We consider the key trends that will define 2018’s key business challenges… Plagued by cyber-attacks and skills shortages...
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Customer name: Metro Shipping
Challenge: With hundreds of time-sensitive global freight movements to co-ordinate each day and reams of associated documentation to process, it is no exaggeration to say that IT is the lifeblood of Metro Shipping’s business. With customers demanding visibility of their shipments’ progress at any time of the day or night, downtime is simply not an option.
“If our systems were down for any prolonged period of time our customers would go elsewhere. If we can’t do the job, somebody else will so uptime is absolutely imperative,” explains Simon George, Senior IT Manager for Metro Shipping.
With thousands of users depending on its technology worldwide Metro Shipping, in turn, relies on Sungard Availability Services to keep its systems running all the time. It has invested in a cloud disaster recovery service from Sungard AS, which replicates data on its critical servers in near real-time with a Recovery Point Objective of less than two minutes.
Sungard AS’s Recover2Cloud replicates Metro Shipping’s systems and data to one of its highly resilient UK data centres. The service provides continuous data protection by keeping a journal of data changes to enable restoration to a specific point in time in the event of a virus, hardware failure or software corruption. Should any servers fail, the replication service acts as the live environment until the original servers are restored, dramatically speeding up recovery time. What’s more, Recover2Cloud costs up to 50% less than traditional replication solutions.
In today’s complex production environments just one change a month per system can result in more than 10,000 configuration changes before each annual test. “You just want that reassurance that when you need it you’ve tested what’s on paper and know it will work,” he says. “Every time we test we find
something we can do better. So we liaise with our Sungard AS team to put the improvements in place for the next test.”
Recovering a business is not just about the technology, it also involves their people so Metro Shipping also contracts 65 shared recovery positions at a resilient Sungard AS recovery centre near its Birmingham headquarters. This is fully-equipped with all the telephony and technology Metro Shipping might need should its own premises be unavailable and would act as an alternative workplace for key staff in the event of a disruption.
Simon George finds that being a Sungard AS customer helps Metro Shipping win new contracts. “When we are invited to tender and are talking to new customers it’s a given that we have business continuity provisions in place. Prospective customers often ask us for details of our contingency plans and I can
say with certainty that we wouldn’t have the household names we do now if it wasn’t for our relationship with Sungard AS.”
“I’m confident that if there is ever a problem Sungard AS will work with me to sort it out. I know I can be open and honest in my communications with them and it works both ways. I view it as a genuine partnership, the proof being that I was quite happy to sign another five-year deal.”