It’s happened time and time again: large corporations wavering between total in-house IT and complete outsourcing, only to discover that neither option provides a truly cost effective and efficient solution. Such was the case with European oil company Rompetrol, who seesawed between both approaches, all the while wasting value time, money and resources only to lose control over their IT altogether. This all changed, however, when CIO Marcel Chiriac took over in 2012.
Upon discovering that the outsourcing firm the company had hired had grossly mishandled things, Chiriac took on the daunting task of getting things back under control as quickly as possible. Weighing his options, and considering the fact that shifting everything back to in-house again that fast would be just short of impossible, Chiriac opted instead for a hybrid IT environment. This provided the “best of both worlds” in terms of control and efficiency.
The first step in the process involved putting together a team of IT professionals with whom he could work to renegotiate contracts with the many software vendors Rompetrol dealt with. Chiriac’s in-house team then had the job of evaluating the state of the company’s IT infrastructure since it had been managed by the previous provider. The results were disheartening. Additionally, the outsourcing provider refused to cooperate with the transition, making the process extremely frustrating and arduous.
Knowing he was working with a timeframe of just 3 months, Chiriac knew that using traditional technologies simply wouldn’t be sufficient to gain control over and document the asset transfer process. He decided that IT process automation might be his best option for meeting the tight deadline and getting the company’s IT performance back up to par. The new IT provider got to work extracting the information needed to allow Rompetrol to begin securing their scattered and vulnerable infrastructure.
Perhaps the most important step taken during this 3 month period was the introduction of “virtual operators”. These are essentially just IT service robots which helped to quickly identify the exact network composition. In addition to facilitating the consolidation and optimization of the company’s infrastructure, these virtual engineers also enabled in-house IT professionals to manage incidents more proactively. This allowed problems to be resolved quickly and efficiently, improving performance and service levels.
Within just one month’s time, automated solutions had been put in place for more than 2,000 items, including switches and servers for over 750 of Rompetrol’s gas stations. There has only been one single outage since the shift to the new hybrid model, and it’s succeeded in reducing operating costs by 27%. At this point, the internal IT team is able to focus on further optimization needs.
Beyond what this means for other companies looking to cut costs and improve IT operations, the use of virtual operators is poised to revolutionize things for managed service providers. IT Automation will open up new avenues of opportunity to provide enhanced levels of support, maximize internal resources, lower costs and maintain competitive advantage. As businesses begin to recognize this hybrid approach, they will begin to once again look to managed service providers to help them achieve the best of both worlds in terms of control, IT security and efficiency.