Citizen Watches Case Study

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The Background

Since its foundation in 1930, CITIZEN has promoted a multi-cultural mindset that fosters excellence and creativity. CITIZEN UK was formed in 2000 to distribute CITIZEN watches across the UK and Southern Ireland.

The Challenge

IT plays a major role in underpinning CITIZEN’s UK operations that are run from its Wokingham-based head office. Citizen recognised that its aging IT and network infrastructure was delivering poor performance that was negatively impacting on the service provided to its staff. Problems included regular IT outages, software corruptions and switching failures. These issues were naturally proving a major concern for CITIZEN’s IT team that had limited internal resources and lacked the overall scale to address these problems.

CITIZEN had to address the need for better performing, more reliable, efficient and secure technology to effectively assist its 55 office based and remote staff in the UK. In 2012, CITIZEN decided to initiate a general IT refresh and focused on upgrading and enhancing its IT environments at its head office.

CITIZEN wanted the new platform to be highly resilient, fault tolerant and always available even in the event of an outage – so less downtime was experienced. At the same time, the organisation’s existing server room also needed to be upgraded, to create a safe, secure and efficient environment.

The Solution

CITIZEN sought a trusted IT supplier, with a high level of expertise, to provide extra resources for this major IT project. MCSA, a leading provider of high quality IT support services and solutions, was chosen due to its impressive track record of implementing high performance IT systems- backed by excellent levels of service and support.

MCSA provided knowledge and advice on the best options and recommended the design and implementation of a virtualised platform, consisting of HPE server, storage and backup technologies. MCSA consolidated the servers onto a new VMware-based, virtual platform consisted of an HPE ProLiant server farm, with a P series ISCSI SAN deployed at CITIZEN’s HQ for added resilience.

To address data security concerns, MCSA installed Kaspersky security software and Veeam’s virtual machine backup solution. This technology takes full advantage of VMware’s application program interface for enterprise scalability, advanced replication, multiple operating system file-level restoration and advanced recovery. To generate better performance across CITIZEN’s network, new HPE switches and upgraded wireless access points were deployed by MCSA was evaluated as delivering best value, using technologies that are manageable, efficient, best performing and expandable – as required for the infrastructure upgrade.

To complete the IT refresh, MCSA also upgraded CITIZEN’s server room, with a raised floor, new UPS and re-cabling to provide a more secure IT environment, with better racks, enhanced power management and cooling. This was completed with minimal disruption to the existing data centre systems – with minimal downtime allowed throughout the project.

The Benefits

CITIZEN now has a leading-edge, highly efficient, more cost-effective, faster and available IT environment. The platform also delivers greater capacity, is simpler to manage, can be easily expanded and is more environmentally friendly. A better end-user experience is being achieved at its HQ. CITIZEN’s employees are experiencing faster data access times, better IT performance and security – with more bandwidth. This is also resulting in a significant increase in job productivity.

Brian Gillingham, Finance, Operations & IT Director at CITIZEN said, “The MCSA team helped us by applying their technical expertise and excellent planning to ensure that the project was delivered smoothly- with minimal operational disruption. We now possess an efficient, high performing, reliable and available environment to successfully support our UK operations. Our teams in the field can also better use available technology – quicker and more effectively.”