Infrastructure design services from SAS Global Communications are just the job for Venn Group

Posted on Thursday April 29, 2010

London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed and professional network services, has announced the completion of a project to optimise the WAN and LAN infrastructure of recruitment firm, Venn Group. The company has also signed a three-year managed services contract with SAS to provide network monitoring and support for Venn Group’s eleven site estate.

Since its formation in 2001, Venn Group has become a leading name in the recruitment industry, specialising in the provision of temporary and contract candidates to the accountancy, C&I, financial services, technology, legal, human resources and public sector markets. Today, with eleven offices in the UK and Ireland, the company employs 350 staff, including a five-person IT department which provides network and applications support for the entire organisation.

After joining Venn Group in 2009, one of the first challenges that, Head of IT, Rob Simpson was keen to tackle was how he could improve the efficiency of the company’s BT network infrastructure in order to reduce the management overhead on his team.

“We knew the way the network was structured could be improved but we also had visibility issues across the infrastructure as a whole,” said Rob Simpson. “If applications weren’t performing correctly, we didn’t have the information to know if the network or the applications were at fault.”

Having worked successfully with SAS in the past, Rob decided to commission the company to help kick-start a programme of network improvements and establish benchmarks for monitoring performance going forward.

As part of the programme, SAS carried out an audit of Venn Group’s application infrastructure and found that whilst key applications, such as Microsoft, were configured to the recommended levels, because class of service (CoS) was not correctly applied across the entire network, they were being choked by other traffic and their performance was being negatively affected.

To address the situation, SAS worked directly with BT to have CoS correctly applied on the WAN infrastructure. It also improved the efficiency of the local area network by making changes to the routing protocols and installing additional Cisco hardware to enhance the switching policies on the LAN.

With the first phase of the project complete, SAS installed its network management system on Venn Group’s WAN to allow Rob’s team to monitor the performance of devices and applications on the network.

“Once we had the tools in place and some of the infrastructure installed, it became much easier to pinpoint the cause of network problems,” said Rob. “In fact with the network properly configured, it actually gave us the ability to understand what the issues were at an application level.”

“This, and the proactive support we received from SAS, meant we could close down our support calls a lot faster, and escalate to BT sooner if we needed to,” said Rob.
Eager to maintain its newly improved performance, when the time came to renew its BT WAN contract, Venn Group decided to appoint SAS to take charge of the network and signed a three-year contract for SAS’s managed communication services. As part of the managed services agreement, SAS provides 24/7 network performance and CoS monitoring, and will also take responsibility for all moves, adds, changes, faults and billing queries on the company’s BT WAN and Internet circuits.

“One of the biggest benefits we’ve seen from our relationship with SAS is that we don’t have to manage BT anymore,” said Rob. “If I ring SAS, SAS will own the issue and manage it for us. That reduces the overhead on my team and means we can now concentrate on managing applications.”

Moving forward, Rob commented: “Internally, we continually look to review and improve the service we offer to Venn Group, its candidates and clients. Venn Group’s continuance to invest in technology solutions to improve performance, even in times of other companies cutting costs should give clients comfort that they are dealing with a company that is focused on improved performance and delivery. The SAS partnership is key to any improvements that will be made.”

“SAS is a trusted partner so whatever we do in the future, SAS will always be involved in the ‘plumbing’ for any project route,” said Rob.

“One of the biggest concerns that companies have about using a managed service provider is that the service they receive will be inferior to anything they could provide themselves,” said Charles Davis, CEO for SAS Global Communications. “For this reason alone, there is probably no greater endorsement for an MSP’s capabilities than a referral so we were naturally delighted for the opportunity to prove ourselves again to Rob in his new position with Venn Group.”