Recognized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a technology pioneer, Össur is dedicated to “life without limitations”. The business was founded in Iceland, in 1971, by prosthetist and amputee Össur Kristinsson. Today, it has revenue of over $600 million and more than 100 locations in 26 countries around the globe. This includes dozens of clinics where patients are fitted with, and trained in the use of, prosthetic limbs.
Össur ‘s entire IT infrastructure is managed by a central team of just five people, based in Iceland and headed by the Infrastructure and Cloud Architect Einar Dagfinnur Klemensson. This small department is responsible for IT decision-making and deployment and is augmented by local support staff around the globe.
To support its fast-growing business, the Össur team selected Citrix and Microsoft Azure, partnering with UK-based Platinum Plus Citrix Solution Advisor Ultima Business Solutions to deliver an unparalleled experience for the company’s 4,000 employees.
“One of the reasons we chose Microsoft Azure is because they have a longstanding relationship with Citrix,” says Klemensson, “and we have a strong partnership with Ultima because of the level of trust. We use them to augment our small team.”
Simplicity is key
Össur has made many acquisitions in recent years which led to a complex IT environment. The business wanted to eliminate complexity and provide a single, simplified user experience.
“Simplicity is key,” Klemensson explains. “We want our staff to be able to work as effortlessly as possible, wherever they are. That means making sure they have access to the apps and data that they need along with the speed and performance to work effectively. That’s where Citrix helps us out.”
Bjarni Kaernested, Director of IT Operations, adds, “We’re so lucky at Össur, because we have such future-focused people – scientists and engineers – who are evolving new technology, new products for our customers. There's a lot of smart people working here and that’s inspiring. Össur believes in life without limitations, so we’re inspired to build IT without limitations.”
Össur uses Citrix Workspace to provide a single login for staff on any device, wherever they are. Resource-hungry apps like 3D CAD software are allocated the resources required so they run effectively even on mobile devices. Performance is underpinned by Citrix SD-WAN which optimizes network traffic across all available channels to ensure consistent, high performance for users.
Because Citrix delivers a secure desktop to any device, the team can innovate in the end-point hardware they deploy.
“We’re using Citrix as much as we can to reduce the cost of end-user equipment,” says Klemensson. “We’re exploring how we can use cell-phones as a primary end-user device, we’re deploying Raspberry Pi devices and looking at Google Grab and Go Chromebooks.”
Citrix also simplifies IT management. The team manages only three desktop images for the entire company.
“We invested in Citrix to secure our intellectual property and medical data.”
Össur’s products are so advanced, the business even builds the machinery that makes its products. As Klemensson jokes, “You can’t go to a store and buy a knee-manufacturing machine.”
Protecting the business’s intellectual property (IP) is a top concern for Össur and another reason it chose Citrix.
"We invested in Citrix so we had the ability to secure our IP,” Klemensson says. “Instead of deploying heavy, 3D CAD applications out to workstations in the field, we’re moving them into Citrix so our IP does not go outside the virtual datacenters we’ve built.”
“We're looking at Zero Trust in a big way,” he continues. “We're securing the endpoint, securing the user identity, and we’re looking to be an early adopter of Citrix Secure Internet Access (SIA).”
Citrix security features like session watermarking and the prevention of screenshots also help protect confidential information on user sessions.
Össur works closely with healthcare organizations around the world and has responsibility for protecting confidential patient data, another reason for prioritizing security. Since moving to Citrix, the team has removed six different methods of accessing its systems. A single, secure means of access – with no data stored on end-point devices and all data encrypted in transit – helps protect confidential information.
“We want to secure all the medical data that travels through our clinics inside our virtual data centers, and Citrix enables that,” Klemensson says. “Whether its medical data or IP, with Citrix, there’s no data leakage.”
Supporting agile acquisitions and business continuity
“We have clinics all around the world and the clinicians all have the same needs,” Klemensson explains. “The more you can unify and streamline things, the more cost-effective they become. So, when we deploy Citrix as a single tool for all of our clinics, it allows us to have a single set of instructions. The more we can make things the same for staff, the easier it becomes for everybody.”
“We have a lot of mergers and acquisitions each year,” adds Kaernested, “and Citrix helps us a lot because it's a scalable solution. It's easy to add a new company. We have our branch in a box that we can easily deploy.”
“In the same way, when COVID-19 hit us, it was easy to scale up because we were already in Citrix Cloud,” he continues. “In almost one click of a mouse, we increased our environment by five times, from 250 to 1,800 remote users.”
“We have a distributed workforce around the globe, and they all need consistent and secure access to our data. We are boosting mobility within our workforce so they can use any device anywhere and access our data in a secure manner,” says Kaernested. “We want to move everything to Azure and Citrix cloud services within the next six months. Then we'll close down the physical data center and we'll be cloud-only company.”
“The most efficient organization they have ever measured.”
User experience, security and agility are important for Össur, but the Citrix/Azure infrastructure is remarkably cost-effective, too.
The team recently engaged Kostner (Kostner.com) an IT Advisory firm specializing in the measurement of IT services delivery. Kostner has been measuring many of the largest companies in northern Europe over the past few years and, calculating the cost of delivering 1GB of VRAM (the audit firm’s standard measure), Klemensson says, “They found that Össur is the most efficient organization they have ever measured!”
Kostner calculated that, while the average monthly cost of providing 1GB of VRAM per machine across all businesses is EUR4.60, the cost for Össur is just EUR2.00; 57% less than the average, comparable business.
“It comes down to us being as agile as possible,” Klemensson says, “and Citrix is critical to that.”
A long-term partnership with Citrix and Microsoft
Össur continues to innovate its IT delivery.
“We've proven we're a valuable business partner, not just a cost center,” Klemensson says. “We want to do the things that generate value.”
“Maintaining forward momentum ensures that we are always ahead of the curve. We have an ever-evolving user experience that’s centered on Citrix innovation. Our next steps – like deploying Grab and Go devices and embracing the intelligent workspace – are underpinned by using Citrix as our technology partner. We couldn’t do this without Citrix,” he continues. “In terms of technology, we've always been an early adopter – with SD-WAN, with hyper-converged, with the cloud, and we believe being an early adopter make us more competitive,” Kaernested concludes. “In Citrix we have the scalable, reliable and secure platform that we need to move forward in our business.”
“We are in both the medical and manufacturing industries. We handle patient data and medical devices, so we need to be compliant with all relevant data security regulations,” adds Kaernested.