Combining the right people with the right processes
The GFMS association is accountable to its insurance industry members. Many of the largest insurers in the US are represented on GFMS boards, which monitor performance of the association and participate in major decisions. The boards were well aware of the DR vendor issue and supportive of the move back to Sungard AS. Without a tested and proven recovery solution in place, GFMS was exposed to risks that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
“We didn’t need to look at other vendors this time,” says Kotzev. “We were always pleased with Sungard AS’ performance, and went back to them. Once we negotiated the cost and a few other clauses in the contract, everybody was in agreement, from the board to the president to the IT department.”
Next, Kotzev and his IT team met with their Sungard AS project team to confirm detailed technical requirements, establish a project plan and set an aggressive timeline. The teams worked closely to meet defined milestones both large and small.
Commitment key to a successful test
At the project’s 12-week mark, the Sungard AS team initiated its first disaster recovery test, right on schedule. Although the contract specifies a four-hour RTO, the DR test proved that Sungard AS could recover GFMS’ systems and data in just two hours.
Kotzev was pleased with both the test result and the team effort. “It was really nice to be part of a well-managed project and to see the way that Sungard AS operates,” he says. “We have a small IT team, so everyone’s a jack of all trades. Through this project, we gained not just disaster recovery and networking expertise, we also saw how to successfully manage a complex project. It was very helpful to our department.”
Kotzev welcomes the advances in technical capabilities that are part of this latest Sungard AS solution for GFMS — but he’s also happy that some things have stayed the same.
“I can see that Sungard AS has kept the same values in respect to people,” says Kotzev. “They are highly specialized and committed, and backed with a strong chain of command and good leadership. From the very first meeting with our project manager, I knew we were in the right hands. In project meetings when technical issues don’t have an obvious owner, Sungard AS people step up and volunteer, saying, ‘I’ll take care of that.’”