Month: August 2014

Claranet sets the stage for Richmond Events

International events company finds additional flexibility with managed services suite

Richmond Events has called on Claranet to provide its whole IT infrastructure to allow it to scale in real time according to the needs of the business. In doing so, they have been able to maintain a competitive edge in a crowded market.

Richmond Events’ business model has always relied on advanced database marketing. The company has offices in London, New York and Basel as well as a sizable remote network of employees in several countries. It depends heavily on the intellectual property contained within its global IT systems, which is key to staying ahead of fierce competition from rivals, explained Liam Quinn, IT director at Richmond events:

Our differentiation is our data and how we use it to meet our clients’ needs. Customers can select from a rich set of supplier and conference information, which in turn produces new data that we can analyse and feedback in to the business. Delegates attending our events can create individual itineraries, which are unique to them. But sifting through this data and turning it to our advantage demanded time and technical resources, both of which were under strain.”

However, the company found itself struggling to meet increasing client expectations when it was forced to streamline its operations during the economic downturn. In addition, the business found that its IT estate wasn’t flexible enough to cope with changing customer demand, meaning that it was redundant at quiet periods, and under pressure when business picked up.

The company turned to Claranet to provide a solution that encompassed managed hosting, a private MPLS network and communication services – all provided in a fully managed service and support wrapper. In doing so, Richmond Events could drive down their overall IT spend and add new flexibility to their IT estate – without impacting operational capability. The role of the internal IT team also changed significantly, focusing less on managing infrastructure and more on guaranteeing a quality end user experience, thus maintaining the company’s differentiation in the market they operate in.

“Managed services give us the ability to make the right decisions at the right time so we always get good value and have services that are fit for purpose,” Quinn continued. “We now have the flexibility to run our business how we want to, yet have the support we need.

Importantly Claranet established a service agreement that is scalable to changing needs. By having a fixed user base contract with an ability to top up the service with extra users when needed, combines the economies of scale of a set fee with the flexibility of a pay-per-user model. Further, Richmond Events assessed its cloud needs for service up-time and support to make sure that they did not procure services that were not needed.

“Many organisations moving to the cloud insist in the highest levels of up-time and service. While on the face of it this makes sense, the reality is that few organisations need a guaranteed 99.999 per cent service up-time and the cost to demand this does not always give an improved ROI. It is important to be clear about the business requirements for cloud, otherwise you risk paying for services that are superfluous.”

Quinn concluded: “We had been searching for a panacea that would allow us to increase – or decrease – users as dictated by the needs of the business, and Claranet has helped us get there. Despite the fact we are now more virtualised than ever before, the performance of our servers is far superior and the costs are far lower with Claranet.”

Find out more:

Claranet upgrades its core network

  • First installation of new Cisco routers in Europe
  • Continued investment in Claranet’s technologies and platforms

As part of an ongoing investment in its infrastructure, Claranet has invested over £1million to upgrade its UK core network. The Managed Services Provider completed the second phase of a major network upgrade in July 2014, part of the continued integration of Star following its acquisition in November 2012. The upgrade sees two distinct networks merged into one, delivering a faster, more efficient, and more flexible infrastructure to cater for customer requirements and significant growth in internet traffic.

Since 2012, Claranet has been running the two core networks (Claranet and Star) in parallel. The integration of the two legacy networks into a single core infrastructure, comprising of next generation Cisco ASR9900 series router – ensures that Claranet can offer its complete suite of products and services to all customers from a single platform. The first installation of this series of routers in Europe, the new technology is fit to meet the increasing demands on the MSP’s network, offering advanced features, greater stability, more efficiency and faster processors.

Claranet’s UK Managing Director, Michel Robert, said: “When we acquired Star in 2012, we inherited a network that met our requirements, but would not scale to what we felt would be required in the future. As a result, we decided to invest in a next-generation network infrastructure to support the expanded UK business.

“As a business, our integrated network is part of our core proposition, helping to guarantee our customers high-performance and secure cloud services, based on enterprise-class technology with a single SLA. But cloud services are only as reliable as the network on which they are delivered, and as enterprises place more business-critical applications in the cloud, network quality of service, reliability, and security become increasingly important. Regular upgrades and investment are therefore critical for maintaining optimal performance, ensuring that we can continue to deliver next-generation network architecture and a platform that will serve the changing needs of our customers,” Robert concluded.