Creating a Highly Available and Resilient Network
Established in 2004, Answer-4u are the UK’s leading Call Centre Solutions Provider to SMB and corporate businesses. The company provides a fully tailored service to their clients- aiming to reduce costs, increase revenue and improve efficiency of call centre requirements 24 hours a day.
Answer-4u need to ensure that every call taken on behalf of their clients gets answered efficiently every time. In order to achieve this, their IT needs to be running constantly, as every agent is guided on how to take calls in the most professional manner by using their internal IT system.
As a fast growing company dedicated to the business continuity and exemplary level of service to their clients, the IT manager at Answer-4u identified the need for 24 hour resiliency on all critical IT services. The fluctuating demands on the IT department meant that at times, additional support was required, therefore resource planning also needed to be considered.
Our challenge was to improve existing infrastructure and expand capacity for the IT systems within the call centre.
By incorporating our IT Manager Service, Answer-4u were able to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge our team had to offer, including our Cisco and Microsoft accreditations and the many benefits these provide.
In order to accomplish our goal of making the network as resilient as possible and capable of a much greater workload, we incorporated a range of services and products such as;
Network Restructure – We restructured the network by arranging switches strategically. This involved chopping the office into thirds, with each third accessing the network via 2 switches. For each third, half of the people working in that section would be working from one switch and the other half would be working using the second switch. Ultimately, this means that if a switch were to go down, only 1/6th of the call centre would be affected.
Two routers and two internet connections- We installed two routers and two internet connections so that if one router and/or connection were to fail, then the other would be automatically activated and therefore no downtime would be experienced.
Hyper V – Implementing Hyper-V means that Answer-4u can deliver an uninterrupted service 24/7 to their clients. This is because if a physical Hyper-V server fails, there is enough capacity to failover all of the virtual machines to another Hyper-V host. Once the issue is resolved and the failed server is back online, the team can safely redistribute the workload back on to the Hyper-V host without needing to stop any virtual machines.
Comprehensive Backup Plan- Even with all of the measures in place to ensure resiliency and uptime, it is still essential for businesses to have a thorough backup. This means that if something were to go catastrophically wrong, it has been accounted for and there is a contingency plan in place to get the business back up and running in a minimal amount of time. We worked with Answer-4u to construct a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan to really make this a fail-safe solution.
The outcome of our solution is that Answer-4u now have a fully resilient IT setup that is robust enough to survive unexpected failures in systems or even mains power without detracting from the excellent levels of service provided to their customers 24/7/365.
There is not a single IT component within their entire infrastructure which, if it failed would take the call centre down. Pyranet believe that having no single points of failure is the best practice in preventing downtime.
As part of the Assisted IT Support contract, Pyranet allocate a dedicated senior engineer to visit Answer-4u once a week, providing enhancement with guidance, expert advice and support to the internal technical team. Regular training is provided and assistance is given in the event of a particularly troublesome issue.
Additionally, biannual IT review meetings allow us to collaborate ideas with both the IT department and the upper management team; something that allows the two to communicate without technical barriers. With our assistance on a consultancy basis, Answer-4u continue to invest on developing their IT infrastructure to further underpin their business growth.
Feedback from the client:
“The wealth of experience and service provided by Pyranet has been exceptionally valuable to Answer-4u over the years. By drawing on their expertise we have successfully implemented new systems that have helped the business to grow rapidly and easily handle the ebb and flow of large media campaigns. We are more confident in our IT systems than ever before and very pleased with the weekly visits where we continually assess cyber security against the latest threats and keep on top of new advancements to maintain Answer-4u’s market leading position.”
Head of IT