Security systems manufacturer Fortress Interlocks wanted to replace its disparate IT systems with a highly available, unified business management solution. By working with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Technology Management, it organised the U.K.’s first deployment of Microsoft Dynamics® NAV 2009, running on Windows Server® 2008 with Hyper-V™ virtualisation technology. The solution saved the company more than £70,000 and is expected to double employee productivity.
Fortress Interlocks designs and manufactures safety access and control systems, creating safe environments for employees working with potentially dangerous machines and hazardous processes. Based in the United Kingdom (U.K.), it has more than 40 years’ experience in the safety market and always aims to provide innovative design, robust engineering, and reliability. Fortress Interlocks employs around 90 employees and turns over £10 million a year.
The company has offices in the Netherlands, Australia, and North America, and a team of remote workers in Germany. For nearly 10 years, Fortress Interlocks used disparate business management software in each of its offices. Mike Golding, Managing Director, Fortress Interlocks, says: “Each office had its own applications to manage its core business activities. These controlled finances, stock, sales, and some minor reporting functions.”
|By using Microsoft technology we can expect to double our operational efficiency. And, with Hyper-V, we’ve saved more than £70,000 and significantly reduced our downtime.|
Although this infrastructure worked well for many years, by 2008 Golding was looking for an alternative and standardised business management solution. He says: “As time progressed and the group expanded, it became increasingly difficult to gain complete visibility of every office due to the unconnected systems.”
He was met by a variety of other challenges that would benefit from either a replacement or an upgrade of the IT infrastructure. Golding says: “Our U.K. head office system was no longer supported and required a very expensive upgrade to the latest Web version. Also, we needed our IT infrastructure to be more reliable because we often encountered downtime, which hampered our operational efficiency.”
In early 2008, Golding and his IT team started working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Technology Management to help choose and deploy a solution that could meet the company’s needs. After evaluating all the leading products on the market, they chose Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 business management software. Golding says: “Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 satisfied all our requirements, and, as it’s produced by Microsoft, it had long-term commercial viability and support. Also, it operates on the Windows user interface, which is intuitive and familiar, reducing the amount of training employees need.”
Once the decision to deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 was taken, Fortress Interlocks and Technology Management wanted to make sure the system had high availability for its users. Virtualisation technology was regarded as the best way to achieve this because a number of virtual servers can be running to support the primary server if that fails. However, this option seemed too expensive.
Golding says: “We initially considered VMware technology, but it was too expensive for our organisation. We then became aware of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and Hyper-V. We researched it further and found it could offer us a similar service but at a much reduced price.”
Despite it being the first ever U.K. implementation of Hyper-V for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, Technology Management built the environment in less than 10 days, with the project going live on time and within budget. By connecting new Citrix servers running on Windows Server 2008, the company’s overseas offices can also access the business management solution, giving Golding complete visibility of all his departments.
In Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, Fortress Interlocks has a comprehensive business management solution that automates many of the company’s core activities. It also provides Golding with a centralised view of all his offices. By building this solution on Hyper-V, the organisation significantly reduced the cost of deploying virtualisation technology and maintains consistently high availability of its critical systems. Golding says: “By using Microsoft technology we can expect to double our operational efficiency. And, with Hyper-V, we’ve saved more than £70,000 and significantly reduced our downtime.”
- Reduces deployment costs by £70,000. By using Hyper-V, Fortress Interlocks saved £35,000 in licensing and software and £35,000 in deployment costs, compared to competing virtualisation technology.
- Enhances reliability. Because of the use of virtualisation technology, the system is robust enough to cope with any failures occurring with the primary server. The system automatically switches over to a virtual secondary server, significantly cutting the chance of downtime and reduced operational efficiency.
- Increases scalability. Running servers in a virtual environment allows for greater scalability because the company’s IT staff can migrate to a more powerful server in minutes.
- Improves system maintenance. System administrators can move the application to different virtual servers if they need to perform maintenance without affecting productivity. They can also remotely deliver updates to any office around the world.
- Reduces system upgrade failures. Using Hyper-V, Golding’s IT team can take a snapshot of the system prior to upgrading the software. If there’s a problem with the upgrade, they can roll back the snapshot to the most recent working configuration within a few minutes.
- Increases employee efficiency. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 has a variety of built-in functions for customer relationship management, producing reports, and automating tasks. Golding estimates these features will double employee efficiency.
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Document published July 2009