With an ageing and unreliable on premise IT Infrastructure together with an increasingly expensive managed service contract from a local IT support provider, John Butterworth , Group CEO wanted to assess options for updating and improving the group IT systems and reducing costs.
The 4 hotels and central head office, each had legacy server, PC and backup systems which were reaching end of life. Performance and reliability issues were impacting the operational ability of the group and the experience of the hotel guests. A costs analysis of maintaining the current delivery model and replacing existing systems with updated equipment from their existing supplier was undertaken but the high costs associated with this approach lead to FJB assessing alternative options.
After considering a number of traditional suppliers, seeking a fresh approach and having an awareness of the potential of the “Cloud” based delivery model, FJB approached Cloudserve to undertake a complete review of the IT requirements of the business together with a technical audit.
A full infrastructure review, together with meetings with relevant heads of departments, allowed Cloudserve to fully the understand business requirements of FJB and the current state of the existing systems. Cloudserve then presented a number of potential options to FJB based on the following criteria.
1: Improve the reliability, performance and functionality of key systems.
2: Provide ubiquitous access to information from any Hotel site and support remote access.
3: Reduce associated on-going support and management fees.
4: Ensure all systems adequately backed up and protected.
5: Deliver a modern and up to date user experience for all staff.
Cloudserve’s approach was to, where possible, minimise the requirement for on premise equipment by introducing “cloud” based systems and to centralise the required on premise IT infrastructure at one key site to minimise the duplication of systems and maximise the usage of IT assets
Following the submission or a comprehensive IT proposal, with associated costs, FJB agreed to move forward with a number of discrete projects to achieve their goals. Specific activities undertaken by Cloudserve for FJB include.
1: VMware Virtualisation project to decommission the physical servers on each hotel site and replace them with a centralised “Private Cloud” solution based at one core site and provide centralised access via a private WAN solution.
This involved the replacement of existing physical Windows 2003 with virtualised Servers based on a new Windows Domain
2: Replacement of Legacy Windows XP Pc’s with “Thin Clients” and Microsoft Terminal Services solution together with Windows 7 PC’s where required.
3: Updated and replaced the private wide area network (“WAN”) solution providing access to data and applications from any site.
4: Replacement of legacy tape based backup procedures with automated disk based off site backup
5: Migration from on premise Exchange 2003 (Email) to Office 365 Cloud based email and collaboration systems
6: Implementation of new guest WiFi solution and in-house WiFi network using Cisco Meraki solution
7: Implementation of new till systems based on Guestline
8: Implementation of new core PMS solution based on Rezlynx
9: Implementation of new guest entertainment (TV’s) solution based on Samsung Linc Sinc.
Cloudserve also provided a full IT management solution to FJB, replacing the incumbent supplier, and providing the first point of contact for all IT related enquiries for a fixed monthly fee.
John Butterworth, FJB Group CEO, commented
I have been very impressed with the professionalism, planning and project execution ability of Cloudserve. They fully took on-board that we run a 24 x 7 operation and our first priority is to the Hotel Guests. We have succeeded in considerably improving our IT Systems with minimal disruption and the feedback from my staff on Cloudserve’s ability to support and maintain our systems has been excellent. We now have a solution which supports the business moving forward and trusted supplier than can help us realise the benefits of new technology as it becomes appropriate for our use.