Application Management Services as a Collaborative Partnership: One Reinsurance Company’s Story About Why They Wanted More Than Break-Fix Beyond Dynamics 365 Finance Implementation

Rick Harper
20 Oct, 2021

Frank Hamelly, an HSO Functional Solution Architect and part of our Managed Services/Application Management team, said this recently:

“Many technology integrators and other providers give managed services or application management the short end of the stick, probably because it isn’t seen as a profit center, so it is only staffed or prepared for break-fix or reactive work. I think that’s a missed opportunity because clients can benefit so much more from high value, strategic application management services like assessments and road-mapping.”

We agree, which is why our Application Management team is staffed with business and technology experts who can address break-fix requests but also think proactively, offering valuable input and services that help clients get the most out of their IT investments.

And our clients agree, too.

Take, for example, an HSO client that is the world’s largest catastrophe reinsurers and provider of casualty and specialty reinsurance.

It started with a global, organization-wide, ERP transformation…

The firm first came to HSO for a new ERP system. They were using a legacy system for core accounting functions, which was slow, difficult to use, and unable to handle the firm’s global requirements, including complex, multi-entity consolidations.

The implementation included revolutionary integrations with applications never-before attempted in the industry.

We implemented Dynamics 365 Finance, which included a huge development engagement to build an integration between online banking systems and SICS, an on-prem, insurance industry specific subsidiary ledger, and D365 that had the capability to handle the one million transactions with details per month that needed to be pulled out of SICS, summarized, and moved into Dynamics.

The engagement also included a firm-wide transition from ground to cloud to address performance issues around spikes in data volume and processing traffic—“swinging” from a single file with a few hundred records once a month to millions of records automatically reconciled per day.

We accomplished that by creating a hybrid data center using Azure and serverless compute at the core. This addressed the data volume issues and laid the foundation for the rest of the transformation.

Dynamics 365 addressed complex, global multi-entity consolidations and provided much-needed transparency.

When the project went live and the transformation was complete, the firm’s very complex, global multi-entity consolidations were streamlined and could provide much-needed transparency, back-office processes were simplified and streamlined, improving productivity and efficiency, and reporting was automated with the help of Microsoft Management Reporter and Power BI.

“When new products are coming down the line, HSO keeps us aware of what’s going on. They have a deeper relationship with the technical teams within Microsoft, so we are made aware of what’s coming in advance, which gives us more time to prepare.”

Assistant VP and Program Manager

But the partnership didn’t stop there…

This mammoth, highly customized transformation went so well, and the firm saw so much immediate value that they decided that the partnership with HSO was a valuable one and wanted to continue with it. They not only engaged with us on other development projects, but they also signed on with our Application Management team for ongoing support, both tactical and strategic. Marie-Pier Blondeau, HSO’s Application Management Team Lead, credits the continuation of the partnership to trust and transparency.

The client’s assistant vice president program manager sums up the relationship very simply: “Fast response by smart people who know how to solve problems.”

What’s behind this statement is a collaborative partnership, where our team is actively engaged with their team at key points. For example, HSO handles tasks like technical testing in advance of an upgrade so the firm can stay focused on the business and handle their part of the upgrade quickly.

Another big advantage around new releases of the product pointed out by the firm is HSO’s relationship with Microsoft.

“When new products are coming down the line, HSO keeps us aware of what’s going on,” says the VP. “They have a deeper relationship with the technical teams within Microsoft, so we are made aware of what’s coming in advance, which gives us more time to prepare.”

The HSO team also works with the firm in areas like data management, user management, and yes, break-fix requests.

The firm prides itself on being self-sufficient, with a knowledgeable internal IT team, so it’s important that the HSO team collaborates at the appropriate level. The VP views the team as “an elastic resource”—comparing us to having workloads in the cloud, which can scale up and down very easily, based on need. “I know they’re there when and how we need them, and they’re watching out for us, but they engage the way we want them to. It’s a huge weight off our shoulders, knowing there’s a smart team we can throw at the problem.”

They come up with their own IT roadmaps and the like, but they count on HSO to give them feedback and advice as well as providing direction on helping the firm with how to get there.

Marie-Pier agrees that the relationship has the right balance. “We have regular meetings where we collaborate to understand and prioritize their requests and challenges. We show them that we have their backs while respecting their intelligence and knowledge. All clients are different, so it’s our job to figure out who it is and what they want. When you know what you’re dealing with, you can give them what they want and make sure they’re happy.”

The firm sees Dynamics 365 Finance as the “center of the financial universe”—a stepping stone the firm can build on from there.

“The team built confidence and trust with transparency, honesty, and dedication to success.”

Marie-Pier Blondeau Application Management Team Lead, HSO

Why HSO for Application Management?

MarketWatch anticipates the Global Application Management Services market will grow 22+ percent through 2025.

Companies today want ready-made solutions and mobile apps that support modernizing the organization. Your Application Management provider should be a proactive, strategic advisor that help you get more value from your IT investments.

For more than two decades, we’ve been helping companies maximize their IT systems. Learn more about our Application Management and Support Services, and contact us for a free, Big Brain Session to see how we can take your organization to the next level.

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