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Capgemini BPO deploys hybrid thin client solution with Ubuntu Advantage
Capgemini’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) solutions have helped some of the world’s largest, multinational corporations transform their business processes in the areas of finance and accounting, customer operations management, human resources, procurement, supply chain management, sustainability, and social media management.
To manage IT costs, increase efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction for client engagements, it was decided to replace the non-standard end user equipment and management around the world with a single, global, standardised IT services model – which became known as the Model Delivery Center (MDC) thin client concept.
Using a hybrid thin-client approach with cost-effective devices, the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating system, and applications as web services, the MDC has delivered a secure and flexible platform that fulfils the key requirements for BPO service delivery.
For global organisations, IT complexity is a constant challenge. Disparate hardware, software and processes lead to high costs and duplicated management effort.
By standardising infrastructure and creating cost-effective and centrally managed IT solutions, organisations can save time and manage cost and dramatically improve the experience for internal users and customers.
These were the objectives for Capgemini’s world-leading business process outsourcing (BPO) division, which has offices worldwide.
Paweł Zięba, Senior IT Innovation Consultant at Capgemini BPO, says: “In the past, BPO offices in different countries built their own IT infrastructures and solutions to meet local customers’ needs. To reduce complexity and minimise infrastructure costs, we needed to replace disparate hardware and software infrastructure around the world with a single, standardised, global IT delivery model.”
To realise its vision, Capgemini BPO designed and built an IT solution known as the Model Delivery Center (MDC) thin client concept. By eliminating the need for local infrastructure and applications at BPO offices worldwide, the thin client concept has improved Capgemini BPO’s efficiency, simplified management and enhanced the end user experience. What’s more, the hybrid thin-client approach means data remains on customers’ servers at all times, ensuring high levels of data security.
“We now use the same, secure IT solution to deliver outsourced business services for all customer engagements globally,” says Zięba. “There’s no more need for costly regional infrastructure and high-spec, fat-client devices,” he adds. “Instead, we simply give people cost effective devices running Ubuntu to access remote services and cloud applications.”
The thin client concept is based on standardised, hybrid thin-client devices (commercial off the shelf mobile PCs), a single software image; centralised configuration and monitoring tools; and remote access to applications hosted in the cloud or in customers’ datacentres. Key software installed on the thin client software image includes Ubuntu, remote clients, a web browser, a VPN client and a SIP software telephone.
The mobility of the thin client devices in conjunction with the level of data security allows for a flexible ‘working from alternate locations’ approach in business continuity situations at a minimised risk for data loss.
In its first year, the MDC thin client concept has been extended to over 1,000 employees working on a number of customer engagements around the world. This number will be ramped up to 3,000 users over the next three years, with an eventual target of more than 10,000. In addition, all new engagements will roll out on this architecture as standard.
The single, global software image for the MDC thin client concept is based on the Ubuntu 10.04 Long Term Support (LTS) operating system. “I’ve never found a better, more secure, more user-friendly and flexible alternative to Ubuntu Linux for the desktop, which is why we chose it as our global standard,” says Zięba.
To get the best performance from its Ubuntu desktops, Capgemini BPO subscribes to the Ubuntu Advantage service from Canonical – the company behind Ubuntu.
“Canonical helps us to eliminate the business impact with rapid response and resolution of outstanding issues, and make sure our devices deliver optimum performance,” says Zięba. “What’s more, Ubuntu Advantage gives us access to Landscape, an intuitive system for managing and configuring our Ubuntu devices from a central point in the cloud.”
In addition to standardised devices running the Ubuntu operating system, Capgemini BPO users also access cloud-based collaboration tools for email, messaging, PIM, office applications, document sharing, storage and communications.