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How HDFC life improved productivity through a hosted shared desktop solution

Eric Ernest | Aug. 19, 2013
Field level employees are the lifeline of the insurance industry. When HDFC Life realized its already efficient sales force could bring in more success with a productivity enhancer, it turned towards hosted shared desktops (HSD). Presenting the behind-the-scenes story of one of the largest HSD implementations in the country.

Benefits in the Long Term
One of the most significant benefits of the HSD implementation has been that unplanned downtime has been minimized and accelerated recovery is possible in case of OSfailures. "The user's personalized stateless virtual desktop is accessible from a wide variety of devices and can be accessed securely over the Internet," says Thomas.

The system has also helped in reducing downtime caused by unforeseen system errors. In the earlier scheme of things, fixing an error on individual desktops would take anywhere between four to 15 days depending on the availability of the required desktop component, thereby drastically affecting employee productivity. Under the new HSD system, it takes around four hours to get a new system to replace the faulty thin client--a substantial productivity improvement.

Moreover, desktop provisioning, which used to take around four hours earlier, can now be done in an eighth of the time."Earlier, we used to have local level IT servicing the desktops. The problem with this setup was that for each desktop, we needed a local engineer who would be able to service that particular brand," says Thomas."Now I have zero mean-time to repair. If a unit goes off, I log in a call and four hours later, the new thin client is in place. In the worst case, I will have the new device in a day."The storage structure found in the HSD implementation also ensures greater data security. As Thomas explains, "In the HSD setup, there is a specific storage space assigned to users, so the data of one user is not visible to another."With the ability to centrally manage all the new systems, the IT team has been able to better allocate its resources to meet business needs, rather than having its bandwidth tied up in addressing issues on end-user systems.

Now Thomas is able to comfortably assign resources to perform other support duties for other business segments--such as having his IT team member support tablets provided to senior management, without the need to have an explicit contract to support these devices."We have seen hardware call reductions of almost 22 percent. We expect to see 46 percent cost reductions in support costs for desktops," says Thomas, when talking about the observed cost benefits that amount to a total annual savings of around Rs 51 lakh."The target price we had for the solution was the price for desktop refresh, and we managed to keep the high-end solution at the same levels. So, there was no additional cost incurred. In fact, if we look at the savings mentioned above, the organization had an overall cost reduction as compared to a normal desktop refresh," Thomas says. Shedding light on how this HSD implementation has impacted end-users, Thomas says, "We are now seeing a higher usage of the systems."Moreover, since the application is published over the Internet, the sales personnel can access the application securely online, thereby ensuring continuous availability of service to end-users in the event they are unable to get to the office.


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