Centric Public Report 2020
Centric Managed Services is a full-scope outsourcing partner. The business unit is a provider of end user management, infrastructure management and application management services. We build and manage the future-proof IT infrastructure for our customers and, with our industry-based approach, take challenges specific to the sector like compliance and security and optimise these.
Centric Managed Services takes over companies’ IT cares so that they can focus on their core activities. By using IT smartly, we ensure that our customers can keep on growing. The provision of public cloud services is playing an increasingly important role in this. This makes Centric’s partnership with Microsoft in the field of cloud services a key ingredient in Centric’s service proposition, alongside other public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services. Centric also offers a private cloud so that we can still address the needs of customers who, due to legal requirements for example, prefer a more hybrid solution, a solution where both public and private cloud play a role. In 2020, the business unit invested in setting up a management platform that can be used for both variants. Centric guides its customers in choosing a public or private cloud, or a mix of these variants, based on that customer’s specific objectives.
Managed Services focused entirely on IT outsourcing in 2020. The unit is now set up such that we can use a sector-specific approach and, this way, offer a more tailored service to financial service providers, local government bodies and commercial enterprises. End User Management and Data Centre Services provide the generic, cross-sector services. Notable activities this year were the onboarding of the Dutch central bank DNB, the further development of our cloud platform Nebula for Centric applications, and the alignment of our processes and procedures with the increasing dynamics at our customers resulting from agile working. The internal cloud platform Nebula brings the complete software factory, from development to production, to the cloud as a SaaS solution. We developed this further in 2020 and now various applications already reside on the platform. This gives Centric a state-of-the-art SaaS proposition that is fully automated and that can handle all our customers’ software engineering needs.
Automation By further automating our services (in collaboration with Centric Romania and Lithuania), we can perform standard tasks faster and reduce the risk of human error. Disruptions that occur in our environment are detected faster and in some cases even resolved without human intervention. In Lithuania, the Managed Services unit of Centric Lithuania concentrates on security, automation for SaaS applications, service desk activities and chat facilities. We have strengthened and expanded the partnership with our branch there, especially in the area of public cloud activities. We transferred the automation to the cloud in Lithuania and we broadened the expertise in the area of security services and the service desk (automated by chatbots).
In Romania we are working on developing applications as well as on monitoring. A DevOps organisation has been set up across all countries. In the reporting year, DevOps Support developed into a mature collaboration between the Netherlands, Lithuania and Romania and, as a result, the organisation has been able to raise matters like CI/CD, automation and collaboration with customers much faster and more productively.
'To give extra attention to the various themes of Managed Services across the board, we introduced the strategic improvement program Butterfly'
Butterfly In 2020, we continued along the route we started on with Managed Services in 2019. After the reorientation with the market-specific verticals in 2019, the focus in 2020 was on customer focus, efficiency and bringing innovation to the cloud. We also introduced our Butterfly programme with the aim of focusing additional attention on the various themes relevant across Managed Services. This internal strategic improvement programme ensures that projects and activities that revolve around customer focus, efficiency and innovation are aligned. The programme helps the organisation set priorities while also improving internal and external communication. All Managed Services staff are involved in this programme.
Customer focus To respond effectively to the increasing dynamics and impact of IT on our customers’ business, in 2020 Centric intensified its collaboration with customers. By implementing a continuous Advising, Implementing, Managing and Optimising process, using customer teams we support our customers in their use of IT applications to achieve their objectives.
Expansion and centralisation Thanks to the commitment of our customer teams, comprising expertise in consultancy, project management, service management and account management, we are able to devise and offer solutions that address our customers’ challenges and embed these solutions in the organisation. The expansion and centralisation of our sales and delivery organisation carried out in 2020 is supporting this development. We are also getting more customer involvement in the Managed Services strategy, by approaching various customers for their feedback on our new mission, vision and value proposition for example.
Dutch IT Sourcing Study With the insight into the current market needs and developments we obtained by participating in the annual Dutch IT Sourcing Study (a market study by Quint in collaboration with Whitelane Research), we can step up customer focus in our services even more and develop these further.
Efficiency We were able to use our knowledge and resources more efficiently in 2020 by working closely with Centric divisions like Public Sector Solutions, HR & Payroll Solutions, Professional Staffing and Retail Solutions. Standardising and automating processes across Managed Services also contributed to this efficiency boost. We kept our focus on security and the associated audits as well as on phasing out legacy systems.
Microsoft first In 2020, we opted for a Microsoft first approach, provided that the solution best meets the needs of our customers. We developed our services for the public and private cloud using Microsoft technology.
Data centre relocation This year, we started moving our data centres in Gouda, Zoetermeer, Eindhoven and Moordrecht to two new Equinix data centres in Amsterdam. From these new locations, we will be in a position to respond faster and more effectively to future developments and innovations.
Cloud Practice In 2020, the focus will be on providing our customers relevant cloud services. For this purpose we have set up Cloud Practice, a separate business unit that focuses on the development of these services and a sustainable management environment. Assessments for the cloud services have been developed, enabling customers to quickly gain insight into the benefits that can be achieved within their organisation. With the Cloud Practice approach, we make a targeted contribution to companies achieving their business objectives and to their employees reaching their goals. We do this by helping them to make the best possible use of the possibilities offered by the public cloud.
Chat and chatbots In the field of user support, there is a growing need for experience-driven contact, where users choose the contact channel that best suits their query. In addition to standard phone and email support, in 2020 Centric added smart chat to its contact options. Users can ask their question using chat and have access to smart real-time translation. Staff at branches outside the Netherlands can also easily be part of the user support. In addition, we have started handling simple questions using chatbots.
New customer projects In 2020, we started providing service desk and on-site support services to the ZorgSaam hospital and healthcare group. All hospital users receive expert answers to their support questions. When necessary, Centric staff visit the locations to solve problems and help with internal projects. The service desk support is provided from our central service desk in Hoogeveen. Centric provides user support for Tata Steel (TSE) in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). This concerns all phone and on-site support at the TSE offices and plants in the Netherlands. TCS and Centric have signed a five-year contract. We migrated a number of our existing customers to a new Microsoft workplace environment, in some cases combining this with an adoption process so that staff there can make effective use of the new technology. Additionally, in 2020 Centric introduced its Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution, a service where customers pay a fixed monthly fee for a physical workplace (i.e. devices) which Centric manages throughout its lifecycle. Private cloud The number of customers using Centric applications on our own private cloud continued to grow in 2020. For example, we offered local authorities in Den Helder and Gouda our Key2Financiën financial information management package, and Veenendaal switched to our Key2Belastingen tax information management package provided through our cloud.
Centric Managed Services continuously monitors the trends in technology as well as customer developments. We will continue on the road to developing and applying cloud technology and, with this, push on with optimising our customers’ business processes. We will further develop the application of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data analyses in the near future. In terms of IT outsourcing, in 2021 we will continue along the route we set out on previously and new developments in this area will be given a place in our service portfolio. With our many years of experience in the area of security, monitoring and vendor management, we will continue to ensure the continuity of the business processes of our current and future customers. In 2021, we will continue to focus on the further development of the Cloud Management Platform, Modern Workplace, security services and the governance and operations of the Azure platform based on Microsoft technology. An essential aspect of this is implementing IT outsourcing on the basis of continuous development so that, by focusing on customer success and operational excellence, we can at all times guarantee and continuously optimise the service we provide our customers.