The Association des Paralysés de France (APF) has selected Colt, a leading provider of business communications and IT managed services, to manage its “IT System 2010” programme. Under the agreement, Colt will centralise the company’s financial applications, which currently spread across 400 sites and more than 280 servers, into one single, centralised and scalable platform. This innovative infrastructure, which uses VMware® virtualization solutions, frees the commercial sites from IT system management constraints so the AFP can focus on its operational business activities. Flexibility, high-performance and security are the watchwords of this new platform.
11,000 employees providing assistance to people with disabilities and their families
Founded in 1933, the APF provides assistance to people with disabilities and their families so they can participate fully in society. The association leads initiatives on subjects such as diverse accessibility, employment, financial resources, education, health and social issues. The APF has a workforce of more than 11,000 employees in France, spread across 400 branches including departmental delegations, sites providing assistance for employment or homecare assistance, and adapted care structures for adults and children.
In terms of its IT system, a 60-employee-strong IT provides support to all branches that are in direct contact with disabled people. These branches were previously responsible for their own IT system infrastructure and workstations, with the IT System Management Division simultaneously managing more than 280 servers geographically spread across all branches. In order to refocus the efforts of each site and to rationalise all of the servers, thereby bringing flexibility into the organisation while increasing performance levels and security, the IT System Management Division launched a strategic IT overhaul programme called IT System 2010.
“IT System 2010”: harmonisation and centralisation in line with local services
Fabien Ebrard, Deputy Director of the APF IT System, project said: “Our objective with the new “IT System 2010” project is to simplify and reduce the burden on our various APF branches so that they can devote their entire focus to the core activities in their domain; to provide services to adults and children with disabilities. We are aiming to centralise our IT systems so as that we can centrally support the multiple branches of the APF”.
Project management teams will be charged with leading the change management, responsible for production, hotline support, new application development, application maintenance. In addition, local technicians will be on call to ensure the provision of local maintenance services for all entities across France.
The “IT System 2010” project requires the technical centralisation of all software applications shared by the multiple APF sites – accounting, finance and human resources – across a unique single platform which will provide remote access for users.
Fabien Ebrard said: “We are aiming to bolster the security of our data and are keen to increase the scalability of our infrastructure. We selected Colt for this partnership as they have delivered excellent service since 1994 when we brought them on to host our intranet and website”.
A “virtual” platform offering flexibility, high-performance and security, paving the way for new horizons
Hosted within the premises of one of the 19 ISO 27001-certified Data Centres operated by Colt, the new “IT System 2010” platform has been operational since July 2010. To guarantee performance levels, service continuity and security, the “IT System 2010” platform uses a firewall cluster, DELL servers, SAN EMC bays with Fibre Channel attachments and VMware vSphere™ solutions. Colt experts recommended VMware virtualization solutions so as to facilitate ERP instantiation, notably with the CEGID software programme, including over 1,000 Microsoft SQL databases.
Béatrice Rollet, Managed Services Solutions Director for Colt in France said: “In addition to rationalisation, the VMware solutions allow for application transfer, provisioning and scalability management. This project demonstrates Colt’s commitment to supporting its customers in strategic and organisational development, transforming organisations, and in developing and managing innovative, flexible and high-performance IT architecture further reaffirming its position as Europe’s leading information delivery platform.”
Thanks to the flexibility of the solution implemented via the new “IT System 2010” platform, the APF has already rolled out several application support projects, notably with the development of a software programme facilitating user maintenance planning for over thirty 30 APF branches across France.
Fabien Ebrard concluded by stating: “In unison with our organisation, today we have an “IT System 2010” platform which is genuinely focussed on meeting the “professional business requirements” of APF branches. The outsourcing of this platform has allowed us to reduce the internal burden of the complexities underlying such a project”.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE APF
The APF was established in 1933 following the goal of four young people with poliomyelitis determined to combat the social exclusion with which they were confronted. Seventy-seven years later, the association is continuing in its combat which is to enable people with disabilities and their families to be fully involved in society. The Association des Paralysés de France is a national association managed by a board of directors duly appointed by its members. The association constitutes both a social movement and an association managing medico-social services and institutions in accordance with a common charter and charity project programme. To find out more about the APF, please visit: http://www.apf.asso.fr/
Colt is Europe’s leading information delivery platform, enabling its customers to share, process and store their vital business information. Colt is an established leader in delivering integrated networking and IT managed services to major organisations, midsized businesses and wholesale customers. Colt operates a 13-country, 25,000km network that includes metropolitan area networks in 34 major European cities with direct fibre connections into 16,000 buildings and 19 Colt data centres.
Colt is listed on the London Stock Exchange (COLT). Information about Colt and its services can be found at www.colt.net.