Published on 03 Oct 2012
"Thanks to IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, we have gained the ability to match our capacity to business volumes, protect our mission-critical SaaS solution and reduce the manual effort involved in managing our infrastructure – reducing IT hosting expenditure by 91 percent and cutting the workload element by one FTE." - Des Downey, Managing Director, Management Process Systems Ltd
Management Process Systems Ltd
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, SmartCloud - Services, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server
Headquartered in Cambourne in Cambridgeshire, England, Management Process Systems Ltd (MPS) is a management services company for the construction industry. Established in 2000, MPS delivers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) collaboration solution which enables construction projects to improve their contract change management processes. The key benefits of SaaS collaboration solution are enhanced predictability of cost and time, instant visibility of risk and change issues, and improved compliance in terms of audit and visibility.
MPS wanted to migrate away from a managed services platform that no longer matched its business needs.
MPS chose IBM® SmartCloud™ Enterprise – enabling IT hosting resources and costs to be adjusted up and down according to changing market conditions.
Achieved a 91 percent reduction in IT hosting costs by enabling MPS to pay only for the IT resources it actually needs.
Headquartered in Cambourne in Cambridgeshire, England, Management Process Systems Ltd (MPS) is a management services company for the construction industry. Established in 2000, MPS delivers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) collaboration solution which enables construction projects to improve their contract change management processes. The key benefits of SaaS collaboration solution are enhanced predictability of cost and time, instant visibility of risk and change issues, and improved compliance in terms of audit and visibility. This enables MPS customers to reduce the risks, costs and significant financial penalties associated with project delays.
Need for flexible infrastructure
Previously, MPS hosted its SaaS collaboration solution on virtual servers on a fixed-cost managed service platform, which incurred significant costs associated with services setup, management and monitoring. This presented a risk to the business, as it did not allow for IT resources and associated costs to vary in line with fluctuations in customer demand.
MPS wanted to reduce its financial overheads and financial risks by making its expenditure on IT infrastructure more responsive to changes in the market.
As Des Downey, Managing Director of Management Process Systems, explains: “Activity in our industry runs in cycles, and relates very strongly to current economic conditions. Because we could only purchase datacentre capacity in large chunks on our fixed-cost contract, a significant portion of our datacentre capacity lay unused for long periods.”
Moving into the SmartCloud
To improve the cost efficiency of its infrastructure, MPS engaged with IBM to migrate its SaaS solution to the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise solution. Today, the company’s SaaS solution is hosted on four virtual servers at an IBM datacentre.
“For an SME business such as ours, the managed service hosting model can sometimes be too blunt an instrument to be cost-effective,” says Des Downey. “For this reason, when IBM introduced us to SmartCloud Enterprise we immediately recognised its potential value to our business.”
Using IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, MPS can scale capacity up and down almost instantly. Rather than purchasing datacentre capacity in large chunks that would often go unused, the company can provision exactly the amount of capacity it needs to match business volumes.
“The other attraction of SmartCloud was the IBM brand itself,” says Des Downey. “With the reputation of one of the biggest technology companies in the world behind us, we ensure that we have the necessary credibility to bid for the largest commercial contracts. The IBM brand also helps us to market our solution outside of our principle geographies, where MPS is less well known.”
Cutting IT hosting costs by 91 percent
MPS has found that IBM SmartCloud enables it to better facilitate some of its customers’ largest construction projects.
“If we win an extremely large contract and require extra virtual servers for our SaaS solution, we can use SmartCloud to provision all the resources ourselves within 24 hours,” says Des Downey. “At the end of the project, we can remove the extra capacity with the same speed – meaning we never need to invest in more capacity than we need to provide an excellent level of service to our clients.
“The IBM solution enables us to be so efficient that we estimate that we are operating the IT hosting component of our SaaS solution at a 91 percent lower cost than a comparable managed services platform.”
Reducing administrative workloads by one FTE
The company’s IBM solution has also helped to reduce the manual effort involved in provisioning virtual servers for new projects.
“Before SmartCloud, if we wanted to take on a large new contract we would need to purchase additional processor capacity from the datacentre, then email requests for the configuration of new virtual machines, which was time-consuming and incurred extra setup costs,” says Des Downey.
“With SmartCloud, we can handle the entire necessary virtual machine configuration ourselves with minimal manual effort and almost no extra training. In fact, the reduced management complexity of the SmartCloud solution has enabled us to cut the technical workload costs by the equivalent of one full time employee each year – helping us to invest more time in tasks that add greater value to our business.”
Better economies of scale in the cloud
In addition to reducing its investment in unused capacity, MPS has utilised IBM SmartCloud Enterprise to improve the cost-effectiveness of its disaster recovery platform.
Downey comments: “After reviewing our IT support infrastructure, we determined that we could benefit from better economies of scale by transferring disaster recovery services away from our third party provider and into IBM SmartCloud.”
Today, the company is planning to asynchronously mirror its servers to an IBM datacentre in the United States – ensuring immediate business continuity for a cost-effective price point.
Looking to the future
“Overall, we are extremely satisfied with our IBM SmartCloud Enterprise solution,” concludes Des Downey.
“Thanks to IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, we have gained the ability to match our capacity to business volumes, protect our mission-critical SaaS solution and reduce the manual effort involved in managing our infrastructure – reducing IT hosting expenditure by 91 percent and cutting the workload element by one FTE.
“By continuing our long-established business partner relationship with IBM, we are confident that we are in an excellent position to drive future business growth.”
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