Evans Cycles is the UK’s largest quality cycle retailer, providing maximum choice and value to the UK’s cycling consumers. It has 50 stores across the UK as well as a thriving ecommerce operation, with ICT supported by a team of six. Connectivity, agility and resilience within Head Office and across the store network are essential for both data and telephony to help underpin the smooth running of this major retail enterprise.
In 2011, the Evans Cycles IT team was tasked with finding a suitable replacement for the company’s ageing telephone system (PBX). At the same time it was asked to make savings from its budget, a twin catalyst that prompted the team to approach potential outsourcing partners for a solution.
During initial discussions with Redcentric, there emerged a number of distinct issues arising from Evans’ legacy infrastructure. These included:
As IT support manager Richard Twinn explains, “Although we sat down with Redcentric initially to explore hosted telephony options, it became clear that, thanks to their end-to-end portfolio, there were other areas they could help us with. Some of these we viewed as tactical quick wins, others we were keen to put into our longer-term strategy.
What we found really encouraging was the genuine prospect of significant performance improvement with cost reduction – that was exactly the ‘double whammy’ the company was looking to us as a team to achieve”.
Redcentric offers a lot more than just a ‘home’ in its data centres. Theirs is truly a managed service, leveraging not just their physical cloud infrastructure but their people, their skills and their resources to deliver ‘end-to-end’ solutions and leave client IT teams to focus on more added-value activities.
With the challenges clearly identified, Redcentric opted to first address the backup issue before looking at the new hosted telephony deployment. It moved Evans Cycles onto its online managed backup service, not only transforming the speed of restores and removing a heavy system administration burden but also adding an extra layer of DR-oriented data security.
This initial engagement was followed by a two stage telephony project: the moving of Head Office onto Redcentric’s hosted telephony platform, and the signing over of Evans’ entire calls and lines estate.
The speed, agility and flexibility that Evans Cycles was looking for from its new telephony partner has since been borne out by the successful opening of three new stores. Despite tight timescales, testing BT Wayleave issues and very bespoke technical design solutions, all three stores were provisioned and up and running on time and on budget.
Richard Twinn is appreciative of the extra expert resource that he’s been able to call on: “Redcentric offers a lot more than just a ‘home’ in its data centres. Theirs is truly a managed service, leveraging not just their physical Cloud infrastructure but their people, their skills and their resources to deliver ‘end-to- end’ solutions and leave client IT teams to focus on more added-value activities.”
What we found really encouraging was the genuine prospect of significant performance improvement with cost reduction – that was exactly the ‘double whammy’ the company was looking to us as a team to achieve.
Richard Twinn believes that the partnership with Redcentric has not just brought immediate tangible benefits in terms of better, lower cost systems and on-tap support, consultancy and project management; but it has positioned Evans Cycles strongly to continue to take advantage of Cloud-based managed services as it pushes forward on its longer term strategy.
Reduced costs – Overall, Evans Cycles is confident of securing a 20% reduction in IT costs through its adoption of managed services in the areas of backup, hosted telephony, calls and lines and, moving forward, networks and server hosting.
Improved back-up performance – Backup windows have been dramatically reduced with average back up windows slashed from four hours to fifteen minutes; reliability and security have been transformed too with data backed up across multiple data centres with any backup failures identified and alerted.
Increased cost-efficiency and team utilisation – The automation and proactive monitoring of the backup system has streamlined the whole process, stripping out cost, and freeing the System Administrator from low value tasks; while the fully managed provisioning of new telephony sites has removed a further burden from the internal team.
Enhanced agility and flexibility – The inherent scalability and on-demand provisioning of managed services is proving a perfect fit for a growing retailer with an active store expansion and improvement programme.
The ability to tap into an end-to-end portfolio and bring on line new systems quickly and cost-efficiently is also helping inform and shape the broader IT strategy – moving its web proxy servers into Redcentric’s environment through the adoption of the IaaS product is just the latest example of such enablement in action.