The cooperative insurance group P&V Group has been active on the Belgian market for over 100 years. It distributes its insurance solutions through a network of agents and brokers under various brand names, such as Vivium, Actel, Arces, and P&V Insurance. The group has around 1,700 employees. The constant underlying idea of solidarity with both the insured and society is still reflected today in the group's ambitions, namely to work together with clients on better insurance products that are tailored to the needs of private and independent clients, as well as companies and institutions.
The world is changing rapidly, and the insurance sector is also moving ahead with consolidations and extensive digitisation. This involves plenty of challenges for P&V Group. Whereas in the past, contact with clients always went through agents or brokers, today’s consumers increasingly want to communicate directly with their insurers.
IT is an essential element in this story of digitisation. “As an insurance company, we used to deal with lots of paperwork. After all, all requests, claims, files, and payments were paper-based,” says Christoph Cauwe, IT Team Leader at P&V Group. Most of these documents are now part of a digital process. “Besides, people now prefer to exchange their data directly with the insurer. They want to be able to contact us via web applications or apps on their smartphones and tablets. It means that we have to be available for the customer 24/7.”
To deal with the challenges of this digital transition, P&V Group has two data centres that need to be available at all times to guarantee business continuity. The data centre infrastructure consists of quite a few, mostly virtualised servers. This layer of virtualisation requires a massive amount of storage space, as does the ever-increasing inflow of digital documents that insurers need to store. Christoph Cauwe: “The solution we had was bursting at the seams, so we started looking for an update with high-speed storage capabilities that would also be modular.”
P&V Group set certain key conditions for the new solution. The top condition was High availability, and it had to be taken into account that there would be data centres at two locations, with redundancy and replication between the two if there was a problem at either location. The system’s speed was another vital factor. A third criterion was the system’s modularity. “P&V Group is continuing to grow, and there will be ever more digital solutions, so our new storage solution has to be modular, without loss of processing speed,” says Christoph Cauwe.
P&V Group started exploring the market on the basis of these criteria and organised a Request For Proposal. A comparison and analysis was made of the offers of several major suppliers based on the features offered and the price. “It turned out that Huawei’s solution was the most advantageous, and that it met all of our conditions.” Huawei proposed the OceanStor Dorado 6000 All-Flash Storage, Lightning-Fast and Rock-Solid.
Prodata Systems was an essential link in the entire project. As the IT integrators, they were involved right from the very start of the project. “We started our cooperation with Prodata Systems because of their expertise. As we have a relatively small IT team, it is necessary to bring in external expertise at some point. Prodata Systems provided not only the right solutions but also the people to guide us throughout the entire process,” says Christoph Cauwe.
Prodata Systems looked after the initial implementation and setup of the Huawei solution in the two data centres. They then supervised P&V Group’s IT people, so that they could migrate the data to the new solution independently. “For me, the added value of Prodata Systems is that they provided us with the necessary basic knowledge and helped us in the start-up phase. Thanks to the transfer of their knowledge, we were able to proceed. Even now, they are still our support line in difficult situations.”
We started the implementation about a year ago. Cauwe: “It all went without fault. We were able to make a smooth transition from one set-up to another after working hours. Our people never noticed anything. And that was very important for our business continuity. What our employees do notice, however, is that the data reaches them much more quickly, which leads to higher efficiency."
The technological advantages of this Huawei solution are that it is an All Flash solution, which is extremely fast and uses little power. Besides, it is a modular storage solution, making it future-proof. Another asset is its straightforward management via the intuitive console. “With just a limited team, I can monitor and upgrade a fast-growing storage environment when required.”
For the business benefits, Christoph Cauwe goes back to the group's ambitions: “As the IT team, this new set-up allows us to provide faster solutions for our business projects. This means that they can respond better to their customers’ new requirements and offer new services. Such as even more direct communications with the insured parties.”
P&V Group will carry on down its chosen path of digitisation. This means that various new digital projects are in the pipeline. “As a result, we will be in a position that we will have to expand Huawei's storage and our cooperation with Prodata Systems,” concludes Christoph Cauwe.
P&V Group's 2 data centers need to be available at all times in order to guarantee business continuity. This requires high speed storage capabilities that are modular.
OceanStor Dorado 6000 All-Flash Storage, Lightning-Fast and Rock-Solid
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