Consolidate the IT landscape and reduce the number of supported applications by creating a centralized monitoring and IT service management environment.
The Achmea organization is a combination of different merged and acquired insurance companies. The result was a very differentiated IT landscape with many core applications, but also legacy systems. Onno van der Dussen, IT Operations Manager for ITSM tooling at Achmea, explains further: “To improve our time to value, it was clear we needed to consolidate and reduce the number of applications we support, as well as automate process and workflows. In the last decade we have formulated our IT governance model based on defined digital IT value streams, standardization, and automation wherever possible. Although we have a set of preferred suppliers, we absolutely judge individual solutions by their merit and we much prefer to work with repeatable, out-of-the-box functionality and built-in integration capabilities than create custom workflows. We have a cloud-first strategy with a plan to move our key applications to an Azure environment. However, right now we operate a hybrid infrastructure, and so it is important to us that our solutions support that too. SMAX fits the bill for us.”
We much prefer to work with repeatable, out-of-the-box functionality and built-in integration capabilities than create custom workflows— that’s why we chose SMAX.
To support 14,000 Achmea colleagues in The Netherlands, the team relies on SMAX for end-to-end service management. As a long-time user of Service Manager, Achmea was pleased when SMAX was introduced, to provide a more modern service management environment, as van der Dussen comments: “While we were undergoing a digital transformation, we found it difficult to change Service Manager processes and we encountered some legacy code issues which limited our automation potential.”
The SMAX implementation follows the ITIL principles to create business value at scale and simplify the work, cost, and use of service management with a complete set of out-of-the-box ITIL best practices for key ITSM functions. The Achmea implementation covers service catalog-, incident-, change-, and asset management to process nearly 200,000 support requests each year, in addition to almost 150,000 service requests. With pervasive automation and SMAX’s codeless configuration, Achmea is able to easily respond to required changes for their processes, workflows, and tasks. Codeless configuration allows the team to be on the latest release, seamlessly upgrading without compromising the integrity of any user defined configurations.
Van der Dussen continues: “SMAX ticket allocation is automated through integration with Genesys call center technology. When a request is entered into SMAX it is automatically routed to the next available SMAX service agent. With 300 functional groups defined within SMAX, automated routing saves much time.”
Data Center Automation (DCA) integrates with SMAX to identify and govern compliance for Windows servers on Azure, helping prevent compliancy breaches. “With DCA, we have total flexibility in how we manage compliance and can use DCA’s security and regulatory benchmarks and controls, or our own custom controls, that require enforcement,” Sander de Leeuw, Application Manager for SMAX at Achmea comments. With service level objective (SLO)-driven scheduling they can report on non-compliant server-side controls and configurations if the SLO is exceeded and open tickets in SMAX. SLO-based management establishes the priority of fixing variances before they become violations—helping Achmea stay audit-ready. Achmea also uses DCA OPTIC Reporting for historical reporting, and the actionable, drill-down DCA dashboard enables the operations and security teams to see the current compliance state of their resources by impacted and severity.
“We have also automated new user provisioning through SMAX. By integrating it with our LDAP directory, new users are automatically created in SMAX and assigned the correct access rights, according to their Active Directory profile. Our SMAX driven change and release process ensures that all software-related change information is securely documented and retained within SMAX for future reference.” says de Leeuw.
In addition to supporting its IT processes, Achmea has a specific need to manage security incidents. These incidents need to be managed differently to standard IT incidents as they are assigned to specific security experts, require their own workflow, and have a special approval process to drive proper review and due diligence requirements. The team was pleased to discover a SMAX SecOps application package available from the OpenText marketplace. This provides fully defined processes for managing security incidents and breach events based on a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) compliant application design. Achmea has implemented this with limited further configuration. The Achmea team can benefit from SMAX Studio capabilities to fine tune business workflows for future requirements. More recently, the SMAX virtual agent has streamlined service management even further and SMAX machine learning provides automated change risk analysis for more informed decision making.
We also juggled management of our software licenses between Asset Manager, Service Manager, and Universal CMDB. SMAX gave us the opportunity to consolidate asset management, so all our asset data was transferred into SMAX which eases the overall process and is more cost-effective.
Achmea also uses Operations Orchestration (OO) to integrate and orchestrate IT services across their multi-vendor hybrid environment. For example, managing site certificates and identity access are orchestrated through OO, as are fulfilling VM requests and handling workflow errors. De Leeuw explains the link between SMAX and Operations Bridge: “We created an automated closed loop incident process through effective integration. The health of our infrastructure is monitored through Operations Bridge. Native integration between Operations Bridge and SMAX automatically triggers a ticket creation if monitoring indicates an issue.”
“We are pleased with the Premium Support service,” comments Van der Dussen. “We have a Named Service Engineer for SMAX who is familiar with our environment and is available to us whenever we need. If we have to raise a support ticket, she can route this to the appropriate person for us, and even put us directly in touch with her research and development (R&D) colleagues who can access our ticket and its background information through the same system.”
With SMAX offering the flexibility to run on-premises, in the cloud or via SaaS with equally flexible licensing options. Achmea is well positioned for their move to the cloud when the time is right. He concludes: “Creating a new digital model does not happen overnight. It took committed executive sponsorship, and a lot of collaboration between business and technical teams from Achmea, and other technology partners. On an ongoing basis we align our roadmaps to ensure future success so that we can continue to accelerate and offer new services to our business stakeholders.”
Achmea is the cooperative parent of various insurance brands, including Centraal Beheer, Interpolis, and Zilveren Kruis. With 10.2 million customers, it is the largest insurance company in The Netherlands, helping people protect what they hold dear: Sustainable living, together. The Achmea way.