Broadcasting since 1957, STV’s wide range of programming reflects Scotland’s distinctive political, legal, educational, cultural and sporting institutions via news, current affairs and non-news programming. STV’s broadcasting business incorporates two licenses – one for the north of Scotland and one for central Scotland. With STV broadcasting to viewers 24/7 it is vital that hardware and servers are adequately supported for the offices located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and London.
As a major broadcaster in Scotland there are a number of critical servers and a cluster of IT hardware that needs to constantly operate to ensure that STV is able to broadcast to their viewers 24/7, 365 days of the year. MCSA had been supporting STV for 15 years across all STV sites. Calum McMillan, IT service delivery manager at STV, explains: “They have extremely skilled engineers that specialise in a whole host of hardware and server technologies. Fundamentally their skill set provides us with the reassurance that in the event of a hardware or server failure we will have the issue resolved quickly and efficiently.”
STV initially engaged with MCSA to maintain some of STV’s aged digital equipment and the support contract with the third party provider continued to grow over the years. STV mostly sourced hardware from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) which tended to include a support package for a period of time, though the company experienced in the past some suppliers refusing to support legacy equipment in an aim to encourage upgrading. However, upgrading legacy equipment is an expensive undertaking when the performance of the equipment that is in place is still perfectly okay. Following consultation with MCSA, STV found that they were able to support these critical legacy systems and source the relevant parts. As such, the company chose to extend its contract with MCSA.
McMillan explains: “Once the initial support contract provided as standard by the OEM expires, the cost of continued support direct from the vendor is very expensive. By adding additional items to our contract with MCSA we are able to achieve substantial efficiencies and on average we see a 45% cost saving in direct comparison with the OEMs’ extended support package.”
For McMillan, what really set MCSA apart from other support providers was the on-site visit and equipment audit prior to the service agreement being signed. McMillan explains, “Before we add any new equipment to our contract, engineers visit the site and audit the equipment. This allows MCSA to source the relevant parts in advance and keep them in stock in the event of a break-fix incident – immediately ensuring we are covered in the event of an equipment failure.” MCSA tailors SLAs (Service Level Agreements) for all support contracts depending on the response time required, creating a service hierarchy which reflects the customer’s needs.
McMillan comments, “At STV we have all of our business-critical servers on a 4hr break-fix contract, whereas some of our other hardware that’s not imperative to the smooth-running o our operations is on a next business day repair arrangement. This provides us with the flexibility to ensure business-critical systems remain in continual operation whilst managing costs prudently. However, MCSA’s office is located close to our head office in Glasgow and invariably an engineer is on site and the problem fixed quicker than the agreed timeframe.”
McMillan concludes, “MCSA’s expertise and on-site performance over the years has been fantastic; we trust the engineers and have maintained a positive working relationship with our account manager.
Outsourcing IT support to a third party provider like MCSA has delivered significant cost-savings and provided specialist technical skills for both new and legacy hardware. This allows STV to broadcast with the reassurance that our servers and hardware is supported 24/7.”