Having recognised significant market opportunity in its markets, the business realises growth both organically and through a strategy of targeted acquisitions. Dan Bloor, Head of IT Service Delivery at Enva, is tasked with creating common systems and processes across the group as well as integrating the new sites that are continually being brought into the group.
With a number of different companies brought together under the Enva brand, the existing IT infrastructure was a combination of four different longstanding contracts with major providers, none of which was particularly cost-effective.
It was a priority for Dan to create a unified network that could enable the both the operational day-to-day work and the digital transformation project work being undertaken across the group. He explains: “We’re currently rolling out a new comms system across the group and we plan to introduce centralised shared services. We’re also standardising IT systems and rolling out a new cloud-hosted finance system and operational systems. Before we could do any of this, we needed to create a network that would allow us to share those systems across all sites easily.”
Dan had begun a tender process for a wide area network (WAN) at a previous business and was familiar with Backbone Connect from that early work. “The IT Director there recommended Backbone to me,” says Dan, “due to the success of their implementation.” Dan felt Backbone Connect would be a good partner to provide the WAN that would enable Enva to bring its four business units together and, at the same time, reduce the overall cost of its network.
While the original goals were to create a global WAN and reduce costs, that changed as the project progressed, explains Dan. “I originally saw Backbone Connect as just another network aggregator before I started working with them,” he says. “But, actually, they do a lot more – from network design to outof-the-box thinking, Backbone will do it for you. You don’t get this from other service providers.”
Some cost savings were felt immediately; for example, removing the international call costs to Enva’s site in the Republic of Ireland. The new WAN has enabled users to work from anywhere, and Enva has enjoyed additional, unexpected benefits – in particular, around service flexibility.
4 Different legacy systems unified
to enable operational day-to-day work and future digital transformation
8 Sites easily integrated post-deployment
with 8x8 telephony, switches and colocated firewalls
High-availability centralised firewall
across 2 geographically diverse locations
“Backbone are a lot quicker to respond and a lot more flexible than other providers,” says Dan. “We’ll have a circuit ordered for a new site within 48 hours. And if we say we need a connection tomorrow, Backbone will find a way to get the VPN connection on the existing lines.
They’ll help us work on the existing network to get things as we need them until they can provide a permanent solution for us.” This greater agility and speed is highly prized by a company growing rapidly through acquisition.
The goal of a unified network with a strong cost efficiency has been achieved. Dan is most impressed because this cost reduction has been achieved at the same time as introducing resiliency across all Enva’s key sites and increasing bandwidth ten-fold.
“The digital transformation work we’re doing is about delivering real-time information to our customers. The largescale investment in technology we’re making is about differentiating ourselves. It all relies on our systems and, ultimately, our network.” With the exception of two very remote sites, all connections are no less than 100Mbps.
This has enabled IT improvements that reduce the company’s reliance on Citrix and Remote Desktop – giving Dan one less thing to manage. Enva’s Account Manager at Backbone Connect, Michael Swain says, “Delivering the MPLS network for Enva, where we can get everyone on the same firewall and IP range, has made it much easier to build the network quickly – something that is really important for Enva.
We’ve been able to integrate new sites quickly, and we’ve approached multiple suppliers and looked at multiple technologies to get the best available in each area. The service is accessed as a single network, but under the surface there is a complex combination of services and technology designed to give Enva the best possible combination of price and service quality.” “We try to keep our IT team as lean as possible and rely on good partners,” says Dan.
“Backbone Connect is absolutely a good partner: they are quick to react, they have good engineers and a good project management team. It’s unusual to have access to senior technical people so easily. They rarely say no. Even if it is an unusual request, they will find a way to help us. The engineers never complain – even when they’re working in some of our most challenging environments.
They’ve performed exactly as we’d hoped and priced everything exactly as they quoted in the original tender. They are now managing our LAN for us and assisting with architecture and design work.”