Case study Architects, Engineering & Construction

Reducing Cost, Increasing Performance

Reducing total cost of ownership and increasing IT performance using IT Managed services.

As with most businesses in the professional services industry, not only do Cundall rely on IT systems for day to day back office administration, but they are also critical to providing client services including Computer Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Modelling (BIM) and General Natural Simulation.

The Challenge

The global nature of Cundall’s business means IT systems must be readily available 24 hours per day providing excellent performance to enable efficient working by end users – a particular challenge in a distributed computing environment with the significant data sizes associated with complex computer aided design and modelling.

Therefore, when the IT Manager left the organisation it was imperative to ensure that all IT operations continued as normal so as not to disrupt their operations, or their ability to provide services to clients.

A number of outstanding infrastructure problems and performance issues had also been identified which were impacting the end user experience and the organisation’s ability to rely on IT services. Furthermore there were a number of support providers each looking after discrete areas of the infrastructure and LAN/WAN which created high support costs, increased the management burden and resulted in a lack of ownership in solving problems.

The Solution

Waterstons have been working with Cundall since 2009 on various IT projects and, having already demonstrated their understanding of Cundall’s business and strategic priorities, were the natural choice to manage their IT operations in the interim whilst a decision was made as to how their IT service would be managed going forward.

Waterstons’ Managed Services’ team design bespoke contracts, unique to the needs of each customer, but that always have business alignment, value add and reduced total cost of ownership at their core.

Waterstons provided an interim IT operations manager based on-site at Cundall’s London office. It was initially proposed that this role would be provided for a period of three to four months.

The Approach

Waterstons have a breadth of experience managing IT transition programmes at a variety of customers in different markets. Waterstons’ process for IT transition includes a full site assessment, system and process documentation followed by risk mitigation and stabilisation. Once the transition process finishes, a programme of continuous improvement begins alongside ‘business as usual’ support.

Waterstons devised a detailed transition plan and worked closely with the incumbent IT manager to handover information and take on operational responsibility for the running of all IT services within the UK. This transition plan included a risk register, detailed analysis of outstanding incidents and a selection of quick win tasks which would provide significant improvements to the end user experience.

Waterstons worked first to remediate any significant risks which had been identified, followed by the high visibility and quick win user facing issues. This not only improved the end user experience but also reduced IT spend. Projects included re-designing the WAN optimisation solution to provide significant performance improvement for end users and a Storage Infrastructure re-architecture and load balance to reduce business risk and improve system performance.

Following the transition and stabilisation phases Waterstons moved to the ‘Business as Usual’ phase, with the impetus on ensuring continuous improvement and reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO). Waterstons began putting together business cases and potential return on investment (ROI) for a number of identified projects including:

  • Backup re-engineering
  • WAN and Datacentre Migration
  • Web Filtering Upgrade
  • Antivirus migration
  • Reduction in support renewal costs
  • Manual Data Archive

These projects were all delivered within the scope of the Managed Service contract or through a small amount of additional project time and required very little or no upfront investment from Cundall.

In addition to those already undertaken there are a range of other projects in the pipeline to further reduce TCO or add value to the business.

During this initial three month period, Waterstons revealed the value that can be added through effective IT leadership, carrying out a number of low cost, quick win projects which provided significant return, particularly to the user experience. Cundall therefore asked Waterstons to fill this position permanently, replacing two other providers and thereby saving money and achieving greater value from the Waterstons contract.

Waterstons have consistently demonstrated a desire to deliver business advantage to Cundall both by improving the capability of our systems but also by looking for more cost effective ways to achieve our goals.

The Benefits

For Cundall the IT Managed Service has delivered a lower risk, higher performing IT infrastructure whilst significantly reducing the total cost of ownership. Benefits include:

  • Reduced total cost of ownership of IT services by £154,000 per annum within the first 18 months of the Managed Services Contract.
  • Better service resilience and system performance delivered through performance tuning of the environment and a series of small discrete projects delivered as part of the Managed Services Contract.
  • Increased support of overseas offices and 24h cover for business critical issues.
  • Improved end user experience through resolution of a number of long-standing support issues.
  • A view to long term planning and budgeting through the use of capacity/performance analysis tools and closer alignment with the business objectives.
Having access to the full depth of skills and resources through Waterstons’ on-site operations manager has enabled us to quickly grasp business advantage by rapid development of new technologies which were enabled in weeks and helped Cundall achieve global collaboration across our own teams and with key business partners. This sort of thing would have normally taken us a year or more to achieve and compromised other operational matters in the process.
David Dryden Managing Partner