07/06/2011

Keeping it lean: how the financial services industry is tapping IT for operational efficiency


By Kevin Peesker
General Manager - UK and Ireland
Dell Consumer and Small, Medium Business


In the financial services world, operational efficiency is essential for paving the road to success. With regular legislative changes, and shifts in economic and public expectations, the insurance industry is required to be one of the most adaptable sectors in the UK. Firms servicing the insurance sector need to be just as flexible in their approach.

From start-ups looking to develop an enterprise-level platform from the ground up, to established companies aiming to refresh their IT infrastructures in line with their business ambitions, implementing a virtualised, streamlined IT infrastructure is key to maximising profits and staying ahead of the competition.

One established company that’s reaping the benefits of an infrastructure revamp is Ai Claims Solutions which has provided a range of non-fault accident services to the industry for the past twelve years. With ambitious targets for growth, but five-year-old technology in place, the insurance organisation wanted to refresh its IT infrastructure to cut datacentre costs, reduce energy consumption, and deliver the performance needed for rapid growth.

Ai Claims Solution recognised that change was crucial to staying competitive and decided a renewed infrastructure was paramount to meeting its business targets. Dell forecast that Ai Claims could reduce its energy consumption by 40 percent and it’s a figure the claims company is rapidly approaching. In addition, backup times have been cut from eight hours to 30 minutes, Microsoft SQL performance has improved by 80 percent, and it now takes the company just half a day to deploy new environments on servers, rather than a week. Most importantly the new infrastructure means Ai Claims Solutions is now able to accelerate the development of new applications, improvements and research. Through a combination of virtualisation, server consolidation, lower energy costs, a leaner management team, and reduced licensing, the company is now saving an estimated£100,000 a year.

Getting IT (Information Technology) right is equally important for new businesses. Starting a new company in an established industry such as financial services can be a daunting task, and IT infrastructure can help make or break any ambitious venture. PensionsFirst was established just four years ago with a view to transform the way people measure and manage pension risks. While the company needed to develop an enterprise-level platform from the ground up to stay competitive, it required a technology partner capable of building a datacentre from scratch as well as delivering a powerful environment in a short period of time.

PensionsFirst identified that it needed three IT environments: a corporate site, disaster recovery system and a main production site, the latter of which had to be built from scratch in the slim 12-week window available in PensionsFirst’s business plan. Dell, was the chosen IT partner because the financial services firm was able to test different scenarios and configurations of its products before deciding the on the best solution.

In the six months following the timely implementation, PensionsFirst more than doubled its number of staff and began hiring aggressively to meet the growing demands of the business. With continuous plans for expansion, a reliable IT environment that can scale with its business success, and a trusted technology partner in Dell, the company is primed for future growth.

Regardless of a business’ size and maturity, ensuring a reliable, scalable and adaptable IT infrastructure is in place is critical in the financial services industry, and partnering from the outset with an experienced solutions provider can make the road to success a far smoother one.

Watch the video below featuring Jemima Gibbons of AAB Engage discussing ow social media can positively impact your business.

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