The UK arm of the US multi-national technology conglomerate, IBM UK recently re-acquired a 20-year contract with a leading financial services provider, as its vendor of choice.
The single source agreement required IBM UK to manage an end-to-end Inventory-as-a-Service solution for its client’s estate of 6,200 devices across 48 UK locations. This included the provision of 2,264 spare parts that would need to be delivered, implemented, tested and working within the agreed two and four-hour Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Speed and flexibility were therefore the main priorities for IBM UK in meeting these strict timeframes and ensuring that any planned and unplanned downtime was kept to the absolute minimum. Remaining competitive in its pricing for its customers was also a key priority for IBM; its ability to bundle its solutions in one single monthly payment that offered better value for money than its competitors was crucial in securing the new contract.
For its clients, no interruption to operations were acceptable in the transitional phase of switching from one supplier to another. A quick implementation period was also necessary, with all newly-provided services accessible within four weeks, underpinned by a two-week implementation period. To ensure that IBM worked within these stringent timeframes, it needed a commercially viable model, offering instant scalability.
For IBM UK to remain and work effectively within these timeframes, it decided to outsource its inventory, parts, logistics and component testing provision to Agilitas, a preferred partner of IBM UK, using its award-winning on-site maintenance and professional services suite that falls under its InventoryAssure service.
Providing a multi-vendor solution for server, storage and print servers, Agilitas has enabled IBM UK to remain increasingly cost effective; bringing this provision in-house would of tied up a significant amount of capital across the infrastructure, restricting flexibility and generating a reduced return on investment.
Working with IBM’s on-site engineers, Agilitas provided an on-site storage facility for a select inventory of spare parts to be held, ensuring downtime is minimised. Combining this with a live view of the on-site inventory has enabled Agilitas to quickly replenish spares, further reducing downtime.
Furthermore, Agilitas’ experience of forming close relationships with its customers’ engineers in the workplace ensures they can instantly assist in diagnose a fault as soon as possible.
“IBM UK’s culture is very much one of ‘If we can’t currently provide a solution that our customer wants, we’ll work with best-of-breed partners to add it to our wider services portfolio’. Agilitas provided the plug for that gap, positively responding to a relatively big challenge of handling all of our outsourced parts, testing, repair and replenishment capabilities, with no major problems from a delivery or implementation perspective,” added Darkin. “We couldn’t be happier with Agilitas’ flexibility, speed, price and service.”
Agilitas’ tailored, on-demand solution has enabled IBM UK to provide an end-to-end inventory and spares solution to its customers, generating increased revenue and service offering for both IBM UK and Agilitas.
It has also introduced a number of benefits that reduces the need to IBM UK to invest in expensive equipment and storage capabilities, reducing its reliance on the CAPEX model, moving to an increasingly flexible, OPEX-based model as the needs of IBM UK’s customer base fluctuate. Removing these CAPEX headaches has allowed IBM UK to focus resources on delivering relevant solutions for its customers.
The standard of delivery has also been very high, with SLAs in excess of 98% achieved across the entire supported contract base. As a result, IBM UK is safe in the knowledge that on-demand hardware support is located close to customer sites, accessible up to a two hour SLA, year round.
“Using Agilitas’ tried and tested Inventory-as-a-Service solution has enabled IBM to lay the foundations to grow its customer base significantly in the UK, enhancing its overall growth strategy,” continued Darkin. “The Agilitas team are great to work with; always open and responsive, treat us as part of the family and available at any time of the day or night; they have enough experience to appreciate that any issues our customers may experience do not happen solely during the working day. We look forward to developing our relationship to help ensure our first-class service to customers continues.”
The timeframe of initial delivery was extremely tight; just two weeks, necessitating an extremely quick turnaround. However, choosing Agilitas to handle our inventory and spares provision was a no-brainer; its position in the market was fully justified when it quickly on-boarded and got up to speed, allowing our own customer service to continue seamlessly.