PageGroup is a FTSE 250-listed global recruiter employing over 6,500 people in 37 countries across 141 offices. The company has been in business for over 40 years, and is comprised of four core PageGroup brands made up of specialised recruitment teams operating across 25 disciplines from actuarial to technology.
Because the firm has its own sizeable IT department, it is a voracious technology consumer, and is proud to describe itself as a cutting-edge technology company that specialises in recruitment. It also holds global security certification ISO 27001 to ensure its valued customer data is fully protected.
Technology is the lifeblood of PageGroup, and it had already undertaken its own Azure cloud migration project internally – but costs had started to spiral, and the firm needed a trusted IT supplier that could help to slash those costs, maximise its Azure investments and enable the company to achieve its cloud goals.
Claranet was suggested as one of three potential MSPs by Microsoft, and impressed PageGroup from day one with its in-depth Azure knowledge and its willingness to listen to its requirements. Claranet was taken on in an initial six-month trial engagement with its extensive Azure managed services offering, which quickly morphed into a longer-term relationship.
David Mann, global director of infrastructure services at PageGroup, said the decision to enlist Claranet was straightforward.
“We normally find partners by going out to market, really testing that market and testing our contacts. We have an amazing procurement department here that really understands what they need to do,” he said.
Every minute that our IT might not be performing as expected, that is a phone call that our front office guys have missed. We take that personally Our IT partners have to talk non-IT before they talk IT. They have to understand us. That describes Claranet really well.”
Because PageGroup had executed its migration to Azure, Claranet worked to review and warrant the global Azure estate and set to work delivering a comprehensive set of 24/7/365 managed services, which included:
- Pro-Active Iaas & PaaS Managed Services for many hundreds of production workloads
- Monitoring & Alerting
- Backup, Security, Patching and Compliance
- FinOps, Costs Visibility and Azure Billing Management
Alex McLoughlin, head of sales at the Claranet Cloud Business Unit, said they recognised the problems instantly.
“We put in an A-team straight away and listened to what they actually do and what they wanted to do,” he said. “That same team is still working with them to this day.”
“We started on a six-month term because we were so confident that we could prove our worth in that time. We now provide a full, proactive managed service – 24/7/365 – and we make sure from a cost perspective the Microsoft tap is turned off and on again when it needs to be. Everything is about helping PageGroup to be more efficient and to optimise their lifetime value from cloud technology.”
PageGroup’s Mann said Claranet’s solution started with the most important step, understanding what the actual challenges were.
“We wanted a supplier to get to know us and our buisniess first and understand the challengers we have in that respect,” he said.
Just because we are in recruitment doesn’t make us the same as another recruiter. You have to listen to our story first, understand what the pain points and demand are. Ask me the question about what causes the most pain, what is a good morning like, what is a bad morning. Any business relationship is about stress management – how much stress can you take away from me? Claranet do all this and it is so refreshing.”
Well within the six-month time frame, PageGroup had already begun to see significant cost savings explained McLoughlin.
“We quickly helped PageGroup get Azure under control and identified areas where we can save money – the cost savings now pay for our managed services, meaning we cover our own costs through those savings. This shows our ability to help customers change fast and provide the business case to support.”
Another major benefit, McLoughlin explained, was that it also brought PageGroup even closer to Microsoft.
“We acted as that bridge between Microsoft and PageGroup – we found where the gaps were and filled them and also ensured communication took place. Now their relationship is as strong as it can be,” he said.
“Post-Covid, in a time where more people than ever will be looking for new jobs, the efficiencies gained will help the recruitment giant achieve its growth and differentiation goals”, McLoughlin added.
“The PageGroup business is more agile, whereas their competitors are still tied to cumbersome datacentres and platforms,” he said. “PageGroup is growing so fast and has now aligned IT capacity to its top line income. As a professional services business, having the ability to quickly react to change is vital.”
In addition to helping PageGroup achieve its digital transformation goals, Claranet’s Azure expertise has also enabled the firm to so far cut carbon emissions by up to 96% on the datacentres it has already migrated, compared to previous estimated on-premises datacentre emissions. This equates to 1968 Metric Tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e) or the same as 4.81 million miles driven in a car.
PageGroup selected Claranet because they spoke their language and actually took the time to get to know them as a business, explained Mann, who described Claranet as one of the best IT firms he has worked with.
The fact that Claranet listened to what the customer actually needs and what their main concerns were rather than telling them, was another main factor.
“In the tech space companies like Claranet stand out because they listen,” Mann said. “They have got your back in that space – they are not telling me I’m wrong. You have a partner that is willing to tell you that you might be worrying about the wrong thing – and they point you towards what you should be worrying about. All in the right way. Claranet challenged us, asked the right questions; asked questions that we didn’t know existed. They are a great partner. There are no two ways about it.”
The balance that Claranet has is really unusual in the IT market. Out of the 100 third party relationships we have, I put them within the top five members of the IT market and on relationship management they are definitely in the top two. I’ve dealt with the big brands and they are just not as good as Claranet.”