The Colombian insurance market is made up of 45 companies with a 2% GDP share. Within this business group we find MAPFRE Colombia, which is part of the Spanish MAPFRE group, present in more than 40 countries and with over 35,000 employees.
The company had an average growth of 86% at the end of 2010 and is positioned as a leader in the life insurance segment.
This position led the company to enter into a modernization process that leveraged its strategy of seeking greater flexibility and closeness to the customer. "We found in virtualization an opportunity for our employees to access information much more easily from anywhere in the world," explained Ricardo Blanco, Vice President of Finance at MAPFRE.
The project consisted of the renovation of more than 800 desktop computers, a technological platform that was showing deterioration and poor performance. The process impacted the entire personnel, including delegated offices and franchises.
SolutionCITRIX XenDesktop Platinum Edition to ensure information security, legal compliance and user experience. NetApp as a storage system. WYSE lightweight terminals on users' devices. WatchGuard to ensure communication between remote sites and the centre through public network channels.From a network service point of view, MAPFRE has more than 160 offices and more than 2,000 intermediaries throughout the country, many of them connected to the system.
The factors that determined the successful implementation of MAPFRE's virtualization platform included decreasing the total cost of ownership of users' jobs and compliance with safety regulations.
The ability to quickly fix any issues with the new computers is a reality. Ricardo Blanco adds that this eliminated the transfer, installation and configuration issues of the equipment, and that, in a matter of hours, a user can be connected and in operation again, all remotely.
The change is immediately reflected in the users that suffered the operation and performance problems that stem from the technological obsolescence of the previous equipment.
"Virtualization" allows us to store the information on servers, which can no longer be lost, we can also work remotely from anywhere without problems, the applications are kept up to date and remote maintenance is more efficient since it's done from the general management ", says Felipe Álvarez, commercial manager of MAPFRE Avenida Chile office.
According to Orlando Ibarra, MAPFRE IT Manager, quality and security-focused information backup was one of the most important characteristics of the project.
“Doing it with the old technology was too complex and expensive. Now this process is centralized on servers, which guarantees the reliability of the data generated in all the company's offices,” says
Sonia Zapatel, deputy portfolio director at MAPFRE.. “Before the virtualization process, we had old equipment that took up a lot of space and generated heat. Processing multiple tasks added to the overall slowness. The listings that were generated caused the system to be blocked with a certain frequency".
Orlando Ibarra argues that, in addition, the dedicated channels of several offices were eliminated, which reduced the dedicated payments of around 700 or 800 dollars per channel to 100 or 150 dollars.
When this project was presented to senior management, it was done based on the competitive advantages it would bring to the organization.
“Virtualization is a trend, but you can't enter this type of business due to trends, you have to do it by conviction. You have to be sure of what you want, what are the strengths, the benefits and advantages that this type of product will offer to a company. If you think it will improve your efficiency, productivity, maintenance and computing capacity... do it!", advises Ibarra.
"We know that Serban Group Group is a company that through their knowledge and experience in virtualization has allowed us to develop the project. We see that this is an issue that is talked about in a positive way throughout the organization and also that some worrisome issues at the time were easily overcome", he concludes.
Ricardo Blanco, Vice President of Finance of the insurance company, concludes by saying: "For a large-scale project like this, it is necessary to have a collaborative partner when it comes to planning and developing the different phases of implementation; as well as managing the challenges that arise with the change."