solutions We provide answers, customized to individual situations, to manage IS architecture and optimize complex information systems.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Our Media clients are increasingly switching their IT infrastructures over to agile solutions, some as-a-service, some in the cloud (e.g. IaaS, Paas, SaaS, public, private, or hybrid). This makes for faster response times and shifts the focus back to usage rather than hardware or software. Mixed infrastructures (i.e. cloud and on-premises) are also often advantageous, but present interface and data security challenges.
Our Media clients are increasingly switching their IT infrastructures over to agile solutions, some as-a-service, some in the cloud (e.g. IaaS, Paas, SaaS, public, private, or hybrid). This makes for faster response times and shifts the focus back to usage rather than hardware or software. Mixed infrastructures (i.e. cloud and on-premises) are also often advantageous, but present interface and data security challenges.
For the operational departments of one key account, Insyco:
  • Designed the technical architecture for the treasury solution
  • Set up database replication for the BI systems
  • Drafted the operating instructions for an expense receipt management solution
  • Coordinated the set-up of a management solution for fixed assets (system, network, storage, cloning, etc.)
  • Deployed the technical architecture for HR management
Defining, setting up, maintaining and administering technical architecture demands extensive systems experience and very clear communication in a heterogeneous setting. Proper solution integration requires an excellent grasp of databases and all technical layers such as Linux RedHat, Windows 2008R2, Oracle 11g, VTOM, VMWare, Citrix, SOA WebMethods, and others. Insyco also works on project design, management and steering in addition to technical integration itself. Here are a few examples of past accomplishments:
  • Setting up an Oracle replication solution between remote offices, using low bandwidth, with automatic recovery (i.e. from loss of connection).
  • Technical architecture of a fixed asset management solution, technical project coordination (e.g. system, network, storage, DBA, application), installation, tuning, cloning and maintenance
  • Integrating the solution into the client IS, drafting the operating instructions, providing level 3 support
  • Version upgrades

I.T. CONSULTING

The client is a world leader in secure communication systems for the transportation industry. After defining a new core model for all the group's management applications, the pilot entity had less than one year to switch over to the target solution:
  • SAP ECC 6
  • Very broad functional coverage
  • 7,000 company employees
  • Integral migration of live data
The client is a world leader in secure communication systems for the transportation industry. After defining a new core model for all the group's management applications, the pilot entity had less than one year to switch over to the target solution:
  • SAP ECC 6
  • Very broad functional coverage
  • 7,000 company employees
  • Integral migration of live data
Insyco supported the data migration team in making the switchover to the new ERP secure:
  • Validating the specifications of the data migration programs
  • Providing product expertise on the source ERP, Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Providing product expertise on the target ERP, SAP ECC 6
  • Ensure acceptance testing of the data migration through an iterative process
To guarantee that the data migration, a crucial component in this type of project, was successful, Insyco offered expertise grounded in the multi-disciplinary knowledge of its employees. The data migration programs in the source ERP were controlled for the entire Finance, Logistics, Manufacturing, and Business Management domains. The data map between the two systems – the most complex aspect – was determined in conjunction with the business owner and key users of each domain. Large volumes of data were handled and reconciled with an ETL and several accessory tools. Our fine-tuned analyses helped reduce data reconciliation gaps in the iterative process. By drawing on the full spectrum of technical, product, business, and relationship skills of our seasoned IT consultants, we helped bring the project to a successful conclusion.

SYSTEM MAINTENANCE & EVOLUTION

Our client already had a BI environment that they sought to maintain and upgrade. The new system aimed to make the analyses that the IS department provided to the business lines more cross-functional. The client was looking for a trusted partner to work on the maintenance of the BI applications and to anticipate upgrades. From a technical standpoint, this involves applying patches and upgrades, but understanding of business issues also comes into play.
Our client already had a BI environment that they sought to maintain and upgrade. The new system aimed to make the analyses that the IS department provided to the business lines more cross-functional. The client was looking for a trusted partner to work on the maintenance of the BI applications and to anticipate upgrades. From a technical standpoint, this involves applying patches and upgrades, but understanding of business issues also comes into play.
Insyco provided its recognized know-how in application maintenance, helping:
  • Gain an overview of BI applications and application ecosystems in general
  • Define and track maintenance processes by adopting an ITIL approach
  • Steer maintenance activities following the SLA defined with the client
To start, the client and Insyco jointly defined the client's service level expectations and objectives. Insyco next worked on the existing maintenance processes and procedures, and dialogued with local teams to understand how they worked and identify any methodology gaps or operational challenges relating to team workloads, sizes, and types. With the processes mapped, Insyco and the client defined a transitional period of professional development on the specific supported applications. First Insyco worked jointly with the designated in-house expert, then independently on maintenance operations. Users and HelpDesks use the QC-type platforms, which were shared with Insyco to handle tickets. In this way, Insyco is able to track all tasks and tickets handled, while building a knowledge management database for the client. In parallel to these daily actions, Insyco regularly reports to and participates in TPAM steering meetings to provide feedback on topics requiring a decision. The client and Insyco also defined an escalation process and escalation triggers. All these actions help Insyco guarantee effective corrective and on-going maintenance that meets client expectations.

DEVELOPMENT

Our client used an off-the-shelf solver to model its production processes. This approach let the client share its understanding of models that depend on the energy market upstream, and on distribution constraints downstream. However It was difficult for our client to use this approach systematically on all production sites, since each site had slightly different processes and not all had the same software. In particular, the client wondered how it could gain an overall view of production to optimize it across all sites.
Our client used an off-the-shelf solver to model its production processes. This approach let the client share its understanding of models that depend on the energy market upstream, and on distribution constraints downstream. However It was difficult for our client to use this approach systematically on all production sites, since each site had slightly different processes and not all had the same software. In particular, the client wondered how it could gain an overall view of production to optimize it across all sites.
Insyco contributed its technical expertise:
  • Installing a server version of the solver so that it could be deployed at all sites
  • Working to converge the models and publish a Core Model that could be used by all sites
  • Developing local releases of the solver that integrate with the Core Model
Insyco and its client defined several major challenges:
  • To promote collaboration among the different sites
  • To make the production processes transparent and understandable
  • To seek process performance on a cluster of sites
The first action consisted of sharing the process modelling tool and methodology. Insyco therefore first worked with the publisher to install a professional server version of the solver, making it possible to publish models on the different sites. Insyco worked with line staff from the sites concerned by the target deployment, using a representative model to determine invariants. The target sites used spreadsheets to model production. To depict these invariants in an easily understandable way, and share them, Insyco produced a ppcd model. Insyco then broke down the existing model into a generic "group" component and a specific component. The generic component was published for all sites and only the specific components were developed for deployment. This made it possible to pool changes to the generic component and save on maintenance costs. It also led to the production of a specific metamodel that integrates production from all sites and makes it possible to optimize production overall. The client now has a clear, aggregate view of all its production processes.

CHOICE OF APPLICATIONS

Our client, a leading consultant in auditing, accounting, taxation, and legal affairs, used an ERP that handled:
  • time tracking and expense receipt entry
  • general accounting, accounts receivable and payable, project accounting, purchasing and training
The existing ERP was not satisfactory to all users. The staff processes could be fastidious, particularly for smaller offices outside of Paris. The client was seeking to change the ERP and consulted off-the-shelf solutions.
Our client, a leading consultant in auditing, accounting, taxation, and legal affairs, used an ERP that handled:
  • time tracking and expense receipt entry
  • general accounting, accounts receivable and payable, project accounting, purchasing and training
The existing ERP was not satisfactory to all users. The staff processes could be fastidious, particularly for smaller offices outside of Paris. The client was seeking to change the ERP and consulted off-the-shelf solutions.
Insyco offered its support to meet the following objectives:
  • Express needs to manage the existing functional coverage
  • Make target processes secure for key business areas
  • Provide a cost-effective solution to match the target scope and service
To build the solution reliably, Insyco’s approach included redefining the specifications. This work determined:
  • functional requirements and technical imperatives
  • what information would be required for proper bid assessment (i.e. institutional information, references, tool road map, budget)
  • project constraints hindering implementation (e.g. the planned schedule, available resources)
  • services expected from the publisher and integrator
  • if possible, the contractual framework on which the publisher/integrator had to take a position
Insyco wrote the specifications based on its interviews of the CIO and of managers from the various functional domains. With Insyco's assistance, the client short- listed the best off-the-shelf solutions matching its specifications, drawing on:
  • our knowledge of off-the-shelf solutions
  • the budget forecasts for solution implementation and maintenance
  • queries sent to the publishers regarding similar projects they had worked on and the degree to which the company's specific requirements were covered
After launching the call for tenders, the client and Insyco analyzed the bids against a scorecard ranking choices by importance (i.e. level of functional coverage, number of specifics, technologies proposed, budget, implementation methodology, expected involvement of resources, teams proposed, etc.). This methodology helped the client secure an arrangement in line with its operational and budget objectives for changing the ERP.

SOFTWARE PUBLISHING

Our industry clients grapple with many regulatory constraints and adapt their business processes as a consequence. The processes are relayed to their information systems using off-the-shelf solutions. Sometimes, there is no application for a given need, and clients do what they can with spreadsheets or applications put together in-house. This is particularly so with the spreadsheets required by French law for the management of environmentally sensitive facilities (“ICPE”).

Our industry clients grapple with many regulatory constraints and adapt their business processes as a consequence. The processes are relayed to their information systems using off-the-shelf solutions. Sometimes, there is no application for a given need, and clients do what they can with spreadsheets or applications put together in-house. This is particularly so with the spreadsheets required by French law for the management of environmentally sensitive facilities (“ICPE”).

For these clients, Insyco teamed up with Tilda Conseil to publish Ma-GIC:
  • The only regulatory compliance tracking tool specifically for environmentally sensitive facilities.
  • Direct comparison of the ICPE table to the situation reported to the French administration, in accordance with regulatory thresholds in effect
  • Operational monitoring elements are included to ensure compliance with by-laws and other regulations applicable to the site

There is a demand for this type of tool from many clients in different industries, such as aviation, energy, and the environment, who must manage sites that are subject to special registration, reporting, or authorization requirements. Insyco researched how this demand could be met with a tool that would be very light to integrate. Regulations are constantly changing (e.g. the SEVESO III standard or new substance classifications), and information systems also undergo continual transformation. Insyco therefore opted for cloud applications so that new functionalities can be integrated quickly and non-intrusively into our clients' application ecosystems. The strategy for coupling Ma-GIC with the existing architecture was designed so that the only data retrieved from the information system are data from repositories and quantities needed to calculate and monitor the ICPE table. Since Ma-GIC is used at several sites, consolidation and thematic and geographical reporting were also added to complete the solution. Additionally, in the tool it is possible to write reports required by local authorities or environmental compliance reports in real time. Regulatory changes are continuously updated in the Ma-GIC repository, and clients are notified of legal changes that impact their activities or products in inventory. A simulation feature lets users preview the impact of planned facility modifications in terms of compliance with by-laws. Finally, the tool also has a tracking feature for actions recommended in audits. Find out more at http://ma-gic.fr

CIO ADVISORY

The client is a longstanding energy producer with a large number of applications covering a wide business scope:
  • Procurement and purchase management
  • Production and inventory management
  • Geographical information and maintenance management
  • Finances
Every new project suggested by the business lines undergoes a lengthy decision-making process, and it is difficult to find the budgets and resources needed to present, plan, and kick off projects.
The client is a longstanding energy producer with a large number of applications covering a wide business scope:
  • Procurement and purchase management
  • Production and inventory management
  • Geographical information and maintenance management
  • Finances
Every new project suggested by the business lines undergoes a lengthy decision-making process, and it is difficult to find the budgets and resources needed to present, plan, and kick off projects.
Insyco proposed to assist the client in identifying and communicating its strengths:
  • Polishing the image of the information systems department as an opportunity driver rather than a cost centre
  • Introducing processes to the information systems department to make innovation systematic
  • Optimising the positioning of the IS department and the relationship between business and IT, for more effective governance
Insyco's first action involved determining how the IS department worked, the roles it fulfilled and its scope of work. At the same time, projects in the portfolios were audited as well as projects that were "unidentified" yet had a genuine impact on business. The analysis revealed a fresh understanding of the dependencies and coupling between various projects, and needs were mapped with the business lines. The company's strategic directions give rise to an IT strategy that requires business, organizational, functional, technical, and application concerns to all be covered in the target architecture. Insyco drafted the target architecture and presented it to management. A gap analysis between the existing and target situations helped determine the information system path in different scenarios. For each scenario, resources and constraints were identified and compared to existing resources, particularly in terms of implementation costs. This led to the definition of a road map that integrates priority-setting for projects with forecasts, risk assessment and cost assessment. The client was able to roll out this road map with Insyco, preventing clashes between the different viewpoints, while effectively adapting the company strategy.

MIGRATION AND VERSION UPGRADE

The client manages purchasing, inventory and finance for around 500 subsidiaries in Europe with its ERP. With the current version about to become unsupported, the question arose whether it would be better to choose a standard upgrade or fresh implementation. The cost of migration had to be compared to the functional advantages of the new version. Finally, the client sought to keep the number of customized developments down to streamline maintenance.
The client manages purchasing, inventory and finance for around 500 subsidiaries in Europe with its ERP. With the current version about to become unsupported, the question arose whether it would be better to choose a standard upgrade or fresh implementation. The cost of migration had to be compared to the functional advantages of the new version. Finally, the client sought to keep the number of customized developments down to streamline maintenance.
The client asked Insyco to provide support throughout all phases of migration:
    Functional scoping and budget-setting Determining the best migration path Steering the migration and data transfer
Scoping provided an estimate for the migration of ERP instances used by the client. The scoping study had to present all project phases, the skills needed for each phase, and the workload for each profile. It also presented different migration scenarios, showing the impacts on resources, costs and risks in relation to the time needed for deployment. After measuring the technical and functional impacts of the migration possibilities, Insyco identified and costed two migration scenarios with a comparable scope, and workshops with the client determined which one was the best. The project plan was refined, a plan was defined for the management of the project environments, and a project team was formed. Fresh implementation of the ERP was chosen. That implied the major challenge of converging the business line processes of all 500 subsidiaries and cleaning up data to be transferred. Another challenge was to streamline the ERP instances of the group’s entities into a single application, while maintaining a SLA meeting international standards (i.e. available 24/7). Insyco set up and steered working groups on some key topics and processes:
    Fast close VAT and taxation Sub-ledger accounting and payment
The working groups participated in aligning the processes and drafting the specifications as well as acceptance testing and validating the data migration. Insyco provided support from the pilot phase through to deployment in the subsidiaries, including setting parameters and migration of specifics. This complex project was completed in one year and three months – a proud achievement not just for Insyco, but also for our client.

AUDIT OF ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE

The ERP in place covered the Finance and fixed assets, Purchasing/Inventory, Sales, and Logistics domains that complemented computer-aided production management, computerized maintenance management, and e-commerce. The client wanted to expand and add to its information system with new projects:
  • Integration of BI
  • ERP deployment at the subsidiaries
  • Setting up new functional domains like CRM
The client wondered whether its application and technical architecture was suitable for its current needs and future ambitions.
The ERP in place covered the Finance and fixed assets, Purchasing/Inventory, Sales, and Logistics domains that complemented computer-aided production management, computerized maintenance management, and e-commerce. The client wanted to expand and add to its information system with new projects:
  • Integration of BI
  • ERP deployment at the subsidiaries
  • Setting up new functional domains like CRM
The client wondered whether its application and technical architecture was suitable for its current needs and future ambitions.
To meet the challenge, the Insyco team structured a two-phase study:
  • Diagnostic of the organisation of the information systems
  • Organisational and technical recommendations
As part of its study, Insyco:
  • performed a diagnostic of the existing organization and determined areas for progress in terms enterprise architecture and IS organization
  • performed a critical analysis of information system architecture
  • broke down the target organization: activites, roles and duties, governance body, etc.
  • issued technical recommendations
Parallel to this diagnostic of operations, Insyco performed a technical audit of the existing arrangement, producing a precise description of the situation in the following areas:
  • Daily hot back-ups
  • Nighttime processes and process scheduling
  • Business transactions of the logistics platform
This work also produced recommendations for governance, team size, ways to adapt business to the information systems and processes, and ways to rearrange roles and duties. The first observation was that infrastructure was the right size for the business in question, but that there was no proper monitoring or reporting for hardware breakdowns. One individual in-house monitored the infrastructure overall. One of the technical recommendations was therefore to set up infrastructure monitoring and surveillance. A related topic studied was the implementation of a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan based on acceptable interruption times and maximum admissible data losses. Finally, the IT department's activities and duties were compared to the time spent on each activity. This revealed showed how the workload was distributed, and also identified demanding processes and services that caused bottlenecks. Insyco delivered a set of analyses and recommendations covering functional, technical and organizational aspects of the problem.

a few references

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