Monday, 11 January 2021

McMahons Builders Providers Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences for Another 190 Years

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McMahons Builders Providers is one of Ireland’s largest independent building providers, offering quality building supplies and do-it-yourself materials to the trade and public since 1830.

Reliable and secure WAN connectivity key to continued success

With 14 retail stores spread across the Republic and Northern Ireland plus a Roof Truss manufacturing plant, WAN connectivity is critical to McMahons Builders Providers operations. WAN outages result in orders that can’t be taken through its centralized point of sales system, disrupting sales and impacting customer experiences. McMahons needs WAN connectivity that is fully redundant, secure, and manageable. And for this, McMahons turned to Logicalis and Cisco.

Logicalis Managed Services provided a one-stop shop to assess, design, and build a new WAN and server environment, greatly improving McMahons’ network reliability and security while simplifying overall manageability.

McMahons was due to upgrade its aging connectivity and server environment. Its new IT manager requested a move to a more centralized environment. McMahons no longer wanted server infrastructure in its retail stores. Instead, management wanted a fully redundant and secure centralized system that would allow expansion while reducing cooling and power needs.  McMahons also wanted offsite backup and disaster recovery, all at an affordable price. Decision makers looked at cloud solutions but favored the Logicalis and Cisco design.

A solution, not boxes

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In answer to these requests, Logicalis didn’t just sell McMahons a host of boxes, leaving it up to the company to figure out how to assemble and manage an optimized solution. Rather, Logicalis worked with McMahons Builders Providers to truly understand its business and technical challenges and then designed and implemented a Cisco-based solution to meet its needs.

For example, all site-to-site traffic flows through Cisco Meraki firewalls, adding high availability to the McMahons WAN; the Meraki solution decides to route traffic either over MPLS or VPN at each site. The Meraki solution also helps to ensure that McMahons has improved visibility into what is happening across its network, including all store and corporate locations. Security and performance of the network has been greatly enhanced with the adoption of Meraki as the standard site firewall at McMahons.

As another example, Logicalis implemented a Cisco HyperFlex solution with offsite Cisco servers for backup and disaster recovery. This helped reduce rack space, cooling requirements and power consumption, while minimizing any day-to-day management overhead. With this onsite steady state environment, McMahons gained more control of its IT resources while also reducing overall costs.

Logicalis also leveraged Cisco’s broad network of partners to enhance the overall solution. Consider this scenario: A Cisco server running VMware Hypervisor is located in a remote disaster recovery site, providing offsite disaster recovery. In addition, a separate Cisco server provides all system backups, running Veeam Backup and Replication software. Together, the Cisco and Veeam solution helps keep McMahons applications and data available 24/7, giving the company a reliable backup and recovery solution that simply works, requiring limited IT staff intervention.

Finally, as part of its fully managed service offering, Logicalis also provides on-going Tier 3 support, helping to ensure the reliability and security of the infrastructure.

Laying the foundation for continued years of success

With its new connectivity and server environment, store associates don’t experience point of sales downtime that might inhibit their ability to process transactions. That means customers can buy merchandise any time the store is open. In addition, McMahons has experienced increased performance and reliability of its infrastructure, along with reduced cooling and power consumption.

The McMahons IT team manages the new Meraki- and HyperFlex-based environments on a day-to-day basis. They are much more easily managed than the earlier environment, which is important to McMahons because it has a small IT department. For example, in the past, IT staff would have had to come in over the weekend to do a firewall upgrade. Now, an IT staff member can perform a firewall upgrade remotely through an app on an iOS device.

IT staff productivity has increased as well. Trips to the computer room are now a rare occurrence, and visits to remote sites to manage IT infrastructure have significantly decreased. All these factors help to reduce ongoing IT costs and enable IT to focus on new projects and customer service improvements.

Staying in business for 190 years is no small feat. No doubt, continuing to satisfy customers day in and day out is key to this success. By partnering with Logicalis Managed Services and Cisco, McMahons Builders Providers is at the cutting edge of its digital journey to providing exceptional customer experiences.

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