Alastair Stevenson, Anchor’s Head of IT, is using IT to help support business change initiatives across four inter-related areas: the creation of standardised offerings for customers; the development of tools for people management; the continual improvement of customer services; and the production of high quality management information to help with long-term planning. A recent decision to move to the cloud, prompted by a combination of business factors, is helping Stevenson ensure business aims are met.
“We took the opportunity to help the business move forwards,” he says. “Anchor had an ageing central infrastructure and we didn’t want to just replace like with like. We were looking for a platform that would be more flexible and resilient. We wanted to be able to turn services on and off as the business demanded.”
Anchor’s mobile workers include executives working flexibly from home, including late at night and over the weekend, so 24/7 availability was key. Stevenson took the opportunity when embracing business transformation to create a dedicated service desk, with out-of-hours support provided by BT’s UK-based ITIL service desk operation.
Stevenson decided to push the transformation agenda as far as possible and worked with BT to introduce its Managed Compute platform to create a flexible platform for customer care and to support future growth.
Disaster recovery has also been beefed-up. Rather than relying on in-house storage at a single location, Anchor is now running critical apps – such as Microsoft Active Directory and IP telephony – across two BT-hosted data centres in active/active mode with other apps running in active/passive.
There are no capacity limitations to the deal and Anchor’s business teams can utilise the on-demand resources of BT’s Compute Platform to spin-up new services in as little as 24 hours.
Some elements will be best kept in a traditional co-located environment, such as bespoke apps and hardware that can’t yet easily be transferred to a cloud platform. But for the right firms, in the right circumstances, on-demand computing provides the perfect option.
“Our whole approach is now much more proactive and agile,” adds Stevenson. “We’ve got the capacity to introduce new initiatives whenever we want. We have built for the future.”