Zurich Insurance has been handed Techworld's Enterprise Project of the Year award for a major data centre transformation project led by services firm CSC.

The wide-ranging modernisation initiative involved an overhaul of the Swiss firm’s hardware and software systems, with 40 global data centres consolidated down to 11 in order to improve operational efficiency and business agility.

Image credit: iStock/ollo
Image credit: iStock/ollo

The two companies have had a long-standing relationship, signing a new services contract agreement in 2009 as part of a £1.5 billion deal lasting 10-and-a-half years. 

Five years into the project, a number of benefits have been achieved.

As well as reducing its data centre footprint, Zurich Insurance has either moved or virtualised 2,500 servers hosting 2,000 applications, with more than five petabytes of data moved to a CSC-run environment.

The modernisation has also improved performance and stability. This has resulted in a 60 percent reduction in the number of ‘severe’ incidents affecting its infrastructure, while UK downtime has fallen by 75 percent.

The extensive migration operation involved using CSC’s Migration Machine tools and processes to consolidate data from a number of different vendors and create transformation policies to limit the business impact of transferring data from legacy systems. It also resulted in disaster recovery networks being set up to mirror virtual networks, firewalls and other production components avoid disruption.

By moving to highly virtualised operations, Zurich has been able to achieve its goal of cost efficiencies across its organisation – with the firm citing double-digit cost savings due to the transformation programme.

"The global collaboration between CSC and Zurich is built upon a solid relationship,” said Thomas Kropp, head of IT infrastructure, Zurich Insurance Group

“The new global service delivery model offers greater stability and improved disaster recovery capabilities.

“Zurich now has a much more scalable service model and can enhance the availability of IT services to the business, which includes greater transparency around the cost of IT services."