ITOCHU Singapore implements a robust IT governance framework of its IT assets across all offices in ASEAN and Southwest Asia, supported by system integration experts CTC Global.
General Manager, Information Systems
ITOCHU Singapore Pte Ltd
Thien Vui Chung
Assistant General Manager, Information Systems
ITOCHU Singapore Pte Ltd
|The Service||CTC Global provided managed services to implement a new desktop management software across ITOCHU SG's IT environment, supporting remote management of offices with no residential IT staff and the collection of accurate data of all IT assets.|
ITOCHU Singapore (ITOCHU SG) is an established conglomerate involved in a variety of businesses covering aerospace and machinery, energy and chemicals, ICT, and general products and realty. First established in 1956 as a representative office in Singapore, the company operates as a subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation, one of the largest conglomerates in Japan with over 130 offices in 80 countries.
As the company continues to expand their business in ASEAN and Southwest Asia, its IT infrastructure is also growing alongside the business' needs. However, this resulted in increasingly complex IT systems, which made it more challenging for ITOCHU SG to gain visibility into vital systems, processes and data spread across the region. Hence, ITOCHU SG could not identify and make informed decisions on actions that could ease IT asset management and mitigate risks.
To improve compliance and reduce risks, Zenichiro Urakami, General Manager, and Thien Vui Chung, Assistant General Manager of the Information Systems department of ITOCHU SG, were tasked in July 2011 to design and oversee IT governance for ITOCHU's offices in the ASEAN and Southwest Asia bloc, with a focus on the thousands of PCs and servers that were deployed across the region. Ultimately, the intention was to create an IT governance framework that would give the company a timely, accurate and transparent view of its entire environment.
"A proper IT governance framework will not only create a foundation for evaluating performance in terms of vulnerability assessments and risk analyses, but also help us make better business decisions and satisfy compliance requirements," explained Urakami. "As one of the largest integrated corporations in the world, ITOCHU cannot afford to take risks with its systems or data."
In the early stages, Urakami and Chung started with an approach that required IT staff from regional offices to manually capture information on all its PCs and server systems, mark out any anomalies and address them. However, it soon became apparent to the duo that this manual approach was unsustainable; it was prone to human error, and also required a significant investment in IT personnel's time that could be better spent on other value-added duties.
"Since this was our first time implementing such an initiative, we decided that we needed to engage experts that could help us achieve our objectives-especially with regards to our PC management and security-in a more effective and efficient manner," said Urakami.
After a detailed evaluation process, ITOCHU SG appointed CTC Global as its partner of choice to strengthen its IT governance approach.
"We decided to work with CTC Global because we believed in their capabilities and were impressed with the team that would be working on the project," said Chung. "What's more, CTC Global's proposal showed a good understanding of our requirements, and was reasonably priced."
CTC Global recommended that a core component of the IT governance initiative would be to implement a robust desktop management software, which could provide a comprehensive monitoring, management and security platform for its PC and server fleet in the region. The solution would give the IT team the ability to remotely manage all the PCs in the region, as well as collect data efficiently and in real time-without the need for human intervention.
Once ITOCHU SG had given the green light for implementation, things progressed quickly. "The first phase of the implementation for the Singapore office took one week to complete. However, there was a settling time of a couple of months to optimize software settings so that it would run perfectly for us, which is to be expected for an implementation of this scale," said Chung.
He continued, "With the learnings gleaned from the first phase, the team progressed rapidly to the next office in Bangkok. Thanks to the team's experience, responsiveness and attention to detail, the second phase went off without a hitch in 5 days flat."
CTC Global's proactive attitude was apparent throughout the implementation process. At one stage, the team discovered that ITOCHU SG had multiple versions of an anti-virus software installed in its environment. Since the support contract would expire soon, CTC Global helped ITOCHU SG to identify and evaluate another anti-virus software to replace the current one, providing managed services to upgrade all PCs with the new standardized software automatically and with minimal disruption to users. To this end, CTC Global created a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) sandbox that mimicked ITOCHU SG's IT platform, so that the team could validate all OS security patches before pushing the patch to end users in a live environment.
CTC Global also demonstrated its commitment to resolving issues even after implementation. When PCs started to slow down, the team put in place an on-site/off-site support and triage team to identify the cause of the problem. When the team discovered the cause-an outdated patch in the OS-CTC Global resolved the issue through deploying immediate security updates whenever possible, and committing additional engineering time to work on re-patches.
Thanks to the desktop management solution and managed services provided by CTC Global, ITOCHU SG now has complete visibility, and an accurate, up-to-date inventory of all of its hardware and software components in the region. In addition, the IT team can also keep track of newly-added hardware in the environment, while preventing the installation of prohibited or unlicensed applications. With this new level of visibility and transparency across the IT environment, ITOCHU SG can now ensure that software licensing complies with business and regulatory requirements.
"In the past, our engineers had to perform software updates one endpoint at a time. With CTC Global's help, we can now update software on all endpoints in one go, cutting down on interruptions that would impact the productivity and performance of our staff," said Urakami. "This uninterrupted view of the software in use will not only help us ensure that they are kept up to date, but also allows us to automatically identify potential security breaches that may occur. As a result, our staff can detect and resolve any security loopholes or issues quickly, reducing the likelihood of downtime that could cost the business."
Currently, CTC Global is working with ITOCHU SG to deliver a consolidated view of all of its IT assets in a single pane of glass. CTC Global is collaborating closely with the application vendor to tailor the application to suit the specific requirements of the client, and to deploy it with minimal impact on end users, since the platform is already live.
"CTC Global's participation has really helped us focus our strategic priorities on making sure that project processes are run more efficiently, and helping us achieve optimal results. Throughout our engagement with them, we could see that the team consistently demonstrated a high level of service and commitment to our needs," said Chung.
CTC Global's managed services, which include software installation, license management, automated vulnerability scanning and advanced patch management, have allowed ITOCHU SG the opportunity to collect data that would help them innovate and support new business initiatives in the future.
"We have plans to roll out this implementation to all our other ASEAN offices, which we are hoping to complete by the end of the 2016 fiscal year. We see our partnership with CTC Global as one that extends beyond technical troubleshooting and into knowledge transfer and skills development," said Urakami.
Comment from ITOCHU Singapore Pte Ltd
"With CTC Global's help, we can now update software on all endpoints in one go, cutting down on interruptions that would impact the productivity and performance of our staff. This uninterrupted view of the software in use will not only help us ensure that they are kept up to date, but also allows us to automatically identify potential security breaches that may occur."
General Manager, Information Systems
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