London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of IP-based network and managed communication services has announced the completion of a project to install a CAT6 cabling infrastructure and wireless network at the European headquarters of Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE).
CCE is the largest manufacturer of 'Coca-Cola' products outside the US. From its European headquarters in Uxbridge, Middlesex, the company oversees the production and distribution of more than 80 different soft drinks to a range of customers, including retailers, wholesale suppliers, the licensed trade and leisure or workplace operators.
In the UK, the company employs around 4,700 staff across its 28 site estate, most of whom are dependent on IT for some aspect of their work.
As part of a continuing programme of technology improvements, CCE was planning to rollout IP telephony and needed to upgrade its structured cabling infrastructure to support the new application. It also wanted to implement a wireless infrastructure to support the 100 or so staff who regularly hot desk in Uxbridge, and improve flexibility for customers and suppliers visiting site.
CCE’s internal infrastructure team had planned the project, but the company was looking for a partner to carry out the installation; one major stipulation of the project was that all of the work had to take place overnight and at weekends as the building would remain occupied throughout the project.
Having worked successfully with SAS on a number of previous infrastructure projects, IT manager Mark Hodgman made the unprecedented decision of not putting the project out to tender.
“We had used SAS for some smaller deployments in Cardiff and Bristol,” said Mark. “SAS did a top job - there was no impact on end users, no mess, no issues with the cabling, just a high grade professional job; planned and executed well, and on time and budget.”
Working closely with CCE’s IT department and facilities team, SAS put together a comprehensive project plan to install CAT6 structured cabling throughout the building and provide a wireless network for the company. To minimise business interruption, each floor was divided into four segments and re-cabled via CCE’s existing ducting system; this approach also made it easier for SAS to fully test each segment before repatching the new cabling back into its respective comms cabinet and transferring users across to the new infrastructure.
In order to future proof office moves and changes within the building, and ensure sufficient connectivity for CCE’s proposed IP telephony system, SAS recommended the addition of several new power outlets to the scheme and installed further patch panels to house the new cable connections. Once all segments were completed and tested, SAS cut all of the old cabling out of the cabinets and removed it from the site.
Having previously implemented a wireless survey to identify the number of access points (APs) that would be required in the building, SAS then implemented a 54mb Cisco wireless network, to accommodate CCE’s requirements for hot-desking and provide Internet access for occasional visitors to the site.
“We’re now in a prime position to upgrade to IPT next year,” said Mark. “We’ve also got a WiFi network which enables our facilities team to plan and execute office moves more easily as they don’t have to worry about APs or cabling going in.”
Since completing its CAT6 cable infrastructure, CCE has involved SAS in several new initiatives within the company and has also made some changes to the way it manages key IT projects.
“Recently, we implemented a new HR call centre and SAS jumped on the project with us from the outset and the project went seamlessly,” said Mark. “We’re often asking SAS to work with very tight deadlines, sometimes to do a large piece of cabling work but every time expectations have been met or exceeded.”
“We used to put a CCE project manager in place for all our projects but now we just get an SAS project manager to work with the CCE project team,” said Mark.
“In any infrastructure project, flexibility, and the ability to respond quickly to customer requirements, is critical to the success of both the project and a long-term customer relationship,” said Charles Davis, CEO for SAS Global Communications. “The CCE project was a challenge in that all of the work had to be completed at night and at weekends, then restored for normal operations during the day, but the additional investment in time and effort has definitely been rewarded with the company’s trust and commitment to SAS, and we hope that the strong relationship we have today will continue to endure.”