In the UK, Cape employs 4,000 people and is the largest access and insulation employer in UK industrial services. It helps maintain over two-thirds of the UK’s coal and oil-fired power generation facilities and 87 per cent of its nuclear capacity. As you would expect, IT plays a key role in its operations. When the company decided to relocate its UK headquarters, this was an opportunity to refresh and update the IT infrastructure: Cape’s UK data centre was also located in its former Wakefield offices, from where the entire centralised infrastructure ran on 35 servers.
“IT is critical to how we operate as a business,” says Dave Jones, Head of IT - UK Region, responsible for a user population of 700 across 60 sites. “It’s absolutely essential in areas like payroll: we have to pay 4,000 people every week and it’s critical we get it right. We can’t risk people walking off-site because they haven’t been paid!”
In his role, he says that IT has to be seen as a true enabler in delivering against business strategy and helping achieve corporate objectives: “The challenge for me, as Head of IT, is working closely with the business to ensure we’re properly aligned - so I can prioritise IT projects and resources accordingly”.
‘Lift and shift’ – or embrace the Cloud?
When the time came to move offices, Cape carefully reviewed the options available. “These included ‘lifting and shifting’ the whole IT Infrastructure to new purpose-built facilities at other UK sites – although there were no obvious sites and a significant cost would be involved,” Jones says.
Jones continues “Second, we could lift and shift to a third party hosted data centre. But we needed around eight racks, so there’d also be a significant cost. The third option was a complete migration from on- premise physical infrastructures to a hosted Cloud solution.
Phoenix already had a relationship with Cape, providing Business Continuity services and hardware break/fix maintenance for a number of years. “However, we did go out with a formal tendering process, initially looking at seven suppliers,” Jones says. “But we knew from the outset that Phoenix had the resources and infrastructure in place to provide what we wanted. We also knew Phoenix people had the right skills around our critical SAP environment - the only aspect of our previous set-up that we wanted to physically migrate into the new facility, including a HP server.” From a shortlist of two, Phoenix was awarded a three-year contract to host and deliver Cape’s IT, in no small part based on the quality of its people. “Only three of the original seven suppliers believed they had the technical ability to support our SAP environment,” Jones says.
A smooth transition
Cape’s fully hosted solution is, Jones says, “based on best-of-breed technologies that include VMware for virtualisation and NetApp data storage. It’s located in Tier 3 data centres that provide us with far greater security, redundancy and resilience than we could ever have afforded in-house.” Cape now has a future-proofed IT Infrastructure that’s extremely flexible and can be easily expanded to meet changing demand: “We can easily flex up if we require additional computing resources,” Jones adds. “The great thing is, we can do this on-demand and at a monthly incremental operational cost, so we don’t need to worry about Cape ex constraints. I suppose we have more of a ‘hybrid’ Cloud approach. It’s clear Cloud computing is working out for us, and was the right choice for Cape.”
“Phoenix provided us with a highly competent team throughout, from initial bid through the Solution Architects who designed our solution to the Project Manager and technical teams who delivered it. As with any large and complex project, you run into a few difficulties and learn lessons. But I’ve been extremely happy with the collaboration between Phoenix and my teams in getting issues resolved quickly, with minimum disruption. In fact, I did set expectations with the business of some disruption and, to be honest, we experienced far less than you’d normally associate with a project of this nature.” Critically, not one payroll deadline was missed, despite the added complications of migrating over the SAP legacy system.
“It’s clear that Phoenix attached all the right resources to deliver the solution we wanted. And the project did not overspend.” Another positive outcome, he says, is this project helped drive improved change control in Cape’s own IT team. “I knew we needed to tighten this up, and working with Phoenix – with its ISO accreditations, governance and change control processes – really helped us improve our culture internally. That’s another win.”
We knew from the outset that Phoenix had the resources and infrastructure in place to provide what we wanted. We also knew Phoenix people had the right skills around our critical SAP environment.
Dave Jones, Head of IT Cape
- ENDS -
With 19,000 employees worldwide, Cape is an international leader providing industrial services to a wide range of clients, including access, insulation, fireproofing, coatings and cleanings.
Relocate, update and enhance - at controlled cost – business-critical centralised IT services in advance of an office move. This included migrating and retaining an essential SAP legacy system into any new environment.
Cloud-based IT infrastructure services designed by Phoenix and hosted/delivered from a secure Phoenix data centre, including VMware virtualisation technology and NetApp storage. Phoenix also monitors and manages the environment 24/7.
A more secure, resilient and flexible high performance IT infrastructure than Cape could have provisioned in-house, using the latest technology and delivering measurable technical and financial benefits. Phoenix expertise also guarantees support for a mission-critical SAP legacy platform, Cape’s internal change control culture has improved significantly, and IT services can now flex on-demand.
We are UK leaders in providing IT infrastructure services to help businesses innovate and grow while cutting costs and risk. We can host your services in the cloud or in the data centre, simplify desktop management, and build secure, reliable networks. Our business availability services can keep you working at all times. Whatever your needs, our professional experts can advise, plan and deploy, while our nationwide network of engineers are easily available for your support. For more information, please see: http://www.phoenix.co.uk/
Spreckley Partners Ltd
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