manufacturing

Manufacturing Group Reduces IT Costs with a Centrally Managed Infrastructure and Entuity Network Management

Serving a growing manufacturing and distribution enterprise across the globe, a global customer-specific components manufacturing company required a solution to automate its network management to reduce operational costs and improve end-user service availability. Entuity was chosen for its enterprise-class functionality, real-time network monitoring, accuracy of information, and integration with BMC TrueSight Operations Management.
Company Highlights

  • Company Size:
    • 4100 professionals
  • Countries Supported:
    • More than 21 Countries in Europe, North America, and Asia
  • Network Management Software:
    • Entuity network management
Introduction

With a global manufacturing and distribution network of more than 65 sites in 21 countries throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, centrally managing and serving this customer- specific, precision formed components company’s critical business services for the more than 4100 employees may seem an insurmountable task. But that’s just an average day for this manufacturing group. Based in two centralized data centers located in Switzerland, all of the company’s main business, communication, storage, accounting, customer management, and ordering systems are hosted for maximum efficiency and ease of maintenance. Connecting users at all of these sites — and the group to its customers — is a complex and distributed network infrastructure providing the foundation for business productivity.

The group consists of four business units, including an in-house IT service provider. Although their product lines and markets they serve are diverse, they all share the main electronic business systems.

The Challenge: Services Spanning the Globe

Worldwide access to the group’s business applications depends on the availability of their LAN and WAN network environments. To ensure their network is optimally deployed and efficiently performing, the group relies upon Entuity as their primary network management solution. Keeping users productive at all of these sites requires the continued, uninterrupted operation of the applications and electronic systems for their particular business unit. Business services such as supply chain management (SCM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), advanced product quality planning (APQP), finance and accounting, human resources, and warehouse systems are all centrally provided from the data centers. The group’s accounting system, which is based on SAP, features a variety of modules that store critical transactional information in Oracle databases for all locations. To ensure security, backup, and longevity of electronic records, all critical business data is stored centrally as well.

Connecting all the sites is an intricate and distributed network based on Internet-VPN or MPLS links. Like the arteries of the body, the network carries these critical business systems delivering life’s blood to the business, keeping it alive, growing, and efficiently performing. If the network is down or is even slow, user productivity is negatively impacted at a minimum. If there is a network outage, customer transactions could be interrupted resulting in lost business revenue and driving down profitability. A representative example is the warehouse system used by one of the divisions in Valence, France. Based on a SAP TRM installation hosted in Switzerland, all customer orders are received and sent as warehouse transactions over the network. If there is a network interruption, no orders would be processed, warehouse personnel would not be dispatched, and goods would not be shipped. The same criticality of network connectivity applies to the office infrastructure, where business communication would be at stake.

The Solution: Network Availability

With the availability and capacity of the network such a significant factor in providing business services, a versatile network management system capable of proactive issue notification was required. One that included a broad range of device and operational thresholds to alert IT staff of problems so they could be fixed before any users experienced service outages or degradation. A network management solution containing the complete breadth of functionality required by network administrators, and one that was fully integrated with their strategic Business Service Management (BSM) platform based on BMC Service Assurance products.

Using Entuity, the group has implemented a network management solution that solves their operational challenges. With Entuity, IT personnel have a top-down view of their entire network with separate views for each business location. The views include logical collections of all the network components that serve a particular business unit (comprising both local devices and central devices) to provide performance and operational forensics from the user’s perspective. This gives IT staff the information and insight required to make informed decisions about capacity and availability for optimum service delivery.

“Entuity gives us a top-down, business-centric view of our network that we previously did not have,” says their manager of Technology & Operations. “This gives us clear visibility from a user’s perspective to the complete infrastructure serving each location, including devices both at the local facility and our central operations center, to better manage and reliably deliver services to our user community.”

With the Entuity for BMC TrueSight Operations Management, the company was able to integrate monitoring and management of their network into their BSM platform to further automate infrastructure support. Realtime network monitoring is accomplished with Entuity. Performance or operational events reported by Entuity are then forwarded to TrueSight for correlation and processing. BMC’s Alarm Point is then used to automatically route incidents to the correct IT personnel including Help Desk as well as second-level support. Not only do incidents get solved faster having the appropriate and most experienced personnel assigned, but overall staff efficiency has improved since all staff are not distracted assessing trouble tickets which don’t apply to them.

The Result: Reduced Costs

Centralizing their IT infrastructure has helped the group reduce costs by providing economies of scale in several ways. Internet-VPN connections with strong, real-time monitoring provide lower cost transport than dedicated connection services with expensive SLAs.

The number and variety of Internet Service Providers keeps competition high and costs low. Housing applications and data storage centrally reduces maintenance time and costs and provides a consistency of service to end users. It also simplifies hardware requirements at remote facilities. Automating the alerting and incident assignment processes reduces end-user disruption and improves IT operation’s efficiency. By combining event information in the BSM system, downtime of end-user services is reduced. With these monitoring and management systems in place including Entuity, they can provide a high-level of service to thousands of users in more than 65 locations around the world with just 2 full-time equivalents in network administration.

Power Consumption

The amount of electricity used by the group in running their business units is of growing concern. It not only has an impact on operational costs, but also the environment and the local communities surrounding their businesses. Demonstrating their commitment to the environment, sustainability, and minimizing their impact on global climate change, they are committed to sustainability and the conservation of resources, and regards them as fundamental tasks aimed at securing the future of the company. Power conservation is one of the criteria used in evaluating business partnerships.

“Entuity gives us a top-down, business-centric view of our network that we previously did not have.”

Manager of Technology & Operations

Entuity’s Green IT Perspective gives the group visibility and insight into the power consumption of their various business units. Reports from the Green IT Perspective detail the amount of power used by groups or individuals and their compliance with established shutdown policies that are designed to save power. They also quantify potential areas for savings. The reports are shared with users to promote additional savings, building awareness and personal responsibility for how their use of corporate computer resources impacts the company. The Green IT Perspective also identifies underutilized servers. Applications can be resource-leveled, making efficient use of compute power.
About Entuity

Entuity takes the work out of network management. Our highly automated, unied enterprise-class solution puts deep network insight at your fingertips, frees IT staff to focus on strategic projects and easily integrates with major frameworks and networking environments. Entuity’s support and services teams are frequently praised for their rapid response, networking expertise and involvement in special engagements. Founded in 1997 by two senior-level IT executives from the financial industry, Entuity is headquartered in London with US operations in Boston.