Global CPG Company

Global CPG Company: Solving the global network crossword puzzle

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Imaginative BT enriched Network Service Integrator model drives business transformation for global CPG giant

Traditional service management science is all about horizontally-oriented systems providing an end-to-end network view from the core right out to the end user. When something goes wrong, goes the theory, the service provider sees it and fixes it before the customer’s even aware of the problem.

That’s all very well, but what about when there’s another network layer (or two) involved? And continents in between? How do you get crossword-like three-across and two-down insight? The innovative answer from BT is the enriched Network Service Integrator (eNSI) model.

To play in the BT eNSI global game, for an aspiring local service provider, a condition of taking part is network management process integration within a strict contractual framework. This global CPG Company story shows how that partnership provides the combined vertical and horizontal view that enables faster and sharper service level agreements to be set and achieved every time.

Like all great ideas, the enriched Network Service Integrator model is so simple one wonders why no one thought of it before.”
- Chris Blundell, Vice President Global Sales BT Global Services

The critical nature of network operations

Today, in every industry, the ability to rapidly innovate and respond to change makes the difference between success and failure. Of prime concern for many is the ability to keep supply chains running smoothly: interruptions impact profits and brand equity. The network is key.

One global CPG Company, for example, estimates a single 15-minute network outage at a mineral water plant would create a distribution bottleneck. Twenty delivery trucks would queue up in that period, unable to depart through lack of destination data. In one of its ice cream factories, meanwhile, a four-hour outage would not just halt production. The plant would have to shut down for three days of deep cleaning.

The point is that food is the CPG Company’s main product and no risks can be taken. Traceability has to be maintained and that’s done through a networked SAP platform.

Growth outstrips legacy network management model

In fact, the CPG Company has one of the largest SAP environments in the world, and a far-reaching network to match. But by the end of 2012 even that vast infrastructure was being stretched by the business’s annual six per cent global expansion. In the two-year period to 2014 about 50 per cent of its 2,000-odd sites were relentlessly re-specced to meet changing business needs, and around 100 new sites were opened.

The company was also set to embark on a Microsoft Lync rollout, which would further increase IP voice and video traffic. As a key enabler for more sustainable business practice, the CPG Company needed to assure a good Lync end user experience, while still protecting business critical SAP performance.

Having provided the firm with global network services for the last 15 years, the ability of BT to scale and flex its resources was put to the test. So was the CPG Company’s strategic approach to its own infrastructure. Although BT provided the worldwide backbone, the standing arrangement saw in-house regional teams with do-it-yourself design and sourcing responsibilities.

That model was creaking. It lacked the agility to keep pace with fast-changing markets and enable rapid penetration of new and emerging ones. Furthermore, when it came to service level agreements (SLAs) BT had little control over its destiny. With third party service provider relationships managed by the local in-house teams, service management transparency was non-existent and escalations were slow and tortuous.

Enter the enriched Network Service Integrator

Something had to be done. So BT brought its enriched Network Service Integrator (eNSI) model into play for the CPG Company. Defined as the co-ordination of people, processes, tools and technology across multiple service providers, eNSI is an imaginative way of introducing coherence into the management and delivery of end-to-end network services.

Put simply it entails innovative contractual arrangements that guarantee best value for the customer while putting vital service levers into the hands of BT. Under eNSI disciplines, commercial and performance risks are firmly placed and managed where they belong: at the sharp end.

To achieve that, the BT eNSI proposition mandates system, process and technology integration – and one measurement model – upstream to the client and downstream to managed suppliers and subcontractors. An integrated systems stack is achieved using e-bonding and a standards-based global operating model. Agreeing to those things is an unswerving condition of doing business.

“Our ability to operate as an enriched Network Service Integrator is founded on our proven ability in managing collaborative supplier networks to deliver value for our customers,” says Chris Blundell, vice president for global sales at BT Global Services. “Along the way we’ve made big investments in brilliant people. They’re optimally located around the globe and also placed with key partners.”

What’s best for the customer comes first

Success in the eNSI space rests squarely on simple, repeatable processes. And it’s not only the third party service provider that’s got to change. BT found generic processes that had served it well were no longer up to the job in achieving the necessary integration with others’ service management domains.

“In helping your customer accelerate time to market the very last thing you should do is add layers of complexity,” explains Ian Elborn, the BT Global Services network services integration director. “The trick is to make it simple for all and, along the way, help both parties arrive at more efficient processes that mirror each other.”

Does that take tricky negotiation? Yes. Seemingly simple matters like customer data entry have to reach the same standard and, where a third party has not done that before, they may seek to charge for it. Ian continues: “In some regions our advice has been that it’s too risky to continue with the current arrangements and we’ve recommended a switch to a higher-quality service provider.”

The network services integration team spends much of its time in distant parts dealing with the CPG Company’s local people, understanding the market dynamics, and sorting out non-compliant situations. “Our mindset is what’s best for the CPG Company not what’s best for BT,” says Ian. “It’s an interesting dynamic. It can sometimes mean recommending a local third party as better value than a BT solution. But as long as we can make the processes work we’ll achieve the overall eNSI goal.”

Single service domain sharpens SLAs

That transparency and management systems integration built into the BT eNSI model means much sharper SLAs can be set and achieved. These will cover, for example, network performance and availability, the speed of fault clearance, and application response times. For the first time the entire infrastructure has, in effect, become a single service management domain.

Dave Humby, chief service architect at BT, explains: “We’re seeing a trend for customers to seek end-to-end service and application performance in their contracts, yet retain the ability to multi-source network components. We’ve evolved our eNSI proposition in response.”

That newfound ability to be genuinely proactive also applies to the speed of processing IT infrastructure orders and service delivery around the world, and particularly in fast-growing markets. That means BT has to work at market speed alongside the CPG Company.

Best value with assured application performance

In developing the standards-based eNSI model in general, and the custom version for the CPG Company in particular, a lot of work went into designing the operational collaboration framework (OCF). Incorporating strong value assurance mechanisms, the OCF features onshore BT regional service teams aligned with key CPG Company centres, along with partner co-location and effective use of resources in low-cost economies.

The customer-retained organisation has responsibility for the overall enterprise architecture, security and other policies, and standards management. The CPG Company also purchases and supports end-user devices, data centre services and business applications. However, solution-specific hardware devices, like video conferencing technology, come within the eNSI scope.

A three-layer eNSI executive management structure aligned to the CPG Company’s business objectives sees delivery of targeted cost savings and critical projects as the top strategic thrusts. The next level concentrates on application performance, security and compliance, and eNSI process optimisation. The foundation service and delivery layer looks at enablers such as network availability, time to restore and quality measures like round-trip delay. The focus is on end-to-end services and shared targets.

The CPG Company’s key goals are all about increasing application performance, network predictability and speed, and security and compliance – while driving down cost to serve. Under the eNSI contract, BT is mandated to deliver best value, whether that’s through using its own services or those of service provider partners who’ve signed-up to the eNSI framework.

Moreover, in operating the new model there were further savings from eliminating service management duplication in both the CPG Company and BT domains.

With the focus on supporting corporate applications like the CPG Company’s major SAP platform, real time application performance management (APM) is a key element of the BT eNSI offer. “That APM focus is based on our deep network domain expertise,” says Dave Humby.

Built into the new eNSI contract is the achievement of significant overall savings against existing in-house IT budgets. An early example of that is the elimination of interfaces with large numbers of third-party suppliers, reducing staff costs and improving price transparency. Furthermore, network optimisation means the CPG Company no longer has to continually add expensive circuits to increase bandwidth.

Signed in March 2014 the six-year eNSI contract will see BT provide the CPG Company with a team responsible for end-to-end infrastructure management across over 2,000 locations, connecting hundreds of thousands of employees in 130 countries.

With SAP now performing at the top of its potential everywhere productivity is soaring. Finally, the CPG Company is in good company. Other such BT eNSI deals include agrochemical, financial services, healthcare and other CPG giants. A massive vote of confidence sees many more such contracts currently under negotiation.

BT products in the CPG Company’s network architecture

The backbone network for the CPG Company uses BT IP Connect Global, while BT Connect Acceleration optimises bandwidth by, for example, preventing repetitive transmission of large email attachments. BT virtual private network connections route corporate traffic over the internet. Useful for backup links in the event of a local network failure, more importantly internet-based access to BT IP Connect means new sites can be set up and connected to corporate systems in days rather than months.

Another key enabler is BT Connect Optimisation. Powered by Ipanema, this dynamically maintains the appropriate routing balance between business applications and other data flows. Dynamic WAN Selection further ensures fast application response times by automatically selecting the best path for each application according to factors like available bandwidth and network quality.

Part of a portfolio of APM services, BT Connect Intelligence monitors how well applications like SAP are serving end users, spotting problems and providing solutions fast. Reports and metrics are displayed via an online dashboard that’s easy to set up and use. BT One Collaborate offers global video conferencing services over the BT IP Connect Global network using Cisco® TelePresence™ technology.

BT One Voice routes international calls from mobiles and other non-desk devices over the core BT global network. Where regulations allow that means such calls only incur local network fees. BT One Enterprise takes care of LAN management and monitoring at the CPG Company’s offices worldwide, while BT Assure Intelligence and BT Assure Managed Firewalls ensure network security.

Core services

  • BT IP Connect Global
  • BT IP Connect Web-VPN
  • BT Connect Acceleration
  • BT Connect Optimisation (delivered in association with Ipanema Technologies®)
  • BT Connect Intelligence
  • BT One Cloud IP telephony
  • BT One Voice
  • BT Assure Intelligence
  • BT Assure Managed Firewalls
  • BT One Collaborate Cisco® video conferencing
  • BT One Enterprise LAN management and monitoring