New Content Streaming Managed Network for Permira
Permira’s IT department needed to provide high definition video conferencing services between 12 countries worldwide but didn’t have the network infrastructure to support it. A new fully-managed network from SAS, based on BT and Colt technology, replaces legacy circuits from Verizon to deliver uninterrupted digital content streaming for 3000 Permira video conferences a year.
We needed a partner we could rely on with sufficient engineering resource to resolve issues rather than just first and second line trouble shooters – SAS seemed to the fit the bill on all levels, it also had ISO 9000 and 27000 accreditation which is important to us.
Permira is an international investment firm with more than 200 people in 14 offices globally, spanning Europe, North America and Asia. The company has five global sector teams focusing on growth opportunities in consumer, healthcare, financial services, industrial and technology markets. Since its founding in 1985, the company has secured €31bn of committed capital and backed more than 200 businesses.
Network Performance and Metrics
- 20% WAN savings on circuit and operations costs
- 100% improvement in end-user satisfaction
- 4-Year payback, including early exit penalties on old network
SAS did an immense amount of measurement before it even took on our network so that it could establish data on our bandwidth and usage requirements and give us a tailored solution.
To host 3000 video conferences on its global network each year
Video conferencing has played a strategic role in inter-company communications at Permira for almost as long as global IT director, Carolyn Lees, can remember. More recently however, as the company has expanded, its wide area network has been struggling to keep up with demand.
“We host around 3000 video conferences every year - that’s how we keep the business connected,” said Carolyn. “The network must be able to calibrate the streaming of rich content in an optimal way and it must have the bandwidth and the quality settings that allow those streams to run uninterrupted if there’s ever contention for bandwidth.”
Legacy technology and cloud security fears threaten to unseat company’s ability to scale
Much like its Verizon-based network, Permira’s incumbent reseller served the company well enough as a European operation but was not able to support a global platform for collaboration, Carolyn explains:“One of our major frustrations was the reseller’s reluctance to engage with cloud provisioning; the reseller felt that anything cloud-based was inherently insecure but we felt that cloud was what we needed to future-proof and scale the business.”
This frustration was further compounded by the reseller’s failure to make Permira aware of industry advancements in technology that could improve the performance of its network and enhance end-user experience.
Permira decides to face the penalties of early contract termination and soak up cost of replacing the incumbent reseller
A dilemma that faces most global firms when it comes to replacing their network supplier is dealing with the cost of terminating some contracts early. Permira was no exception but was committed to making the change all the same.
“Our reseller had enmeshed us in a myriad of contracts - we had a legacy of contracts for global circuits, all with different termination dates,” said Carolyn. “When we entered into these contracts we had the benefit of best-cost options at the time. We knew there would be some penalties for ending contracts early but we built a “worse-case scenario” into our pricing plan and pay-back calculation to deal with it.”
A fully committed skilled engineering workforce and ISO accreditations help to secure Permira network deal for SAS
Permira engaged Black Tip Consultancy to run a competitive RFP for a new fully managed global network and SAS Global Communications was one of five companies to respond.
“We were looking for a managed network service, preferably through a company not too big to understand us as a fairly small team and able to work in a collaborative way,” said Carolyn. “We needed a partner we could rely on with sufficient engineering resource to resolve issues rather than just first and second line trouble shooters – SAS seemed to the fit the bill on all levels, it also had ISO 9000 and 27000 accreditation which is important to us.”
New global network design with CoS makes the performance of content streaming a priority
The SAS design is based on a primary BT MPLS network with secondary Colt Internet circuits for local break out and DMVPN (dynamic multipoint VPN) backup to the primary circuit. The new MPLS network includes Class of Service (CoS) for prioritising video conferencing traffic between offices globally and is supported by SAS’s 24/7 network management and monitoring services.
“SAS did an immense amount of measurement before it even took on our network so that it could establish data on our bandwidth and usage requirements and give us a tailored solution that would make content streaming a priority,” said Carolyn.
SAS was very good at putting pressure on BT to deliver circuits on time but was also quick to offer us alternatives in case we were going to hit any snags.
SAS stands out for carrier management and innovation during network deployment process
During the implementation of a new network, working with carriers to manage the delivery of circuits can be time-consuming. Fortunately having SAS, as an interface to BT, meant that Permira was able to keep up-to-date on the status of the network without getting too involved with the minutiae.
“SAS was detailed and efficient throughout the deployment process, it went to great lengths to understand our schedules and realised we were working against the clock,” said Carolyn. “SAS was very good at putting pressure on BT to deliver circuits on time but was also quick to offer us alternatives in case we were going to hit any snags.”
Fairly early in the project, Permira had a sense of comfort about SAS’s ability to minimise any downtime; in fact, throughout the project there was no unplanned downtime.
With our previous provider we weren’t benefiting from reduced circuit costs because the saving wasn’t being passed on to us but with SAS, it is.
The greatest impact of Permira’s new network is silence on the phones
“The greatest impact of the new network may be knowing that the phone is not jumping off the hook with support calls,” said Carolyn. “Users never call to tell you they’re happy with the network but we’ve gone from having lots of support calls to no calls so that’s 100% improvement.”
In addition to experiencing a marked reduction in the number of support calls, Permira is also seeing better performance for users connecting to the network remotely.
“One the biggest changes has been the distributed remote access model; now wherever users log-in, they will be connecting to the network locally via the shortest route,” said Carolyn. “Previously, it was such a struggle for some offices to access network resources that users were more prone to making local copies of files.”
SAS design will provide a 20 percent reduction in circuit and service management costs
When it comes to cost benefits, Permira estimates that the overall cost proposition of the new network, even allowing penalties, will give the company a four-year payback. “With our previous provider we weren’t benefiting from reduced circuit costs because the saving wasn’t being passed on to us but with SAS it is,” said Carolyn. “We’ve also now got higher bandwidth for less cost so we’re probably paying around 20% less than we were previously for a better performing network with more circuits and a superior service.”
Future-proof technology and a managed service based on competence and transparency means that Permira’s network is now ready to take on the world
“We now have a network able to carry the high-definition richness of experience that users expect from video conferencing. It’s also sufficiently scalable and future-proof to support our global business for many years to come,” said Carolyn.
Smooth video conferencing is a top priority for us, so it’s important to have the ability to measure video traffic flow and ensure that sufficient bandwidth is available. Having transparency of the network allows us to set up the correct monitoring thresholds to interface between our internal and external networks.
Permira’s new managed network is supported by SAS’s 24/7 management and monitoring service; something that Carolyn believes will be instrumental to the network’s continued performance as well as its ability to remain current. Making a final comment on how she believes SAS is different from other service providers, Carolyn said: “SAS is extremely transparent - I can see everything that’s going on with the network and SAS is very responsive to any nuances of change from a monitoring perspective; I also have good access to a competent and responsive engineering team. On a scale of one to ten, I would put SAS in the higher quartile.”
Service: Managed Network
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