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Case Study

Softcat helps Berry Bros. & Rudd mature into a true hybrid environment

Berry Bros. & Rudd are Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, stocking over 4,000 wines and honoured with two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. Established in 1698, it has become synonymous with knowledge, it’s home to three Masters of Wine, and unsurpassed levels of customer service. Still located at No. 3 St James’s Street, London where the business began in 1698, it now has operations in Basingstoke, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and employs more than 300 staff.

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Key Facts

  • Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant
  • 323 year history
  • Two royal warrants
  • 4000 wines stocked
  • 300 staff across five global locations

The Challenge

More than a decade ago Berry Bros. & Rudd (BB&R) began working with Softcat on a bespoke managed services project. It had recognised that with the business expanding it needed to migrate from an increasingly outdated on-premise IT provision to a more resilient hosted service. Originally focused on a Microsoft Exchange migration, the engagement grew to encompass harmonising BB&R’s circuit and commercial contracts into a single, easy to manage service. In doing so, it gained access to enhanced levels of availability, scalability and flexibility from Softcat’s best-in-class technology hosted in a dedicated datacentre – something it couldn’t have achieved by maintaining its existing on-premise infrastructure.

In the intervening years, Softcat has continued to work closely with BB&R, managing its hosted infrastructure, its operationally critical WAN and ensuring robust infrastructure backups are provided through the managed services agreement. Inevitably, as BB&R has grown its business, it has recognised the increasing advantages of cloud-based services and Softcat has been on hand to help it realise how best to leverage these emerging technologies. It has transformed BB&R’s IT provision into an up-to-the-minute, true hybrid environment

The Solution

One of the main drivers of the original engagement was to enable the in-house IT team, which is relatively small, to spend less time managing its on-premise infrastructure. Securing managed services from Softcat would enable the IT team to outsource business as usual infrastructure management and release it to spend more time innovating and investigating forward-looking strategies. It would also ensure that BB&R had access to highly skilled technical support, best practice resources and the very latest technologies. Working closely with Softcat’s Office of the Chief Technologist Officer (OCTO), a dedicated consultancy and advisory service, BB&R has enthusiastically embraced innovative developments in IT ever since. Softcat now provides hosted infrastructure and essential managed WAN services that deliver resilient connectivity between business sites across the UK and ensure robust and uninterrupted cloud access in support of BB&R’s ongoing multi-cloud strategy. It also provides managed services for a range of mission-critical IT functions. Essential cloud functions, such as Azure connectivity, are professionally managed by Softcat. Amazon Web Services (AWS) billing is also managed through a dedicated Softcat provision, as is critical infrastructure backup. Like many businesses, BB&R recognised the advantages of migrating to Microsoft 365 and now enjoys the security and peace of mind that its essential collaborative applications are backed up through Softcat. As the business has evolved, Softcat has been there to support BB&R throughout. As new technologies have emerged, Softcat has helped BB&R develop a multi-platform capability that positions it well to leverage technological developments, take advantage of new and innovative services and drive the business forward.

The Benefits

Access to leading edge technologies and services is one of the main benefits of working with Softcat. Keeping pace with technological evolution would have proved expensive and time-consuming, not to mention placing increasing strain on the IT team, if BB&R had persisted with in-house, on-premise solutions. Through its relationship with Softcat, it has been able to take advantage of the very latest innovations while mitigating the risk associated with buying in and rolling out new technologies across an expanding business.

Using managed services enables critical IT capabilities to be financed through operational rather than capital expenditure. This enhances the ability to accurately forecast expenditure over a number of years and makes managing budgets simpler, more predictable and easier to control. By taking advantage of Softcat’s managed WAN service, BB&R can maintain robust inter-site UK connectivity and fully exploit its multi-cloud strategy without placing extra burdens on its in-house IT team. And from a cyber-risk perspective, working closely with Softcat and leveraging its secure, flexible and resilient backup facilities minimises any potential disruption from events beyond BB&R’s immediate control.

The relationship ensures that BB&R has readily available access to the very latest industry intelligence. Working with Softcat’s specialists minimises the need for in-house expertise and enables BB&R to concentrate on adding value to its core business activities rather than spending its time with the complex business-as-usual activities of maintaining critical IT infrastructure.

In recent years, BB&R has introduced public cloud into its IT architecture. Softcat has supported and enabled this strategy, ensuring that as the business itself evolves, its IT capabilities are able to keep pace with new technologies and new ways of working. As a long-term trusted IT partner, Softcat doesn’t just provide technology, it works collaboratively with BB&R to understand its ambitions, enable transformation and provide the multi-platform capabilities demanded by today’s business landscape.

Why Softcat?

“BB&R has worked with Softcat for more than a decade because it delivers on what it promises. It’s supported BB&R’s ambitions and helped guide its IT strategy, investments and development. The account management provides advice that’s always on point and informed by deep sectoral knowledge – and Softcat genuinely gives the impression that it wants to help. Of course, there have been issues, but like any strong relationship, they’ve been overcome by working collaboratively to find a solution. Softcat understands BB&R’s business philosophy and has helped create the platforms it needs to face the future with confidence.”


Critical Success Factors

  • Replace existing on-premise legacy infrastructure
  • Enhance resilience and IT capabilities with hosted solution
  • Enable scaling to cope with increased demand from business expansion
  • Facilitate migration to true hybrid / multi-cloud environment

Solutions Highlights

  • End-to-end managed infrastructure service
  • Consolidation of disparate IT systems into a high-performing, multi-platform provision
  • Enhanced resiliency and redundancy through hosted WAN and backup services
  • Ongoing support and close collaboration

Benefits at a Glance

  • Access to leading-edge technologies
  • Enhanced operational resilience with improved cost forecasting capabilities
  • Knowledgeable support and industry know how on tap
  • Facilitated migration to cloud-based services