Sapient undergoes digital metamorphosis

Onkar Sharma
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Globally, Sapient has a young, tech-savvy, and highly mobile workforce. Two years  ago, the IT team outlined a vision, “Deliver remarkable people experiences by providing outstanding IT services through business partnerships,” wherein the company’s focus was to envision ‘experience in a Sapient office of 2017,’ which would help it better understand the needs based on how people will engage, collaborate, and operate in a business environment.

“We took a very prudent approach to draft out an IT roadmap, wherein we ensured it’s aligned to our overall business strategy with appropriate endorsement and commitment from business executive leadership,” says Ashok Sethi, CIO, Sapient.Since then, Sapient embarked on a journey, wherein the focus was to rationalize and balance between the demands  needs of the young tech-savvy workforce whilst ensuring governance/control and simultaneously increasing productivity. “We needed to be pragmatic and at the same time cognizant of personal and professional persona  profile of our workforce, while recognizing geographic and cultural nuances,” adds Sethi.


It was imperative for the company to re-architect its  network  infrastructure to keep abreast with technological advancements; meet the growing demands for existing services; and expand to support additional services while keeping buffer for growth. The network architecture needed to be secure and redundant with high availability. To achieve this objective, Sapient evolved its network from traditional ATM and point-to-point connectivity links with multiple PoPs. This resulted in increased bandwidth capacity while reducing annual recurring costs.

“We have ensured that all fundamental network infrastructure

aspects such as security and access controls, QoS, and acceleration are effectively deployed. We conduct a network vulnerability test on scheduled intervals to test our environment,” explains Sethi.  Foreseeing the consumerization of IT and BYOD trend, the company partitioned and delineated its network infrastructure into four distinct layers: SapeNET to render all IT services; MobileNET for running core services with a capability to VPN tunnel into its IT services; AppNET for its developer community to access development platforms; and GuestNET for its visitors and guests to access network services for their operations. The Sapient IT team was clear that the network infrastructure needed to align and support an effective storage strategy to cater to the information backup from servers and end-point devices and DR demands on agreed recovery time and point objectives for critical services as well as data replication. At the same time, the network had to also accommodate network traffic for collaboration and social networking done through voice, data, and video respectively.


To create a sound foundation, the company focused on virtualization, remote infrastructure management, and system control. “It was imperative that we identified and deployed solutions that enhance services provided through our existing infrastructure investments or and complement our current platforms. We were not looking for technology but solution offerings that could solve our current and latent needs,” says Sethi. The IT team further focused on areas such as universal identity management, Unified Communications, content

and collaboration (including enterprise search), end user productivity, security and risk management; digital asset management, and mobile strategy with associated nuances of device management.In order to adapt to the changing and disruptive business models, highly mobile workforce, and fast-paced technology advancements including consumerization of IT, it was intrinsic to have a ‘Services Thinking’ orientation.

“While focusing on the user experiences through ‘Services Thinking,’ we embarked on a journey of innovation and transformation, which yielded easy manageability, improved operational efficiency, and led to reduced total cost of ownership to manage business operations,” adds Sethi.

To render appropriate services, it was critical to effectively manage the profile/persona of its workforce through a versatile and strong identity management framework.  The framework ensured a single sign-on capability to various services, bringing simplicity in the life of the user community. Within the gambit of information management, security and risk mitigation, the company has evolved its services to strategically include Data Loss Protection (DLP) solution and is focusing extensively on Mobile Device Management (MDM).

Sapient further claims to have taken a big step to enhance communication and collaboration within the organization. It created an intuitive and user friendly ‘People Portal,’ a platform for its people to connect, exchange information, collaborate, and share ideas. “The platform is based on the Microsoft SharePoint technology. This capability is further supplemented and enhanced through the implementation of ‘VOX’, a social media platform on JIVE which encourages people to connect, exchange information, point of views and ideas through group discussions and formation of communities,” says Sethi.


With Sapient adopting SaaS solutions as well as focusing heavily on mobile solutions, it was a prudent decision to focus on upgrading its existing enterprise applications stack to the latest versions and simultaneously deploy a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) to effectively integrate business applications within the intranet or the extranet.

“Mobile platforms primarily give flexibility and increase productivity by giving a rich collaborative experience and help people to do their administrative tasks on the go.

Our decision to move to SaaS and SOA was a thoughtful step in that direction,” divulges Sethi. Sapient is implementinga portfolio of mobile applications which include time tracking (entry and approval of time cards), expense management (expense capture and approval), people portal (access to the intranet), and transport management (booking transport for local travel).

Through an integrated mobile application store ‘SapeStore for Mobile Apps,’ Sapient employees can access applications for effective enablement of their functions on the go, whilst improving experiences. The store is a repository of native and hybrid mobile applications (including responsive designed applications) as well as pre-approved strategic publishers/partners mobile applications (ie, Cisco Jabber, inSync, Lync, Project Management tools and others). “Mobility is a strategic initiative which is intrinsic to our growth. It will facilitate us in transforming the way we function or conduct business. On regular intervals, the IT team plans to launch mobile services/applications that

will facilitate our people to perform business functions in real-time remotely, whilst simultaneously enhancing their experience,” concludes Sethi