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Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retailers in the UK, having merged eight years ago with another society. Their history dates back to 1960, when there were around 950 retail societies. Today, they currently have over 400 trading outlets and over 8,500 staff delivering services in food retail, fuel stations, funeral, travel, florists, and masonry.
Central England Co-op had seen a drop in service levels that were having an impact on the effectiveness and productivity of the business. Assistance that had been brought in as a result of an acquisition was not proving effective, and Central England Co-op were looking for a robust and effective managed support service.
Balancing cost and service levels were equally important. Central England Co-op were also keen to take on a company who ranked customer service as a top priority. Softcat fitted the bill, and quickly undertook a network assessment before making recommendations. Softcat’s Cisco Support was put in place quickly (within four weeks) to give a direct line to call on expertise and tech support. Implementation of the fully managed network followed over the next three months, with Cisco Smart deployed to automate a number of functions and provide a network monitoring tool as well as a VPN. Both projects were implemented within the expected time lines.
The solution provides reassurance for Central England Co-op that their network is fully managed and monitored. This frees up time for the technical team to focus on other specialist projects within the organisation to pursue their business objectives. Softcat now act as an extension of Central England Co-op’s technical team, giving them 24/7 access to an experienced and knowledgeable team and building close relationships and understanding of the organisation.
Softcat focused on the business objectives of Central England Co-op, offering bespoke advice and a tailored solution to enhance the way they collaborate as a business. In addition, the team provided valuable advice to make the network more robust and increase its operational success. Central England Co-op added, “As we look to the future and the challenges we face around security and change, we know Softcat has the expertise and services to help us continue to remain competitive in the high street. Because Softcat don’t specialise in just one area we know that as we change and develop Softcat will always be able to help us on that journey.”