitive reputation in the global financial industry. In charge of rolling out this ambitious project within Desjardins, are Robert Ouellette, CIO, Chadi Habib, CTO, Nicolas Coulombe, Vice-President Operation, and Trung Quach, Director IT.
“Having to support 10+ sets of standards, processes, and definitions was making it challenging for our IT staff and resulted in lower efficiencies than were needed to increase our competitive position,” recalls Quach. “Our team was inundated with growing disconnects caused by non-standard ways of managing everyday processes, such as incident and ticket resolutions. Micro Focus PSO and Desjardins became a finely tuned team, resulting in a successful and complex corporate transformation. We’re now the Cooperative we want to be going into the future.”
In order to accomplish its ambitious transformation, Desjardins decided to seek out and engage a provider with a deep experiential knowledge-base, and carried out a thorough evaluation of the major IT vendors. After the dust had cleared, Micro Focus was selected. It was a choice that has paid off exponentially for Desjardins and, according to Quach, one that has led to a valued “virtual” partnership.
“Micro Focus Service Manager was the only software out there that delivered the required functionality and we were impressed by the depth of knowledge and real-world success that Micro Focus Services had with similar contracts,” adds Quach. “We found that Micro Focus is singular in its understanding of globalscale business process and best practices. Their staff is indistinguishable from Desjardins employees, they’re onsite, and they are very proactive and responsible.”
First the Process, Then the Tools
The business transformation and process normalization, and the IT standardization and consolidation took place in two phases. The first step was to create and establish bestpractice business processes, in accordance with those published by the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). The second phase was migrating multiple custom environments from Micro Focus Service Manager 7.11 to the latest Service Manager in order to manage the IT infrastructure and new processes, while also consolidating the disparate IT environments.
Desjardins took the lead in phase one, analyzing and normalizing its new standard, businessdriven processes, but soon discovered that Micro Focus Professional Services had a great deal of expertise to add to the project. What ensued, according to Quach, was a very effective two-way collaboration and knowledge transfer.
“We hired Micro Focus specifically to guide us on developing the best business-case processes and standards possible and then we really listened,” says Quach. “Our onsite Micro Focus staff worked with Desjardins upper management and IT staff daily to implement this ambitious transformation. Micro Focus fosters a productive team synergy, which results in a very proactive, significant, and ongoing improvement in our business operations.”
Once corporate processes were normalized, and the second phase of the migration to Micro Focus Service Manager was in place, Desjardins began to tally up a large list of instant benefits. The IT staff was able to improve availability dramatically and mitigate Desjardins’ risk exposure. The IT department can now comply and maintain quality practices and regulatory requirements in an easily managed environment, while providing critical visibility to senior management. Desjardins is seeing significant bottom-line operation efficiency and agility gains, and can now support a notably increased number of IT services with existing resources.
In addition to improved performance, the new version of Micro Focus Service Manager also supports Self-Service Portal for all types of requests (support, IT services, etc.), and a more robust interface (introducing web 2.0 technology).
“Basically, Service Manager allows IT to effectively administer our service lifecycles from end to end, which increases efficiency dramatically,” continues Quach. “IT staff is free to support business-critical quality improvements designed to increase our competitiveness and make happier customers. We can channel all this newfound energy and efficiency into expanding and building the business.”
Building the Business through Acquisition Agility
As an example of how Desjardins can now focus on the art of business building, Quach describes a recent acquisition, a strategy the Financial Group utilizes for increasing its customer services and products. Early this year, Desjardins initiated the purchase of State Farm Canada in a cooperative deal that will make Desjardins the second-largest property and casualty insurer in Canada. In addition, the Financial Group is buying State Farm’s property and casualty and life insurance business, as well as its mutual fund, loan and living benefits portfolio.
“Prior to our Micro Focus-backed transformation and standardization, integrating State Farm Canada and its network of 1,700 employees would have been a nightmare,” emphasizes Quach. “One of Desjardins’ strategic objectives is to expand insurance distribution across the country and develop business opportunities with mutual and cooperative organizations. It is such a pleasure to know that assimilating new companies is now a straightforward and efficient process. We can really focus on our critical business strategies.”
Micro Focus Lends More Than a Hand
As mentioned, prior to the corporate transformation, the Desjardins IT team spent many unnecessary hours trying to manually track and correlate incidents, recent fixes, scheduled changes, upgrades and customer issues. Currently, the number of yearly IT incidents is reduced by more than 30%.
Desjardins is now positioned to accomplish its full potential. It’s good for a Financial Group to dream. But it’s even better to have a way to carry out those dreams.
“It’s almost incomprehensible to consider running Desjardins without our new best- practice governance guidelines,” concludes Quach. “Micro Focus gives us more than arms and legs, they give us dedicated expertise and loyal teamwork. I can’t imagine how we managed our IT environment before our Micro Focus- aided corporate transformation. We now have the resources to deliver excellent customer service and increased IT value. Basically, I just can’t imagine doing my job without our Micro Focus partnership.”