Persistent Systems, a global company specializing in software product and technology services, embarked on an enterprise digital transformation journey early on. Leveraging the new doctrine of ‘software-driven business’, the Persistent IT team was challenged to design business solutions that would stretch the limits of the existing architecture and legacy systems and force them to introduce a foundational change in the way applications are visualized and designed.
For more than a decade, Persistent used a very basic and traditional website as its intranet for communications, document management, and searching information. It was a collection of links redirecting employees to pages with respective information and different applications. Over the years, the company built and assembled a disparate collection of web pages that were independent of each other and mostly antiquated.
When Persistent’s IT team launched an initiative to revamp the intranet, they took a very bold step to build the new intranet on ‘mobile first.’ With Gen Y entering the workplace, consumerization of IT, and ‘always connected’ nature of the workforce, mobility is taking a center stage and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is becoming an enterprise standard at Persistent Systems. “The days of ‘one size fits all’ are long gone, so Persistent Intranet (Pi) has been developed to work on any device that our 8,000 employees use, be it an iOS or an Android. This ensures that they can focus on our core mission of contributing to a digital transformation for our customers,” says Mohit Bhishikar, CIO, Persistent Systems.
The wave of personal smart devices is now impacting the shores of every corporation. Consumers are making the most of smart devices and expect utility, convenience, and delighted experience in apps for navigation, shopping, communication, and entertainment. Given these imperatives of the new digital workplace, Persistent IT’s aspirational goal was to offer information to any person who is eligible to receive it anytime, anywhere on any device securely while creating a new architecture and policy framework for large-scale enterprise mobility.
Digital Innovations @ Persistent
Persistent IT has built three innovative and intelligent business applications: Lighthouse, Fishbowl, and Gemstone that leverage the unified search interface and a complex ontology built on top of legacy ERP systems to simplify the ability to search and retrieve documents. Moreover, the IT team has extended its capabilities in developing an interactive app, OrgConnect, for email analytics-based solution, which helps the organization to leverage collective contacts of employees and figure out the best route to build new professional relationships across the organization. To achieve these objectives, Persistent followed the ‘mobile first’ approach and principle of digital transformation to enable the mobile workforce and increase the productivity.
“We didn’t just update old systems to make them mobile. We embraced the benefits of mobile to better drive our business through improved employee experience. Therefore, instead of designing for the desktop and adapting the portal experience for small screens, the design focused on the needs of mobile users first and let the desktop expand around the core mobile functionality,” says Bhishikar.
Lighthouse is a consolidated, searchable repository of all business development collaterals at Persistent (proposals, case studies, brochures, solution briefs, etc). Lighthouse has been designed with a view to create a common, searchable repository of such documents by reading the email exchanges of sales, business development, and delivery personnel. It not only picks appropriate attachments from the email, but also indexes value-adding information such as names of SMEs and sales person involved in the deal, technology, domain, and names of contributors (people marked in CC). This application is capable of handling sensitive data and managing version control and duplicates.
Fishbowl is a search application that helps the Talent Acquisition team in the HR department to easily search for external candidates by providing a centralized view of resumes of applicants in a single repository irrespective of the channel through which they are sourced from (careers section of the corporate website, third-party vendors, job portals, employee referrals, etc). The inbuilt advanced text analytics engine provides easy/automated content creation by auto-scanning of resumes in the respective channel-specific underlying database/file server. Important information like skills, sub-skills, and years of experience are automatically fetched from the resume document by the advanced text analytics engine and stored as metadata against the resume in the search database for easy facet-based filtering of search results.
Gemstone is a searchable repository of all resumes of Persistent employees and is built on the same design principles as Fishbowl. Gemstone is targeted at the Talent Management team in HR with the objective of reducing the overall resource allocation cycle time—from the creation of a staffing request to allocation of a suitable internal resource.
All three applications leverage the search capabilities of Attivio Active Intelligence Engine and rely on the Hadoop infrastructure for advanced text analytics of structured and semi-structured data.
Solution Design and Implementation
Convinced of the benefits of offering intranet functions on mobile devices, the priorities of the mobile environment served as the driving force for the project and were considered first when designing the new portal. The design for mobile intranet comprised of a flatter architecture, with focused and shorter task flows and an efficient navigation.
There was an overwhelming consensus that the new mobility stack would contain significantly different components that could dramatically change the fundamental architecture. Therefore, as a first step for embarking on the new journey, the traditional approach of IT was turned upside down to focus on app development requirements first instead of focusing on infrastructure build out. This was an ‘outside-in’ approach deliberately used to understand mobile app development process first.
Persistent’s Enterprise Mobility Framework for Pi encapsulates various components. One of the basic components is Mobile Device Management (MDM) that helps IT to register, track, manage, and protect the devices that connect to the enterprise data. MDM’s functionality typically includes over-the-air distribution of policies, data, and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices. This applies to both enterprise-owned and employeeowned devices across the enterprise. IT selected Persistent Radia 9.1 Mobile Device Management solution to manage mobility within the enterprise.
With digital transformation initiatives, Persistent has reaped significant business benefits. The company has been able to reduce resource allocation cycle time and has registered an increase in employee efficiency. Further, the employees have been empowered to connect with the right person in any organization, as the time spent on finding a connect into a new organization has been reduced by 20 minutes.