Royal & SunAlliance case study

Situation

Royal & SunAlliance is one of the world’s leading insurance groups. Operating in 130 countries, it serves 20 million customers with insurance products through a number of well known brands, including the UK direct arm MORE TH>N.

As part of a recent business transformation initiative to secure the company’s leading position in the market, Royal & SunAlliance took the opportunity to enhance the IT infrastructure and communications network that deliver business services to the company’s UK offices.

Steve Allen is "IS Project Manager, Technology Projects" for Royal & SunAlliance. He emphasises the importance of the business communications network within the company’s business infrastructure, “The success of our business depends upon the thousands of transactions transmitted across the network each minute of every day. Any interruption, even only for a few moments, can cause serious financial loss and threaten the company’s reputation with its customers. It is vitally important that we are aware of any environmental threats that might jeopardise the equipment involved.”

Major communications failures in the company’s call centres are among the most serious of threats. In the Royal & SunAlliance Sunderland call centre, for example, such an event would result in 500 insurance advisers being unable to answer phone calls, process claims and provide quotations. In Steve Allen’s estimation, “If it takes three or four hours to resolve such a problem, we could lose 2000 business-hours and the income they would have generated.”

The environmental causes of equipment failures include fire, heat, humidity, water leaks and power loss. Early warning of these threats shortens recovery times and can often avoid the problem altogether.

While Royal & SunAlliance have implemented some monitoring solutions in the past, they were capable of providing only a fragmented view of the environmenti. Steve Allen explains, “Information from sensors within air conditioning systems was entirely separate from alarms triggered by leak detection sensors. Alerts were only received once a problem had occurred and knowledge of each was restricted to the operators of the individual systems or the security staff at the specific site involved.”

In these circumstances, co-ordination and sharing information with integration services and facilities management partners often extended the time required to resolve problems, which only served to increase the inconvenience to customers.

Steve Allen recalls, “We realised we needed a means of monitoring our entire estate and combining all the sensor data into one view of the whole environmenti. To allow us to be proactive in dealing with environmental threats to our IT systems we wanted to be able to predict failure, rather than wait for it to happen, and share environmental intelligence with our integration and facilities management services partners such as IBM and BT.”