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Implementing lean IT skillfully with public cloud services to support a business transformation

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"We moved to AWS and Google, redesigned the security, replaced the software applications supporting the primary business processes and outsourced many support processes. We achieved savings of 2.1 million yearly on an annual turnover of 90 million. We were looking for people who did not necessarily come from the healthcare sector but who understand the sector, and who have affinity with it. And we needed someone who had the mettle and tenacity to push through the changes: ours is a traditional company with a conservative outlook. And during the bumpy patch that hits you when you migrate, Cambrian held firm and displayed confidence. I am very pleased about that."

The customer

ZuidZorg is an extramural care provider offering various healthcare services such as elderly care, children care and a monitoring centre. ZuidZorg employs 1400 healthcare professionals who are active in the region around Eindhoven.

The challenge
The management team of ZuidZorg had decided to move away from a traditional environment based on VMWare, Citrix-based workplaces, and Active Directory in combination with Microsoft Office on premise. The new workspace was based on Chromebooks, Google G-Suite, OKTA for identity and access management, AWS AppStream for the delivery of the windows applications and the hosting of servers at AWS. The before and after architectures were radically different. Furthermore the starting point consisted of services and systems that were tightly integrated.  These facts made a gradual migration close to impossible. However, a quick transition presented its own challenges: change management for the users, data migration and fewer roll back possibilities.
The solution

Key to the migration success was the decision to leave all business applications initially unchanged and focus on supporting the users with the changes to authentication, their desktop and the office collaboration applications. Changes to business applications were planned in a second phase.

A pilot migration group was set up to identify any unforeseen issues and optimise the change management approach. The findings allowed the organisation to migrate in one big bang. This offered three significant benefits:

  • The organisation was not split and everyone continued collaborating with one set of tools.
  • Users were not confronted with a long period of continuous disruptive changes and could settle down quickly and go back to business.
  • The organisation faced limited double running costs.

Once the organisation went live we nevertheless faced some small surprises; undocumented edge cases of users depending on legacy tools. The advantage of running the infrastructure at AWS was the availability of out-of-the box tools such as AppStreaming and Windows VDI’s that allowed us to resolve such issues immediately.

After the swift migration, service and integration management was set up to coordinate the services that were outsourced to best in class providers in the various service areas.

The results

After the big bang, the adjustment period lasted less than a month. IT became much more robust and faded into the background for the users. Before the migration, users generated approximately 950 incidents a month (excluding business application related incidents). This number has dropped to 50 incidents per month now. This is a huge quality improvement for the front line of the organisation: the nurses and doctors who want to spend their time on their patients and not waste time on IT-related issues. 

Another tangible benefit was cost transparency of IT services and agility in adjusting their consumption. Part of the business transformation at Zuidzorg involved the selling of unprofitable activities. The public cloud made cost allocation totally transparent and resources that belonged to a divested business unit could easily be shut down or separated and transferred to the new owner.

If you want to learn more about the formulation of the cloud strategy for ZuidZorg, read the Strategy reference case.


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