Mastek Ltd is a publicly held, global IT solutions company
that has been growing at a CAGR of 60 percent over the
past five years. This software services company has
been set up in 1982, a time when software development
in India was a small niche but showed high growth potential.
by Gaurav Patra
Desk 4.0 was an exact fit for our needs keeping in mind
our Enterprise Network Management and Security, our
WAN, flexibility to users and change management" d
response time is now acknowledged as among the best
in the business. Our uptimes have dramatically improved
over a period of time thereby leading to superior levels
of customer satisfaction" Today,
Mastek provides software solutions to many Fortune 1000
Mastek has over 7000 man-years of experience achieved
through the execution of more than 700 projects worldwide.
The company employs over 1100 people and is ISO 9001
and assessed at SEI SW-CMM Level 5 and P-CMM Level 3.
The company's core services consist of application management,
offshore outsourcing and systems integration with focus
on insurance, financial services and telecom verticals.
Adhering to acknowledged benchmarks in service deliverables,
Mastek's networks and systems have to function in optimum
operational mode with zero or minimal downtime.
on image for larger view
Since IT infrastructure forms a basic component of Mastek's
line of business core IT components were a part of its
infrastructure right from the start. Along with Mastek's
growth, its IT infrastructure has grown from basic level
to a complex one. "We at Mastek are very proud
to talk about our world class infrastructure which is
highly appreciated by even our prospects and external
customers," commented Sudesh Rele, Head Technology
Infrastructure Services, Mastek Ltd.
The company operates from five development centers located
at Seepz (Mumbai), Mahape (Navi Mumbai) and Pune. Global
IT infrastructure is supported by Technology Infrastructure
Services (TIS) group at Mastek. They ensure all systems
are in tune with current standards by reviewing desktop
configurations every quarter and regularly conducting
technology evaluations with the help of its technology
partners: Dell, Compaq, Sun, HP, Microsoft, Oracle,
Cisco, Cabletron and Rational. New technologies are
benchmarked against existing systems. The benchmark
results are used as a guideline for selecting and deploying
appropriate technologies and securities keeping in mind
specific requirements from customers and projects. Every
change in the infrastructure is managed through defined
processes, which are reviewed periodically.
Reliable and efficient IT infrastructure is the backbone
of Mastek's offshore development centers. The IT infrastructure
at Mastek's offshore facilities has successfully passed
independent audits from customers like AT&T and
CSX Lines as well as ISO and SEI CMM assessments. The
company's offshore development centers at Seepz, Mumbai
are connected by a campus-wide multi-core fiber, which
collapses on to a fully redundant layer 3/4-enabled
Gigabit switch. The entire front-end development environment
uses a 100 Mbps switched network using edge switches
and AT&T Cat 5e cabling which ensures adherence
to future Gigabit standards. A similar LAN environment
is deployed at Mahape and Pune offices to ensure standards
and security across the organization. These centers
are connected to corporate office at Seepz using leased
lines from local service providers. Contingency is accounted
for through ISDN lines.
Mastek's network follows strict standards for LAN IP
address schemes. For every project, a separate VLAN
(Virtual Local Area Network) is formed using private
IP addresses with defined schema of sub-netting. This
IP Address schema along with VLAN protects Mastek's
network from internal as well as external threats. Entire
communication within LAN is controlled using Access
Control List on Backbone Switch; this ensures applications/databases
controlled access within projects. The network devices
are further protected from unauthorized access over
LAN/WAN, using encrypted passwords and predefined time
outs for open sessions.
Mastek's business units (BUs) located in various countries
have point-to-point connectivity using IPLCs (International
Private Leased Circuits) and are used for both data
and private voice communication. "This in turn
reduces the risk of external threats," commented
Rele. ISDN acts as an automatic fail-over to the IPLC.
"In case of connectivity problems, our network
automatically dials to ISDN leased lines. Routers are
configured to dial out but this can be activated and
controlled manually as well," said Rele.
communication over our Private Network is secured using
Access Control list on routers preventing un-authorized
access. Dial-out facility on Mastek's network is banned,"
he added. The additional security measures are applied
over WAN links on basis of project requirements. The
access from external world to Mastek's network is controlled
using firewalls. External firewall allows only authorized
access to Mastek's Private Network. DM Zone (De Militarized
Zone) and internal firewall further protects identified
hosts from external threats. Remote access to the company's
private network is allowed using VPN clients with software
The problem area
Mastek had been using low end products for Help Desk
operations. Such products, which are predominantly manual,
were not helping in proper filtering and analysis of
data. Work schedules mismatch and misinterpretation
of client problems was common. Since the products used
were less automated, case histories were difficult to
document. Consequently, establishing patterns and trends
relative to the problems were getting increasingly difficult
to map leading to user dissatisfaction in critical areas.
Lower customer turnaround times being crucial to Mastek's
success in overall scale of operations, there was a
definite need to phase the existing products out and
quickly move to the next level of advanced packages
that would not only offer extensive functionalities
but also ensure seamless Help Desk operations. "We
realized the need to look at an enterprise management
solution that would cater to the increasingly complex
requirements of our ever-growing client base,"
Secondly, Mastek's own business operations that spread
across multi-locations and various time zones needed
to be integrated under a unified service command.
Zeroing-in on the solution
This called for a holistic Web-based solution that would
cater to all complex levels of service operations. Accordingly
research efforts were galvanized and a comparability
chart of the various available enterprise level packages
was created. Extensive deliberations were carried out
with the core functional heads to determine the scope
and specific configurations of the solution to be sourced.
Certain clear-cut guidelines were outlined as to the
nature of the package to be chosen.
focus was on those companies that were capable of delivering
a solution that was efficient, reliable, cost-effective
and last but not the least advanced and had the capability
to handle complex enterprise functions," informed
Rele. Considering their multi-location business operations,
and multi-vendor systems, the specific parameters that
they looked at was proven performance in providing enterprise
solutions, local support, and degrees of customization,
future up scaling and cost-effectiveness.
and timely services are crucial determinants in our
competitive matrix. Needless to say, the Help Desk function
is a pivotal arm of our business operations wherein
we come in direct, one-to-one interface with our customers
and end users. Since, the existing products were not
giving the desired service benefits, we decided to go
in for a superior Help Desk package that would have
the necessary breadth of functionality and truly complement
our Help Desk functions," informed Rele.
After a methodical evaluation, Mastek finally homed
in on HP OpenView. "Service Desk 4.0 was an exact
fit for our needs keeping in mind our Enterprise Network
Management and Security, our WAN, flexibility to users
and change management. We also looked at a product delivering
proactive control of complex service requests of our
IT infrastructure and users resulting in improved end
customer satisfaction for IT services, and managing
changes faster and more efficiently," said Rele.
With direct help from HP, the company defined a plan
for implementation of Service Desk 4.0. All minute details
were recorded in process document. A micro level project
plan ensured a tight control on smooth implementation
of Service Desk. "A dedicated team from HP as well
as Mastek worked together to ensure a satisfactory implementation
of the entire project. Timely help was available from
HP to resolve various implementation level issues during
the project cycle," said Rele.
Mastek is using the Wintel platform to run central Service
Desk product from their corporate office located at
Seepz, Mumbai. Entire Mastek's infrastructure covering
more than 150 servers and 1200 users are mapped along
with their hardware, software, networking technology
environment under this implementation. Mastek plans
to integrate Service Desk 4.0 with its intranet to serve
employees and customers across the globe efficiently.
It also wants to manage internal service level agreements
across all services and platforms as well as vendors.
Mastek first rolled out Service Desk 3.0, which, at
that point of time was the latest available product
from HP. During the rollout, Mastek did face standard
installation and rollout issues, which were jointly
addressed by HP and their internal team. "Multiple
service patches were implemented to meet our IT environment
design and to address other minor issues. Over a period
of time and with the evolving needs of the company,
we felt there were additional areas that needed to be
addressed," informed Rele. "HP offered us
an upgraded version, Service Desk 4.0. The upgraded
version had certain functionalities that were absent
in 3.0 like on tap SLAs, contract details, business
rules, authorized licenses tracking, etc. that greatly
improved our operations quotient," he further added.
Help Desk Benefits
On a more specific level, HP OpenView Service Desk helped
manage Mastek's (client-specific) wide range of SLAs
(service level agreements) by showing which IT elements
the service depended on, which customers received the
service, and who is managing and supporting the service.
"The new levels of integration with HP OpenView
Internet Services Manager and HP OpenView Service Navigator
enabled our facilities management team to dynamically
manage their services better than before," stated
One of the greatest benefits of the HP OpenView Service
Desk is increased automation of logging of service calls
by users till closure. Previously the calls used to
be placed manually thereby problem interpretation was,
at times, subjective. Also, the call history, SLAs,
problem trends and a host of other crucial information
indices were not available on a tap. Now with the installation
of the OpenView Service Desk, all that a customer needs
to do is, log on to the Web (over their intranet) and
write the description of the problem faced. From here,
Service Desk takes over and the calls from users are
automatically assigned for action and deliverable results.
Some of the other benefits of the Service Desk implementation
include uniform compatibility across all systems and
applications, easy deployment, multiple SLAs and licenses
tracking resulting in productive work scheduling.
Desk has certainly eliminated our operational shortcomings
and the results have been astounding. With the roll
out of Service Desk, we could really understand where
we are and what we have to improvise on. And now we
have achieved 99.9 percent uptime in our service operations,"
Mastek has reaped the core benefits of OpenView Service
Desk. And this satisfaction is not limited to Mastek's
clients alone but also down-the-line service engineers.
Apart from increased uptimes, easy reporting and streamlined
work scheduling, Mastek has managed to further sharpen
its competitive service benchmarks. "OpenView Service
Desk has truly satisfied the set and well-defined parameters
that we had outlined at the start of our quest for a
reliable and efficient solution. Our response time is
now acknowledged as among the best in the business.
Our uptimes have dramatically improved over a period
of time thereby leading to superior levels of customer
satisfaction," commented Rele.
In the days to come, Mastek is planning to integrate
Service Desk 4.0 into the enterprise network to capture
information directly from network devices, servers,
workstations as well as from identified applications.
"We are confident that this integration will lead
us to move on to 99.99 percent uptime of our infrastructure
with total customer satisfaction with high ROI and low
TCO," he said.
Gaurav Patra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org