Managed services from SAS Global Communications supports rapid growth at the Carlisle Group

Posted on Tuesday October 7, 2008

SAS managed communications supports rapid growth at the Carlisle Group

London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed and professional network services, today announced that it has been selected to provide managed services for the Carlisle Group following the successful completion of a BT WAN optimisation project.

The Carlisle Group, an international staffing and support-services company which employs 1200 staff world-wide and is responsible for paying more than 16,000 workers each week, had been experiencing severe availability, bandwidth and performance issues on its network over an eighteen month time-frame. Diagnosing the problem was complicated because a number of organisations, systems and applications were involved but this was compounded by rapid growth through acquisition, which placed further pressure on IT staff with a continuous stream of moves, adds and changes.

However, whilst keen to resolve its infrastructure issues, Carlisle had also identified that a more proactive approach to network support was likely to improve efficiency and reduce downtime. It also felt that by rolling out global standards for connectivity, the company could simplify its support model and achieve even greater efficiencies.

Following an introduction by BT, Carlisle appointed SAS to carry out a review of its communications estate – focusing on its Welwyn Garden City HQ, its Langley disaster recovery site and a few particularly problematic remote sites – to identify the root-cause of the network issues. The analysis was revealing; SAS highlighted several key areas of weakness, including many LAN and WAN routing issues, as well as issues around IP standards and the deployment of business critical applications. It also found configuration problems in the routing of Citrix traffic on the network; something that was vital to the operation of the business since all of the company’s main applications were centrally managed and hosted in the UK on Citrix farms.

As part of the review, SAS was commissioned to design a technical workshop where, together with Carlisle, it could discuss the findings of the audit and present potential remedies whilst, at the same time, helping the company develop a long term strategy for managing its infrastructure and communications.

“Once the network problems were diagnosed, the resolution was fairly straightforward,” said Simon Cranford, CIO of SAS Global Communications. “We upgraded, reconfigured and standardised all network circuits, removed a lot of unnecessary devices to shorten and simplify application paths, then installed a new firewall to reinforce Carlisle’s security infrastructure.”

Since completing the WAN optimisation project, SAS has now taken control of Carlisle’s entire communications estate and provides capacity monitoring and fault management, along with MAC provisioning and support for the whole network. “With SAS’s managed services, we have proactive support in place for the whole of our infrastructure,” said Mike Fitzgerald, Group CIO of Carlisle. “I can now rest easy that if a fault occurs, I’ll be told about it before any users know, and that’s quite important.”

“Carlisle is a business that changes on a daily basis and that alone puts a great deal of pressure on our IT department. SAS has become a trusted extension of our team, and by providing managed communications services to the company, it allows us to focus on what we do best – operate a successful, growing business,” concluded Fitzgerald.