UNICC Supports ADB’s Real-Time IT Reforms

19 February, 2018

Photo: UNICC/Karmakar

ICT Support for an Asia and Pacific Free of Poverty

​We want to see digital transformation within ADB. Takehiko Nakao, President, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

We need to change our mind set, our processes, and our guidelines so that content and data can flow freely…and we can collaborate more easily. Shirin Hamid, Chief Information Officer (CIO), ADB

The Big Switch was amazing! There were posters, banners and table tops demonstrations everywhere in HQ. It was a great success! All 5000 users in HQ and Country Offices were successfully migrated to Outlook in November 2017. Rabindra Karmakar, UNICC Project Manager in Manila

Real-time ADB for greater efficiency and effectiveness

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to make optimal use of secure, modern ICT systems and digital processes to enhance its effectiveness, efficiency and resiliency. Digital modernization supports innovative financial products and facilitates a culture of innovation and responsiveness to changing client needs. The United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) plans are helping them get there.

ADB has been working through its IT and Data Committee (ITDC) and its Office of Information Systems and Technology (OIST) to create operational efficiencies through initiatives under its Real-Time ADB IT reforms. Building on these initial efforts, ADB is developing a long-term IT vision as part of its Strategy 2030, as well as creating a new IT investment plan.

At a town hall for the O365 Launch in late March 2017, ADB executives stood under a banner that read “Imagine IT” to inspire ADB users to see ‘The Big Picture’ and embrace the value of digital business solutions.

The Real-Time ADB programme will deliver a number of high-profile projects over the next years in supporting three complementary development agendas: inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

ADB is already making strides to align its operational planning, human resources, institutional structure, policies and strategies and business processes. The goal is to optimize ADB’s IT landscape to be better, faster and stronger. This means changes across the entire business, including knowledge tools, improving IT resiliency and enabling staff to work “Anywhere, Anytime, Anywhere.”

A winning partnership

ADB joined UNICC as a Privileged User Organization early in 2017 after several visits from the UNICC team to discuss a strategic partnership and to help streamline ICT at ADB. Many UNICC staff have now met with CIO Shirin Hamid and her team to discuss areas for greater business value at ADB.

So far, UNICC has helped with services and solutions including Disaster Recovery (business continuity), email migration project management (email and Unified Communications), Enterprise SharePoint setup (content and collaboration), an IP PBX/Skype for Business assessment (IP Telephony) and the Common Secure threat intelligence service (information security).

1. New disaster recovery site (business continuity)

First things first: ADB wanted to enhance its business continuity in the event of any outages or catastrophes. ADB’s historical Disaster Recovery site was too close to Manila, so ADB worked with UNICC to set up a site at UNICC’s Primary Data Centre (PDC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The project began in December 2016 and went through April 2017.

Now ADB has a thorough and redundant ‘warm’ Disaster Recovery service. Managed hosting services include environmental control and monitoring, physical security, network access to services hosted in UNICC-managed facilities, with an annual, scheduled disaster recovery test to validate the efficiency of its Disaster Recovery plan.

2. Project management support (email migration)

Project management support for ADB began in May 2017. This was to support the email migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365 cloud computing and a Unified Communications solution. UNICC project manager Rabindra Karmakar prepared project plans with agreed milestones and coordinated teams to make sure they met targets within determined timeframes. This meant managing day-to-day activities of project teams to ensure each project remained on schedule and on budget, as well as creating, maintaining and tracking project plans and schedules, cost estimates and problem logs throughout the life of the project.

Together with Microsoft, ADB launched ‘the Big Switch’ (from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365, One Drive, Yammer and Skype for Business). There were posters, banners and demonstrations all around ADB HQ. All 5000 users in HQ and Country Offices were successfully migrated to Outlook in November 2017.

3. SharePoint 2016 Hybrid environment, training, application lifecycle management (content and collaboration platform)

A strong and resilient communications and collaboration platform is a key driver of change – one that supports business needs including the move to Microsoft messaging and Unified Communications.

ADB chose a Microsoft SharePoint hybrid solution using the UNICC Enterprise SharePoint 2016 service on premise in Manila connected with the ADB SharePoint Online tenant in Asia. The project began in August 2017 and will near completion by the summer of 20918. The project includes SharePoint Hybrid architecture planning and deployment, configuring Cloud Hybrid search crawl on premise and online, as well as Disaster Recovery setup, configuration and testing.

The UNICC SharePoint team was able to assist ADB in setting up the full SharePoint infrastructure in ADB’s data centre. Knowing how complex SharePoint can be, the UNICC team managed issues, known challenges and provided a full solution design for a hybrid setup, acting as subject expert matters (SMEs) on any topics related to SharePoint. UNICC’s SMEs also provided training for SharePoint custom development, process workflow creation and Application Lifecycle Management.

4. Assessment (internet telephony)

As the ADB-UNICC partnership unfolded, ADB requested UNICC advisory support for recommendations in the area of Internet phone systems. Beginning in August 2017, assessment activities included two UNICC Skype for Business telephony SMEs for on-site meetings and workshops with ADB stakeholders meant to gather business and technical requirements.

5. Common secure threat intelligence network (infosec)

ADB has also subscribed to the Common Secure Threat Intelligence network, which shares timely, relevant and actionable cyber security threat and incident information. This enhances the ability of member international organizations to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate risks associated with cyber threats, developing a proactive preparation and response network in a service with a reputation for excellence.

First steps

These first five projects attest to a proactive, professional and successful partnership to help ADB work improve its effectiveness and efficiency in working towards achieving its vision of an Asia and Pacific free of poverty. UNICC is ready and able to assist with every step of the way.