geodis

Case Studies

Swiss-Belhotel International manages more than 140 hotels and resorts worldwide

Swiss-Belhotel International gains visibility across all locations with new cloud infrastructure

Engages Core Technology Partners to deploy new cloud service, and wired and wireless infrastructure to give the hotel group more visibility of its operations across Australia and New Zealand.

Company profile

Swiss-Belhotel International manages more than 140 hotels and resorts worldwide across Australia, Bahrain, China, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates. The organisation is one of the world’s fastest growing international hotel and hospitality management groups. In Australia and New Zealand, the group operates hotels in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney and Queenstown.

Business challenge

When Swiss-Belhotel International opened a new hotel near Southbank in Brisbane, it quickly needed to bed down infrastructure that would support the technology needs of the 135-room greenfield site as well as its expanding properties across Australia and New Zealand.

“We wanted one platform that all the different properties in Auckland, Brisbane, Queenstown, and Sydney could tap into,” said Jorn Wisselink, vice president of operations & development at Swiss-Belhotel International. “We wanted to be in a position where our management staff at any location at any time of the day could see how different properties were performing.”

Wisselink said there was limited technology infrastructure in the Brisbane location.

“There was cabling but nothing else in the communications room – just cabling in the hallways with nothing laid in the individual rooms,” he said. “We needed a solution as quickly as possible.”

Solution provided by Core Technology Partners

Swiss-Belhotel engaged Core Technology Partners (CTP) to deploy an environment where its core accounting, payroll, and property management systems, initially serving staff at its Brisbane and Auckland locations, are hosted in Microsoft Azure’s Australian data centres. The cloud solution is ‘elastic’ and will support the business as it grows.

CTP has provided the hotel group with an ultra-low latency primary internet connection with unlimited data allowance. The offering includes a redundant connection with automatic failover if the primary connection fails.

A state-of-the-art security platform provides protection against the latest cyber threats at the network edge; and an isolated network is provided to hotel guests to prevent misuse of core network bandwidth. The primary redundant network has no single point of failure due to the multi-core connection between infrastructure and communication cabinets on every floor of its hotels.

CTP also deployed a ‘ready for IPTV’ service with enough connection capacity to serve each room, as well as full support for power-over-Ethernet devices such as IPTV head units, networked audio, and remote computers and terminals.

Finally, a wireless network provides secure connectivity to hotel guests on each floor with support for the latest generation of wireless devices. The application-aware wireless network includes intelligent bandwidth management capabilities, which enhances network performance, ensuring the network is available for business-critical processes.

A single view of financial performance across all properties

The new cloud solution provides Swiss-Belhotel with a geographic view of the financial performance of its hotels in Auckland and Brisbane and soon Brisbane and Queenstown. With its core accounting, payroll, and property management systems in the cloud, management staff can log in from anywhere and from any device to determine how individual hotels are performing.

“This means that accounting and management staff at our hotels in Australia and New Zealand can make immediate decisions about where to allocate staff resources to ensure we meet our customers’ needs,” said Wisselink. “This capability is particularly useful for management staff at our new hotel in Brisbane who are building a reputation for our brand. Having a complete, unified view of customer numbers and revenue helps them determine the amount of resources we need to provide the highest service standards to our customers.”

Why Core Technology Partners?

Core Technology Partners have provided a stable cloud solution that is managed under a maintenance contract.

“If something doesn’t work, we simply call the engineers at Core Technology Partners and they fix it under our ‘silver level’ support package,” said Wisselink. “We recently had a few issues with the Wi-Fi network and the engineers at CTP dealt with the issue and ensured we were back up and running quickly.”

Problem

Deploy technology infrastructure to support the technology needs of the 135-room greenfield site as well as expanding properties across Australia and New Zealand.

Solution

  • Move core accounting, payroll, and property management systems to Microsoft Azure’s Australian data centres
  • Deploy a wired and wireless network connecting properties in the hotel group
  • Roll out a state-of-the-art security platform to provide protection against the latest cyber threats at the network edge

Benefits

  • Enables management staff at all locations to log in from anywhere and from any device to determine how individual hotels are performing
  • Provides a unified view of customer numbers and revenue, which helps determine the amount of resources needed to provide the highest service standards to customers

geodis

Case Studies

an Australian manufacturer of products for the construction and building industry

ACO Polycrete gains a more stable and cost-effective IT environment with server and storage refresh

Construction and building product manufacturer engages Core Technology Partners to deploy new, better performing server and storage infrastructure at its Sydney head office.

Company profile

ACO Polycrete is an Australian manufacturer of products for the construction and building industry. The company provides stormwater, building drainage, cable pit and ducting systems, access covers and other products for specialised applications, which are installed in internal and external residential, commercial and industrial sites. ACO Polycrete is headquartered in Sydney and has offices and distributors across Australia, South East Asia and the South Pacific. It is part of multinational organisation, ACO Group.

Business problem

Up until recently, ACO Polycrete was grappling with ageing technology infrastructure for just over 100 staff at its head office in Sydney and five satellite offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. A mix of HP and Dell servers, desktops and laptops at each site and a storage area network (SAN) were expensive to maintain and not performing as they should. Print services, in particular, ran poorly and constantly needed to be rebooted.

“This ageing IT equipment was underperforming and we were spending way too much money on yearly maintenance costs,” said Yin Yoong Liew, IT manager at ACO Polycrete. “We quickly realised that we needed to replace our technology infrastructure.”

Solution provided by Core Technology Partners

ACO Polycrete had initially purchased laptops and desktops from Core Technology Partners (CTP) and engaged the organisation again to provide new IT equipment and installation services at its Sydney head office. In late 2015, Core Technology Partners replaced the organisation’s existing storage infrastructure with a new Dell Compellent storage area network (SAN) array.

CTP also rolled out three new Dell PowerEdge R730 servers which run around 13 virtual servers. These servers host core enterprise resource planning (ERP), Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft IAS server, and Microsoft SQL Server platforms. A separate machine runs an in-house developed customer relationship management (CRM) application. CTP also installed Veeam back-up and replication software at ACO Polycrete’s Sydney office.

ACO Polycrete also has around 100 desktops and laptops across the organisation – a mix of Dell OptiPlex 9020 and Dell Latitude e7450 and e7440 machines. Liew installed one new server and UPS at each office in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. An MPLS network connects all five sites.

A more stable environment

Core Technology Partners’ technical team took just one week to deploy a more stable technology environment at ACO Polycrete’s Sydney office.

“We no longer have issues with servers hanging and needing to be rebooted, particularly across our satellite offices,” Liew.

“Our SAN is also performing much better and we have been able to reconfigure it so we have double the amount of space at around 12TB,” Liew said. “We needed extra data storage because we are looking at rolling out a new document management application. Our files are growing exponentially – as a manufacturer we store many of our own designs as well as drawings from third party suppliers,” he said.

The Veeam backup software, installed by CTP’s technicians, enables Liew to restore files almost immediately in the event of a system failure. It would previously take the team several hours to restore files following a system crash.

More cost-effective infrastructure

Core Technology Partners has provided ACO Polycrete with a five-year support contract for the new, better performing IT infrastructure, said Liew. The cost of the new infrastructure is on par with the money ACO was paying in monthly maintenance fees for the older equipment, he said.

“We are basically getting new equipment for the same amount of money,” Liew said. “We also no longer have the worry about paying monthly or yearly maintenance on infrastructure. The processing technology in the new Dell PowerEdge servers is much better, which means they are far more reliable than our previous machines.”

Why Core Technology Partners?

Technical staff at Core Technology Partners are responsive and always on call to service ACO Polycrete’s equipment when required, said Liew.

“We get good results from CTP; they are always willing to go the extra mile,” he said. “When we were going through the infrastructure refresh process, CTP’s staff provided us with quite a number of leasing options, which made it easy to decide which option fit best with our requirements.”

Liew added that as the only IT staffer across the organisation, it’s quite different for him to specialise in all aspects of enterprise technology.

“CTP provide me with the skills that I don’t have at a very cost-effective price,” he said.

 

Problem

Replace ageing, inefficient and expensive IT infrastructure across five locations.

Solution

  • Dell Compellent storage area network array
  • Three new Dell PowerEdge R730 servers that run 13 virtual servers
  • Dell OptiPlex 9020 and Dell Latitude e7450 and e7440 PCs and laptops

Benefits

  • Deployed a more stable and efficient IT environment in one week
  • Provided better performing IT infrastructure for the same cost as previously installed servers and storage systems
  • Gained double the amount of storage space with a new storage area network
  • Installed backup and recovery software that enabled the company to immediately restore files in the event of a server failure

geodis

Case Studies

a global supply chain operator

Geodis Wilson Australia ensures 500 Under Armour orders are shipped each day with new storage area network

Supply chain operator engages Core Technology Partners to provide storage and server equipment at its new Botany warehouse to serve the distribution requirements of clothing manufacturer, Under Armour.

Company profile

Geodis is a global supply chain operator with five lines of business: supply chain optimisation, freight forwarding, contract logistics, distribution and express, and road transport.

Geodis is part of SNCF Logistics, which is a business line of SNCF Group, the number one transport and logistics operator in France and ranked number four in Europe. The organisation has a direct presence in 67 countries and a global network spanning more than 120 countries. Geodis Wilson Australia operates 7 offices and 9 warehouses and employs 351 people across Australia and New Zealand.

Business challenge

In mid-2016, Geodis signed a global distribution agreement with American sports clothing and accessories company, Under Armour. Under the contract, Geodis is responsible for distributing Under Armour products sold through the manufacturer’s online and physical stores and other retailers.

“Under Armour decided to start expanding in Australia and needed a partner here to handle warehousing and distribution. We are clearing Under Armour’s products through Customs and storing them in our new warehouse in Botany in Sydney,” says Alan Barker, IT manager at Geodis.

New technology infrastructure was required to ensure Geodis could effectively fulfil Under Armour’s distribution needs from the 2,500 square metre warehouse.

“We needed to source some dedicated hardware to run the warehouse management and e-commerce ordering systems that we use every day,” says Barker.

Solution provided by Core Technology Partners

For the past 6 years, Geodis has sourced all of its server hardware, printers, network switches and routers from Core Technology Partners for its 9 sites across Adelaide, Brisbane, Freemantle, Melbourne and Sydney.

In June this year, Geodis turned to Core Technology Partners to provide server and storage hardware infrastructure to support core applications that are vital to the smooth running of its warehouse operation.

Core Technology Partners’ technical specialists deployed two Lenovo X series servers and one Lenovo DS series storage area network (SAN) array with 6TB of capacity. The infrastructure is connected to an existing wide area network (WAN), which links its 9 sites.

Core Technology Partners also installed and configured a VMware virtual server environment and supplied 10 Symbol scanners, which are used by staff who manage Under Armour’s stock in the warehouse.

Short time frame for deployment

Geodis had only 2 months from the time it secured new business with Under Armour to open the new warehouse for business so orders could be shipped out to customers, says Barker.

The team at Core Technology Partners ensured the server and storage hardware was installed with 3 to 4 weeks, he says.

This was vital as retailers use Geodis’ e-commerce system to place up to 500 orders each day for Under Armour’s products. Retail deliveries from Geodis’ warehouses to stores around Australia are completed every few weeks.

“Core Technology Partners’ technical specialists ensured that our new technology infrastructure was ready to go from day one,” says Barker.

A cost-effective virtual server environment

The deployment of a VMware virtual server environment by Core Technology Partners’ technical team has eased the burden of managing physical servers for Geodis. Without virtual server technology in place, the organisation would need to purchase six physical servers rather than only two, says Barker.

“Virtual server technology provides the flexibility for our technical staff to move workloads, add new servers into our environment and backup and replicate up to 6TB of data,” he says.

“If there’s a hardware failure, everything fails over to another server, which enables us to recover almost immediately.”

Why Core Technology Partners?

Core Technology Partners has been Geodis Wilson Australia’s “go to partner” for all its IT hardware purchases for 6 years, says Barker.

“Technical staff at Core Technology Partners are flexible and willing to meet all of our server and storage hardware requirements at very short notice,” he says.

“Their service and support is very good and they assist by working with vendors to get us the right products and quickly solve problems when the arise.”

Core Technology Partners also provides people with specialist skills in scoping out hardware requirements and database tuning to supplement Geodis’ small IT team of five staff in Australia.

“These are things our internal staff aren’t necessarily skilled up to do,” he says.

Problem

Deploy server and storage infrastructure quickly inside a new warehouse stocking and shipping out products for a global clothing brand.

Solution

Two Lenovo X series servers and one Lenovo DS series storage area network (SAN) array

Benefits

  • Ensured server and storage hardware that supported an e-commerce system fulfilling 500 orders per day was installed at the new warehouse within 3 to 4 weeks
  • Created a virtual server environment that eased the burden of managing infrastructure and eliminated the need to purchase 4 additional physical servers
  • Provided failover capabilities that enables the organisation to recover almost immediately in the event of server failure
  • Gained access to technical staff with specialist skills that the organisation does not have internally

choicelogo

Case Studies

CHOICE independent consumer advocacy group

CHOICE case study

CHOICE has improved the flexibility and scalability of its IT infrastructure and saved $220,000 in capital costs with a cloud service provided by Core Technology Partners.

Company profile

Established in 1959, CHOICE is an independent consumer advocacy group that provides advice to Australian buyers of products and services to help them get the most out of their purchasing decisions. The company looks out for unhelpful practices and researches and tests products to ensure consumers get the best deal.

CHOICE also campaigns to protect and assist consumers through changes to laws and industry behaviour.

Business challenge

Since 2010, CHOICE has moved several applications to the cloud. It uses Google Apps and its enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software is provided by NetSuite under a cloud agreement.

However, around 3TB of corporate data – Microsoft Office documents, video, and images generated by 100 users on its network – was until recently, stored internally on three physical servers at its primary site in Marrickville, Sydney.

Two of these servers were running the VMware ESX virtual server and the third was hosting Microsoft Active Directory Server to control access and security.

“A lot of what was left here was data stores. This was data that we used day-to-day, which was stored inside the network,” said Stephen Macdonald, manager, information and communication technologies, at CHOICE.

“We were running quite short in storage space, consuming capacity at a fast rate and it was going to be a costly exercise to expand that,” said Macdonald.

Macdonald said the organisation was putting in place measures to deal with data growth, supplementing storage area networks with network attached storage but it wasn’t enough.

“There was a strong case to keep historical data – generated from product tests for instance – for longer. This was contributing to the increase in data growth.
“It was becoming costly for us to backup our environment as well – tape cartridges are expensive – and backups were costing us $1000 per month,” he said.

CHOICE also had an issue with the time it would take to recover services in the event of a disaster. Data backup was completed onsite and the organisation did send tape cartridges offsite once a week.

“Realistically, with the infrastructure we had, it would have taken us quite a number of weeks to get services back up and running if the worst happened and there was a disaster in the building.

“In the modern world, you can’t wait that long. So we were looking for a solution for business continuity and backup and recovery,” he said.

 

Solution provided by Core Technology Partners

After evaluating offerings in the market, CHOICE selected Core Technology Partners to provide 3TB of data storage hosted in a cloud environment.

Users on CHOICE’s network load a Citrix desktop client on their PCs, Apple Macs, iOS or Android tablets and even smartphones for secure access to storage capacity on four offsite physical servers.

“By accessing the server in a virtual cloud, you get faster access to the data,” said Macdonald.

Core Technology Partners also provided a 20Mb/s primary fibre internet link and a 10Mb/s Ethernet link for data backups, which also helps speed up access to data and complete backups faster.

“We already had a wireless environment here but without the Citrix solution, users couldn’t access the local network – it was internet access only. Now, with Citrix in place, users can get access to local data wirelessly,” he said.

CHOICE also worked with Core Technology Partners to build some redundancy into the network using multiple internet links to access data stores fast and increase the scalability of the environment, he added.

Macdonald said users can use any device with the Citrix client to access its network.

“We have people who occasionally or regularly work from home. They can now get full access to network resources here including the same desktop they run at work when they are home.

“So you can have a document open at work, disconnect from Citrix, go home, load up Citrix and the same document will be open on the desktop to continue working if you want to,” Macdonald said.

 

A flexible, scalable, cost-effective solution

CHOICE has eliminated the need to replace existing data centre infrastructure, which has saved the organisation $220,000 in capital costs, including an investment for disaster recovery equipment.

However, cost wasn’t the determining factor, said Macdonald. Rather, deploying flexible IT infrastructure that could be scaled easily was most important.

In fact, the solution was “cost neutral” compared to CHOICE’s previous infrastructure, but the organisation now has a much better solution, said Macdonald.

“The solution is very scalable so if the organisation grows and requires additional storage capacity or even less storage, then we can basically add it overnight without any capital investment.”

For instance, storage capacity was increased to 500GB for a content migration project, and the can be flexible expanded or contracted as required.

A new disaster recovery system may also have cost $4000 per month, which the company is not paying with the new solution in place, said Macdonald.

“We are probably also saving $5000 per year, which would have been spent on backup cartridges,” he added.

 

Increased bandwidth and more redundancy

The new Internet links have increased available bandwidth, improved redundancy and saved the organisation $1500 per month in connectivity costs.

“Cloud-based desktops use bandwidth more effectively,” said Macdonald.
“Total bandwidth – including, fibre, Ethernet, and ADSL links – now costs $2200 per month, compared to $3500 previously,” he said.

 

Thin clients to reduce costs further

CHOICE is also now investigating rolling out thin clients, which cost less and last longer than desktop PCs, said Macdonald. This could save the organisation up to $10,000 in equipment depreciation each year, he said.

“Potentially we could use thin clients inside the organisation, using dumb terminals rather than a PC or a Mac for some staff,” said Macdonald.

 

Why Core Technology Partners?

Core Technology Partners provided the most cost-effective solution of all providers and CHOICE had an existing business relationship with the organisation.

“We looked closely at two offerings, and liked the solution presented by Core Technology Partners,” said Macdonald.

“We often match the size of the solution provider to the size of our organisation and Core Technology Partners was the right fit.

“I have a strong belief that you need to match solution providers to the organisation in terms of their size. You can very easily be a small fish in a big pond when you are an organisation of our size and that’s not a nice place to be,” he said.

“The internal culture of our solution provider also has to match ours, and that’s probably one of the biggest reasons we chose Core Technology Partners,” he added.

Macdonald said CHOICE has a reasonable amount of technical experts on site and if there’s a problem, these staff members want to talk to the person who is fixing the issue rather than a call centre or someone who is relaying information to someone else.

“There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing what the problem is but not being able to talk to anyone about it. With Core Technology Partners on board, we know that this will never happen,” he said.

Ends

 

Choice outcomes at a glance

Problem
Replace storage and backup infrastructure that was becoming costly due to a period of data growth. Reduce the time it takes to recover services in the event of a disaster.

Solution

  • Engaged Core Technology partners to provide 3TB of data storage hosted in a cloud environment
  • 20Mb/s primary fibre internet link and a 10Mb/s Ethernet link for data backups
  • Citrix desktop client installed on PCs, Apple Macs, iOS and Android tablets and smartphones for secure access to storage capacity on four offsite servers

Benefits

  • Eliminated the need to replace existing infrastructure, saving the company $220,000 in capital costs, including an investment for DR equipment
  • Provided a flexible cloud infrastructure that could be scaled easily as required
  • Removed the need to spend $4000 per month on a new disaster recovery system
  • Saved $5000 per year on backup cartridges
  • Saved $1500 per month in connectivity costs; total bandwidth – including fibre, Ethernet, and ADSL links – now costs $2200 per month, compared to $3500 previously
  • Expected to save up to $10,000 in equipment depreciation each year when thin-clients are rolled out soon