We are driving business value, with enterprise collaboration

by Ashok Sethi    Nov 08, 2011

Ashok SethiSapient has close to 10,000 people worldwide with over two-thirds of them based out of India. Ensuring that everybody is well connected and communicating effectively is extremely important for our people as well as for our client’s success.

We embarked on a journey wherein the focus was to rationalize and strike a balance between the demands and needs of our young tech savvy workforce while ensuring governance and control without impeding productivity.

We needed to be pragmatic and at the same time cognizant of the profile of our workforce, simultaneously recognizing geographic and cultural nuances. To adapt to changing and disruptive business models, a highly mobile workforce and fast paced technology advancements it was prudent and intrinsic to have a “Services Thinking” orientation.

It was imperative that we identify and deploy solutions that enhance services provided through our existing infrastructure investments and/or complement our current platforms. We were not looking for technology but solution offerings that solved our current and latent needs.

To address these needs we furthered our focus in the areas of end user productivity; Universal Identity Management; Unified Communication, Content and Collaboration; Security and Risk Management and Mobile Device Management, respectively.

To render appropriate services it was critical to effectively manage profile/persona of our workforce through a versatile and strong identity management framework. The framework ensures single sign-on capability to various services bringing simplicity into the life of our users.

Whilst protecting our intellectual property through industry standard authentication platform, i.e. Active Directory (AD), relentless effort has been devoted to ensure users with single sign-on access to systems and applications located across our organizational boundaries.

We are deploying Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) to access Software as a Service (SaaS) based solutions and applications using a claims-based access control authorization model to maintain security and implement federated identity. AD provides a central location for network administration and security leading to an efficient authentication and authorization of all users. ADFS has simplified access to all our third party SaaS applications.

To further ease remote people connection to our services ecosystem it was critical to provide a seamless and secure remote access to our corporate network. We are leveraging Unified Access Gateway (UAG) which helps our people access business application services from anywhere outside our offices. This has lead to higher employee engagement, increased collaboration and in turn higher productivity. While deploying solutions we have ensured that disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities reduce/mitigate business disruption.

We have created an intuitive and user friendly People Portal. It is a platform for our workforce to connect, exchange information, collaborate and share ideas. The platform is based on the Microsoft SharePoint technology. This capability is complemented through implementation of Jive platform that extends social platform for collaboration and community exchange. We are further augmenting collaboration through deployment and integrating above capabilities with instant messaging and video conferencing capabilities by leveraging Lync technology.

(The author is Chief Information Officer, Sapient)