To support growth and provide customers with more choice in how they consume their services, Calyx Managed Services deployed the Operations Manager component of Microsoft System Center 2012, the first in a phased roll out of the Microsoft System
Center 2012 suite. The solution has cut total cost of ownership through licensing, better resource allocation, and automation of critical monitoring and management tasks.
Calyx provides outsourced IT to customers across the United Kingdom (U.K.) and has offices in London, and Didsbury and Hyde in Manchester. The business is focused on medium-sized organisations, employs around 230 staff and supports more than 700 public and
private sector customers from its three U.K. offices.
The company is flexible about the way it provides services. Some customers prefer Calyx to manage their IT needs onsite in their own private data centres, whereas others have private cloud services hosted within the Calyx data centre. In addition, some customers
require a mixture of application services, with Calyx responsible for managing core applications and in-house IT staff managing others. Its round-the-clock service operations centre is located in Manchester, where it employs more than 50 engineers—ranging
from senior development and deployment staff to IT support technicians. Tim Clegg, Head of Transformation, Calyx Managed Services, says: “We work around our customers’ needs, so the services we provide vary from contract to contract.”
Calyx is undergoing a transformation strategy to provide even more choice for customers. Clegg says: “Customers’ requirements often depend on their own customers’ preferences. For example, some want to keep their data onsite, while others are comfortable
with it stored offsite. Essentially, companies are at different stages of maturity and development when it comes to the way they run their networks.”
The firm’s business strategy requires a highly flexible IT platform, and a set up that ensures it can develop, deliver, and monitor a range of services efficiently and cost-effectively. To increase agility, Calyx wanted to replace its incumbent monitoring
solution in Manchester. Clegg says: “We had a variety of tools of varying effectiveness. We wanted a solution that could provide us with a range of functions and benefits—from development to monitoring and maintenance—and support us in expanding our managed
Calyx evaluated a number of proposals to find the right solution for its managed and development services strategy. “While we need a single view of network operations, we also want to provide first, second, and third-line support teams with access to the
tools they need for their roles,” says Clegg. Calyx engaged with specialist Microsoft System Center Partner Apajove to assist in evaluating the Microsoft System Center 2012 product set. It worked with Apajove to support the phased deployment of the suite once
product selection was completed.
The Microsoft System Center 2012 suite brings together a range of modules with a common thread built around Orchestrator, a tool that supports workflow and process automation across data centres and end-user devices. Orchestrator plays an important role
in the strategic design of the Calyx service operations centre. Clegg says: “In terms of our decision-making process, total cost of ownership was the crucial factor and we found that competitor products fell short in this respect. With competitor solutions,
we need to employ and support different skill sets to manage and carry out data-centre development tasks. Orchestrator is a common development framework and scripting language used across all Microsoft System Center modules. With it, we can design development
processes and tasks so that they’re functionally consistent, which reduces task complexity and allows us to manage the data centre efficiently.”
Calyx is now in the process of deploying Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to support management of its customers’ devices from the Manchester service operations centre. “Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is another important
part of our management platform. We’ll use it for asset discovery, software licence management, and to deploy updates to our customers’ devices,” says Clegg.
Calyx is confident that it has the right technology to underpin its strategic operations. “In choosing Microsoft System Center 2012, we wanted to develop a solution that would provide us with a single suite of products and the widest array of functions,
while lowering total cost of ownership. By aligning operations management tasks with appropriate staff and automating data-centre management, the business increases profitability,” says Clegg.
Firm distributes resources cost-effectively. Calyx has restructured its data centre so that its most experienced developers can concentrate on high-level
strategic design, while its junior staff can take care of routine tasks such as update management and support calls. Clegg says: “We can set up a task template and configure it to work the way we want it to. This gives our front-line support teams the tools
to manage business-critical tasks themselves, rather than relying on the strategic development team.”
Calyx cuts total cost of ownership. “We can automatically schedule routine maintenance and updates to take place outside normal work hours, reducing the number of senior and junior staff required out of hours. This alone
lowers total cost of ownership, but combined with reduced licensing costs, and training and administration expenses, it’s even more significant,” says Clegg.
Business responds rapidly to market demand. Calyx is preparing to roll out its managed desktop support service within the next four months, but development doesn’t stop there. With a standardised
infrastructure and Microsoft System Center deployment tools, it can rapidly create and provision new customer offerings in line with market demand.
Operations centre supports all business lines. Teams that are responsible for the company’s other business lines, such as creation of unified communications platforms, can take advantage of System Center tools to manage
and deploy customer solutions.
Staff develop their expertise. Junior engineers benefit from working in a consistent development environment and taking on responsibilities for high-level operations. Training is simplified because scripting tools and interfaces become familiar,
leading to rapid development of skills and expertise.
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