Continuity and efficiency of service alongside relationship relationship relationship are crucial indicators for Rockshop when it comes to their long-term IT service providers, BTG.
With New Zealand’s widest range of musical instruments, close to 30 stores nationwide, and some 200 staff dotted around the country, Rockshop rely heavily on a well orchestrated IT system.
The BTG / Rockshop relationship dates back some 7 years or so, and has evolved over the years, as has the scope of service provided by BTG. In a nutshell BTG provide:-
- IaaS (Merge|IT) – after an infrastructure refresh in late 2012 this was the most beneficial outcome for RS;
- VaaS – via BTG’s Talk|2 brand;
According to Simon Manson, ICT Manager for NZ Rockshops, “Although we have a fall over plan in place, we are very reliant on the system now, and our logistics centre cannot operate without it.”
Rockshop switched to IaaS (Merge|IT) in early 2013 after coming up for a hardware refresh. They had a choice – they could either have bought warranty extensions (but they had already hit capacity with their equipment), bought new hardware, or shift over to IaaS. A lot of planning took place to come up with a proposal to cover their needs for software, licencing, specifications on virtual servers etc.
“You have to look at it from a business continuity perspective. IaaS has redundancy. If a hard drive fails, they’ll still keep running and doing business, and we have multiple internet connections and can switch between them”, says Mark Skinner, Operations Manager at BTG.
“The people we have behind the scenes are really important. We’ve got very good senior engineers who know what they are talking about, to support it. Also, Merge|IT is NZ based. It’s stored within the boundaries of New Zealand.”
Simon notes, “We are not limited by our own hardware anymore as far as that side of it goes. It removes the cost of maintenance, and removes the responsibility of any hardware breakdown.”
Merge|IT removes capital expenditure and shifts spending to an operational model which keeps billing a lot more consistent and easily budgeted with “no unforeseen blowouts”, according to Simon.
VaaS (BTG’s Talk|2) was introduced to the Rockshop package after a proposal was submitted to replace their existing phone systems.
“It was quite a leap really, considering they had just spent $10k on new phone systems”, says Mark.
Rockshop had problems with their existing phone system, including once losing their phones for an entire week.
Again, a Talk|2 managed service means minimal downtime for a company that relies on continuity of service, adaptability, flexibility, and it’s proved to have cost savings already.
“We looked at the VoIP phone system that we are using currently several times over the last 4 or 5 years, and it’s in my opinion that it’s only in the last 2 or so years that it has got to the stage of being usable due to government regulations freeing up network connection speeds etc between all of our locations by relaxing or taking Telecom’s stronghold off the whole industry”, explains Simon.
“We now have the ability to bring online a new phone within an hour instead of weeks, and can nominate phone numbers and shift staff around at the push of a button. So it’s a very flexible system, and not reliant on a Telco that’s not really interested in your business”.
BTG also look after NZ Rockshop’s WAN, running a managed service around monitoring it, and all the routers at each location. “This allows us to control the quality of service to the phone calls. VaaS we’ve done in such a way that if they had a power cut at a branch (VoIP needs power to a phone or device), we put in power over Ethernet switches which power the phones. They may last an extra 30 minutes, so they can still make phone calls, and allows time to route numbers to an operational branch/number without interruption”, says Mark.
Again, alongside standard and continuity of service, Simon from Rockshop reiterates relationship being key to the BTG package.
“The service, or ‘what they offer’ becomes irrelevant without good relationships with technicians and upper management. They are very responsive to any queries I have, and always get back to me in an appropriate timeframe. I’m not even talking about specific faults etc, but just general questions about the system and about flexibility we have within it. They get back to me within 2 hours with solutions and responses. It is the most important part for me.”