London – SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed network and professional services, has announced the completion of a project to design and install a BT MPLS wide area network for Waste Recycling Group (WRG), a leading waste management and energy recovery firm. The new network links 170 sites across the UK and is supported by a three year managed services agreement with SAS.
WRG is focused on delivering solutions to support national, regional and local targets for waste management and energy recovery and, each year in the UK, takes responsibility for receiving, recycling and disposing of millions of tonnes of household, commercial and industrial waste.
Not surprisingly, WRG’s network plays a vital role in supporting this process.
“The network is our lifeline,” said Abdul Soneji, group IT director for WRG. “We have a central system that controls vehicle movements and builds basic information to allow us to bill our customers so if we can’t process transactions, the business stops. We’d probably be okay without network access at one site for a day but after that…”
Unfortunately, network downtime was becoming more than an occasional hiccup for WRG and the company was finding it increasingly difficult to get issues resolved with its service provider.
“Our business isn’t in the high street, we’re hidden in the countryside, therefore the infrastructure investment is limited,” said Abdul. “Where you’ve got old cables, problems do happen but the real issue was that our service provider was not good at handling problems. It couldn’t say how long before the network would be back up and it wouldn’t try to put other options or solutions in place. Tickets would get lost and, sometimes, a site could be down for up to three weeks.”
With its network contract due for renewal, Abdul decided to put WRG’s network out to tender.
“We weren’t just looking for a reliable network, the service had to be there as well,” said Abdul. “You pay a lot of money for the network and I wanted to know where that money was used, how it was used and what value we were getting.”
Having worked with BT in the past, Abdul was open to a renewed approach from the company but was not immediately impressed by BT’s recommendation for supporting the new network.
“BT put convincing facts on the table and offered us a good deal but when our account manager said ‘we’re going to get the management done by SAS’, I wasn’t happy,” said Abdul. “I thought it was really fishy.”
BT explained that as a specialist in network management, and with expert knowledge of the BT product portfolio, SAS was ideally placed to deliver the type of personal service WRG really wanted.
“I was still skeptical at first but I think it’s worked out very well,” said Abdul. “SAS understands our business and our pressure points and responds well.”
One factor that helped sway Abdul’s decision in favour of SAS was the company’s service relationship management (SRM) which offers customers a dedicated resource for managing their in-life network MACs, faults and billing queries.
“SRM is really valuable – once a month John (our service relationship manager) comes in and we review the stats to see what’s good, what’s not, which circuits are under pressure and what SAS has done to relieve them,” said Abdul. “That’s the regular service but he also adds value in other ways as well. For example, recently we picked the five worst performing sites on the network and John worked with OpenReach to reconfigure the circuits to make them go faster – this didn’t cost us any more but it did add value.”
Since completing the installation of the new network, for which SAS provided technical design authority and project management services, SAS has also now taken charge of monitoring and supporting the new WAN.
When asked about any savings he had made with the project, Abdul said: “Working with BT and SAS hasn’t actually reduced our network costs but it has enabled us to get more out of the circuits we have. It’s also allowed us to free up internal resource – I’m not dealing with network issues anymore so instead I can focus on how to make this business more profitable.”
“BT has made enormous strides in the rollout of its 21cn technology but businesses sited in rural (extended reach) locations are still at a huge disadvantage when it comes to their communications infrastructure,” said Charles Davis CEO for SAS Global Communications. “WRG recognised that in this situation, the ability to deliver high levels of service to customers and offer innovative workarounds and solutions is just as important as the operation of network itself.”