Challenge: Connect Distribution specialises in component distribution, warranties and insurance repair contracts for brown and white goods. Most services are offered online. Rapid business growth brought about huge challenges for its hosting platform and complex applications.
Solution: Connect Distribution increased the hosting and connectivity services that were already with Claranet, and upgraded to a managed application hosting solution.
Result: Claranet’s solution provides improved performance through an integrated networking, hosting and management solution, with a single Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the whole solution resulting in an overall up-time guarantee.
Coping with business growth
The group currently handles over 1.4 million product lines, with a database of over 16,000 active customers. As well as providing ready-made websites for retailers, the business also processes over 180,000 stock lines per month online, runs over 100 spare parts’ websites, and handles repair care for over 40 clients.
The Connect Distribution websites have high volumes of traffic who depend on the sites to order, track and manage various stock lines. Customers place trust in the company to ensure real-time visibility of stock and distribution, which is dependent on the reliability and management of the hosted platform and applications underpinning the websites’ functionality.
The business began growing and so did its online traffic. This raised significant challenges for the business’s hosting platform and its increasingly complex applications.
We were faced with unexpected capacity demands, and began to experience outages that could have negatively affected our entire customer base. In addition, the skills and resources of the IT team were being sorely stretched. When faced with large traffic spikes as a result of a customer’s successful marketing campaign for instance, we’d have to manipulate and re-engineer the existing platform ourselves to get that extra bit of necessary performance out of it. However, this led to a system which was increasingly complicated and difficult to support. So we urgently needed to simplify our hosting infrastructure, and find a way to improve our website support.
Systems Designer, Connect Distribution
Upgrade to managed application hosting
Connect Distribution increased more of the hosting and connectivity services that were already placed with Claranet, and upgraded to a managed application hosting solution.
Outsourcing more of our hosting work to Claranet seemed a natural progression. In the face of steadily increasing capacity demands and service complexity, Claranet’s managed application hosting service was of tremendous interest to us because it was capable of supporting our business growth strategies...ticked all our boxes. Claranet ran technical workshops to determine how their team could cater to our needs. Together we devised key boundary markers in terms of responsibilities for maintenance and support.
It was clear that Claranet offered a highly innovative application hosting solution. Claranet’s key differentiator is that it can offer an integrated networking, hosting and management solution. Another unique attribute that attracted us was its provision of a single Service Level Agreement (SLA). This allowed us to negotiate an overall up-time guarantee that was inclusive of every service element. This was in stark contrast to other managed service providers who insisted upon separate SLAs for the firewalls, the services, the networking and so on. Claranet has certainly alleviated the stress of managing multiple SLAs!
The new solution has provided us with greater structure in terms of how we work. We can deploy new websites and applications quickly and easily, as well as guarantee levels of service that were previously unattainable due to the limitations of an in-house team. Claranet’s support and expertise has also eliminated the need for heavy involvement of the in-house team in maintenance upgrades and patching.
Button also describes Claranet’s technical expertise as an invaluable benefit that the business has continued to draw on as it navigates its way through a range of regulatory standards, including PCI DSS.
The Claranet team is clearly expert on PCI DSS. They have continued to offer us best practice advice and solutions, which they know will match our business requirements and support our need for compliancy. In our workshops, their expertise has helped us to collectively generate fantastic ideas. These ideas address key issues we are currently facing and simultaneously support our long-term business strategy.