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Navigating Changing Data Requirements for a Global Building Manufacturer

As the IT landscape continues to change, the amount and variety of infrastructure challenges faced by organizations continue to rise. For many businesses, these changes indicate it is no longer feasible to maintain a data center in-house.

This was the exact challenge faced by a building materials manufacturer when they approached Windsor Group. A global leader in engineered wood products, the manufacturer is "engineered to perform", both as a company and as a manufacturer of innovative products for the building industry. They place a strong emphasis on driving continuous innovation, with a mission to provide products that reduce construction costs, minimize waste, increase energy efficiency, foster safe home environments, and create flexible architectural and design possibilities.

The Challenge

When the company first came to Windsor Group, they had recently moved their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems off-premise, moving to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to reduce their data center infrastructure and operations (I&O) requirements. This move, however, created higher internal IT service unit costs due to a fixed overhead spread out over fewer servers and storage. The company was also challenged with investing in a security and disaster recovery solution within its remaining infrastructure environment. With rising fixed costs and a shrinking environment, they saw a need to evaluate outsourced solutions for its remaining data center infrastructure and operations support service.

Initially apprehensive to consider outsourcing, the building manufacturer engaged Windsor Group to find the right solution to combat its challenges. Windsor Group provided a strategic evaluation to assess their specific requirements and the outsourcing options available to meet those needs.

Engagement

Windsor Group defined various sourcing opportunities and built consensus on potential solutions that would address their unique business, financial, and technical needs. Understanding that outsourcing is a highly sensitive and impactful decision, Windsor Group embraced both technical and operational input from existing IT support staff, allowing the IT management team to undertake an internal vetting process before engaging with a potential service provider. This process was very well received by the company's key decision-makers due to the level of detail collated about their infrastructure and operations environment.

As we moved closer to a potential outsourcing transaction, a few roadblocks surfaced in regards to the estimated retained staff during and after the proposed data migration. However, fueled by our data analysis, the CIO overcame these challenges by assuring there was enough in-house staff to govern the supplier relationship and liaison with business users.

Results

After presenting potential solutions that addressed the business needs and aligned with the organization’s infrastructure environment, the company selected an IT service provider that enhanced their security and disaster recovery while also reducing their fixed costs. Their partnership with Windsor Group allowed them to better compare the advantages and disadvantages of employing an outsourced solution, as opposed to maintaining in-house resources. Their outsourced configuration ultimately exceeded internal infrastructure and operations expectations.

Insight

The challenge of achieving efficiencies while improving service delivery is very common for many of today's organizations. Continuing to invest in data center infrastructure and operations reliability, availability, security, and disaster recovery is becoming more difficult to justify as software is moved off-premise, SaaS models are adopted, and as the Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) model becomes more secure and reliable. Transitioning to an outsourced solution is a cost-effective, efficient, and value-driven alternative to maintaining and operating data centers in-house, as well as the related operations support services.

 

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