Softcat recently worked with a leading gifting and engagement company that specialises in providing financial management solutions to many of the UK’s key retail businesses. The customer’s newer products in conjunction with a sharp increase in the digital retail experience had contributed to significant business and associated IT growth.
Many years ago, it was an obvious choice for this business to evolve the IT provision for its consumer and corporate gifting and savings business to Public Cloud – a de facto platform for many businesses who are seeking to better align business demand with technology use. Similarly, as with many businesses, the continued innovation from Public Cloud providers coupled with cloud skills shortages, drove the business to evaluate how it delivers 24x7 cloud platform operations, resulting in a new Softcat partnership.
- Provides digital financial management solutions to many of the UK's leading retail businesses.
- Founded 50 years ago but already has a cloud-first IT approach to underpin the business.
- Seeking new ways to evolve their use of technology.
While Microsoft Azure was already the preferred platform, as with many organisations, some of the associated decisions (architecture and build related) were done so without the wider context of how the use of Cloud would grow in line with the needs of the business. These technical challenges were amplified by an internal IT team juggling business-as-usual (BAU) and future project needs, collectively resulting in a critical challenge for the business. With an already longstanding relationship in place, the Softcat team were able to provide expertise and help this company explore options and make recommendations based on what other businesses were doing. A cloud services partnership was born, and as this exploration progressed, it also became apparent that the business was facing increased pressure around the ever-rising cost of cloud, with a desire to optimise and/or reduce monthly costs while improving operational reliability and security.
"The resourcing of our IT team was changing, at a time where we wanted to ensure the reliability of our Microsoft Azure platform and as such we began to explore external options to help us evolve our use of Cloud, while providing more bandwidth to our internal resource – Customer spokesperson."
Critical success factors
- Reduce monthly costs while improving operational reliability and security
- Minimise use of internal resource for BAU
- Ensure a solid foundation of the current state of play
Softcat quickly identified a need for a managed service, where the chosen partner would provide 24x7x365 platform operation support, ensure continued best practice and assume responsibility for the day-to-day. That would result in freeing up the customer’s internal IT to support new initiatives. However, the current cloud partner space is crowded. To ensure a valuable and future-proof partnership, the Softcat team worked hard to put forward a solid solution that would deliver against the critical success factors. The customer agreed with Softcat’s managed service features based on the following deciding factors:
- Cloud native design, build and operations (leveraging aspects such as infrastructure as code as standard and native cloud tooling to avoid additional operational complexity).
- FinOps (to ensure proactive regular commercial optimisation)
- Innovation Points (Softcat reinvesting its customer’s spend for the customer to call off against future projects, Cloud or other)
- 24x7x365 Azure PlatformOps
- FinOps to ensure maximum optimisation and alignment of IT to business needs.
- Ongoing architectural oversight to help shape new projects inline with best practice and operational efficiency.
The key result is a more efficient Azure platform (technology) with a Softcat 24x7x365 managed service for PlatformOps to ensure continuous governance (architecture, commercial, security and reliability) alleviating pressure on the company’s internal IT team.
A spokesperson for the company, explains:
“The end-to-end process was extremely efficient, taking approximately 4-weeks to identify & plan for improvements in our current platform as well as highly automated onboarding into the Softcat service.
“The Softcat team demonstrated great expertise throughout the process, re-assuring us we were in a safe pair of hands and a valued customer.”
At a Glance
- Reduction in the time that the company’s IT spends on BAU activities.
- Greater integration with native Azure features for visibility, security and recovery - reducing operational complexity.
- Opportunity to rationalise unused assets, reduce ongoing costs and secure discounts on future provision