Subject: Managed Hosting
Industry Sector: Professional Body
Organisation: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
One of the sectors in Asia that appears immune to the global economic crisis is education. It’s certainly what the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has found as its student base continued to grow in the region.
A few years ago, CIMA began plans to capitalise on the potential of region’s thirst for quality education and the global prestige of a Chartered Management Accounting qualification. Top on the list of priorities was a stable ICT solution that would deliver knowledge to the 172,000 students and members scattered across the globe.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a leading professional body of management accountants serving members and students in 168 countries. CIMA is committed to upholding high ethical and professional standards through its accredited courses, seminars and publications. CIMA’s website cimaglobal.com has always acted as a ‘hub’ for communication amongst its growing student and member base. In recent years, CIMAs aspirations to deliver education through more innovative and tactile multimedia formats, has driven them to demand more from their public facing website and the infrastructure that underpins it.
NTT Europe rationalised CIMA’s existing infrastructure into a single managed hosting solution. Initially, CIMA hosted their client facing corporate web site with NTT Europe as part of a staged migration from its incumbent provider. In addition they contracted an MPLS network. The web platform was innovative in that it was based on a Dual Site, Active / Active platform (hosted at NTT Europe's Slough and London, Docklands data centres)together with Smart Content Delivery
Last year CIMA added Phase 2 to the platform development by deploying a Siebel based back end CRM platform. This enables student to view personalised web content and allow’s CIMA staff to manage their membership. Additional tactical platforms have been added such as a financials platform and a new virtualised CMS platform based on Episerver.
The site is supported locally by a high-speed connections between the two NTT data centres and CIMA’s head office in the UK. In turn, this connects to NTT’s content delivery network, which caches and distributes site data globally to safeguard the performance of the site wherever and whenever it’s being accessed.
“NTT has a reputation for delivering top quality services, particularly managed hosting, which has made it easier to very quickly roll out changes to our key web application. Additionally, utilising NTT Europe’s international content delivery network has made us confident that our partners and members are still receiving quality content without interruption. It’s effectively enabling us to reach more people in more places and justify further international investment.”
Mie Mun, CIMA
A lot of functionality has been integrated into the site since its launch. Cimaglobal.com is now used to promote the skills of their graduates potential employers; advertise events, briefings, seminars and courses; stream educational videos; run discussion boards, blogs and members forums.
CIMA has reported that the global response times for its solution had reduced across the board, which met a key objective in enhancing the end user experience. The solution has also remained stable and able to service the peak loads they demand. Operationally, CIMA has reported that the response from the NTT Europe support centre is far better than the previous service provider, which means the internal operations staff can focus on core business issues and developments.
“The NTT team is a genuine extension of our own operations. They have become a key partner in helping us consolidate and develop the quality of how we serve our community online. It has not only been about delivering the right technology, we have often sought their consultancy and have involved them in the selection of other business partners as we progress. We trust them implicitly and they genuinely understand our business. ”
“When you are constantly under pressure to innovate and introduce new services, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your IT infrastructure. Your IT has to support you and facilitate growth and NTT makes sure the team here has one less thing to worry about. The next step for us is moving into even more new geographies.”
Mie Mun, Head of IT, CIMA