Sanitary ware supplier, Bathroom Bizarre contracted Telkom to upgrade its ageing network to that of a new virtual private network solution.
The business case
1. What sort of system was Bathroom Bizarre running prior to the Telkom implementation?
Bathroom Bizarre was running a point-to-point Layer 2 Diginet network.
2. What were the limitations of the existing system?
The customer was investigating implementing new technology changes as it understood the benefits of migrating to a virtual private network (VPN).
3. What other business requirements did Bathroom Bizarre have?
Bathroom Bizarre required a seamless transition with a minimal impact on its current operations and requested the implementation be done during quiet retail periods. Additionally, the customer required a minimum two-week testing period.
The business partner
1. What process did Bathroom Bizarre follow to decide on Telkom?
Bathroom Bizarre approached Telkom due to its existing longstanding business relationship.
2. Why did Bathroom Bizarre choose Telkom as its partner?
The existing relationship between the two companies was one of the reasons Bathroom Bizarre decided on Telkom. The service level agreement (SLA) and the 99.9% network availability were the main features of the solution. However, the cost-effectiveness of the solution was the deciding factor. Bathroom Bizarre had considered migrating to the solution for the past five years, but it only recently reached the break-even point from a cost perspective.
3. What was the existing relationship with Bathroom Bizarre?
Telkom and Bathroom Bizarre have had a long and reliable business relationship for several years. Telkom has been able to assist the group in aligning its ICT strategy and guide them through their requirements. Due to the longstanding relationship, this project was just another way in which Telkom could assist the customer.
4. What was the specific scope of the project?
The scale of the project was significant. It involved the head office and 28 other sites. Additionally, the main Internet link had to be relocated to the new Bathroom Bizarre head office. The customer preferred the cut-over to take place over the mid-December and early January timeframe as this is generally the time when operations slow down.
1. What was the Telkom solution that was implemented?
The solution required that all the existing sites cut over to the VPN network. However, it had to be implemented in stages to ensure operations were not significantly disrupted. The challenge was to communicate between the different departments involved in the service provisioning and cut-over. Regular updates were provided to all the parties involved.
2. What technologies did Telkom employ?
Telkom utilised a Cisco-powered Diginet VPN solution.
3. What are the advantages of the Telkom solution to Bathroom Bizarre?
Bathroom Bizarre is now able to grow into a fully converged network. The VPN solution allows for future network growth to be implemented seamlessly with significant flexibility.
4. What other skills was Telkom able to bring to bear on the project?
Telkom was able to provide Bathroom Bizarre with the required technical and systems integration expertise.
5. How was integration with existing Bathroom Bizarre systems managed?
The roll-out of the VPN solution went as planned.
1. What were the timelines for the implementation?
Bathroom Bizarre wanted the cut-over to take place in phases. The Gauteng sites needed to be completed first, with implementation at the regional offices taking place over a two-week period.
2. What were some of the challenges that had to be overcome during the implementation phase?
The provisioning of the link at the head office took longer than expected. However, with the assistance of the relevant departments which escalated the matter, the delivery period improved. There was a slight problem where the recovery was initiated without provisioning the VPN link on the first site to be cut over. The project manager took control of the situation and ensured the job description for the provisioning was clearly defined for the remaining sites.
3. What were some of the key successes achieved?
The cut-over was handled professionally and was completed sooner than expected.
4. What additional back-up does Telkom provide in terms of support and maintenance?
Telkom is proving Bathroom Bizarre with service management support as well as the proactive management of any issues on the VPN.
5. How does the solution work?
The VPN solution is working according to the requirements of the customer. Bathroom Bizarre is now able to access a network performance report and see exactly what is happening on the network. If there are any issues, the service manager and his team are able to step in and ensure the network is up 99.9% of the time.
Impact and future
1. To date, what has been the measurable impact to Bathroom Bizarre in terms of decreased costs, increased productivity, and so on?
While Telkom is still awaiting detailed feedback following the recent implementation of the solution, early indications from the customer are that the speed of the network has improved significantly.
2. What future benefits are expected to be derived from the project?
The client is very satisfied with the SLA to ensure network uptime of 99.9%. Additionally, Telkom expects the customer to be satisfied with optimal network performance and availability, as well as the 24-hour help desk.
3. What has been the response from Bathroom Bizarre following the implementation?
Bathroom Bizarre has been very impressed and happy with the service provided.
4. What does the future hold for the business partnership?
The customer is looking at integrating voice and mobile for full networked convergence.