Krueger International (KI)
In 2004, KI moved to hosted, managed services for its IBM Power Systems workload to reduce the cost of ensuring 24×7 coverage, and to ease the burden on their own operators. But a series of acquisitions led to poor support and reduced responsiveness.
Sirius Managed Services, with its dedicated team and Command Center, works with hosting partners to ensure round-the-clock support and administration, and reduces the cost and burden on KI’s own technical staff.
Headquartered in Green Bay, WI, Krueger International, Inc. (KI) manufactures furniture and movable wall system solutions for education, healthcare, government and corporate markets worldwide. KI is the world’s sixth-largest contract furniture manufacturer, with nearly $700 million in sales, approximately 3,000 employees, and nine manufacturing facilities around the globe.
Like many Sirius clients, KI has found that it can make good business sense to have select systems hosted off-premises, and managed by a dedicated managed services provider. Back in 2004 the company decided to have its IBM® System i® servers hosted and managed by a provider in Omaha, Nebraska. At the time, that provider required its customers to host their systems in its facilities; there was no option to remotely manage systems located on-premise in KI’s data center.
Things changed quickly as the managed services industry consolidated, and KI’s provider was acquired by a company that was subsequently acquired by a giant software company in India. With that last acquisition, their helpdesk was shifted offshore, and the quality of care suffered. KI also noticed that the best personnel from their previous provider were leaving that company and joining MSI Systems
Integrators in Omaha, which had a growing managed services organization. CIO Streubel was concerned by the degradation of care, and the outflow of staff assigned to her account. “A number of the key people on our account were moving to MSI, so we reached out to MSI to learn more about their Managed Services offerings. We were very impressed by the people and the support they offered, and their helpdesk was staying in the U.S.”
When their contract with their old provider ended in 2009, KI used the opportunity to switch to MSI. The hardware —still owned by KI — was moved to a secure facility operated by MSI hosting partner Cosentry Inc. in Bellevue, just south of Omaha, and MSI took over day-to-day management of the systems. The IBM Power Systems™ server runs the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, data warehouse, and applications for HR and payroll, all on three production LPARs.
When Sirius Computer Solutions acquired MSI late in 2010, KI was concerned that history was repeating itself. They soon learned that much of the value that Sirius saw in MSI was the company’s outstanding managed services business, including its talented staff and dedicated, state-of-the-art Command Center in Omaha. Great care was taken to preserve the exceptional level of service that MSI’s clients had come to expect, and that meant keeping their people, processes and partnerships in place.
“When MSI was acquired by Sirius, we were concerned about how it would affect the wonderful service we’d gotten used to, and what would happen with the helpdesk. But everything went very smoothly. Sirius kept the same people on our account, and there was no effect on the quality of service.”
“The Sirius team knows our systems inside and out.”
Sirius is managing all aspects of KI’s Power Systems workload from the Command Center, including operational support, taking action on job events, performing OS upgrades, and providing system engineering and disaster recovery services, including annual DR testing. Included in the managed services contract, Sirius handles tape backup and offsite vaulting at an Iron Mountain® facility. If needed, Sirius can recall the tape and do a file- or system-level restore.
In 2011, KI upgraded their hardware to a new Power Systems server, and their OS to IBM i 7.1. The new system offered plenty of performance and capacity for growth, but because KI didn’t know how their legacy code would run under the new operating system, KI used Sirius’ DR resources as a test environment, and then restored to the production machine once they were confident everything was working smoothly. “When you have so many third-party applications, it’s much easier to go live in a DR environment and test everything out instead of putting the production environment at risk.”
“They can never leave as long as I’m here!”
With Sirius Managed Services, KI has proved that you can save money, simplify administration and improve availability by having systems hosted and managed off-premises.
CIO Streubel has been delighted with the continued high level of service provided by the Sirius Managed Services team. “I tell them they can never leave as long as I’m here! The Sirius Managed Services team is dedicated to their clients, so you know you come first. I get great support all around with our account rep, and if there’s an issue I know she’ll handle it and keep me updated. The whole team is so knowledgeable, they know what they’re doing and they’re there to help… I couldn’t be more satisfied with them.”