Client Case Study: Crystal Clear: Why Swarovski Chose IRG as its MSP (Managed Service Provider)

February 7, 2012

Written by John Centofanti

John’s background spans the creative side of business, including content writing, branding, graphic design, and more. In 2006, John founded Creative Stream Marketing, serving national retailers, tech companies, and B2B companies across the US.

Back in 1895, Daniel Swarovski pursued his dream of creating a crystal so perfect that it captured both the eye and the heart. Swarovski, now the undisputed world leader in cut crystal has remained fully independent since its foundation in Wattens, Austria.

The company employs over 25,000 people and maintains a presence in more than 120 countries worldwide. Today, the name of Swarovski stands for exacting workmanship, quality and creativity all over the world.

CIO Challenges

With the recent shift in the economy, companies have been forced to change the way they operate in today’s retail environment. Swarovski’s IT department was given a directive from Corporate to accomplish more with less, without compromising the experience synonymous with the Swarovski name. Swarovski also needed a company who could not only effectively manage the rollout, but to proactively manage all aspects of the network once it was up and operational. Having a managed service provider for their network that was available 24/7, 365 days a year to service any and all of their network related needs was imperative to the success of this opportunity.

IRG Solution

IRG project managers researched its network of carriers for low cost DSL and broadband. In the interest of utilizing existing hardware for greater cost savings, IRG was able to work with the existing Cisco platform already in place in Swarovski retail locations. Swarovski was able to increase the bandwidth to stores while reducing overall costs by as much as 50% after replacing the expensive T-1 network with high speed broadband. By incorporating a 3G backup, Swarovski was able to insure they weren’t sacrificing reliability for these much needed cost savings.

Swarovski requested a slow rollout of the IRG solution; therefore IRG limited implementation to only 15 stores per month. This allowed Swarovski IT staff to thoroughly test and approve the reliability of each store as well as set up and test their applications. Broadband powered applications are central to Swarovski’s business. The entire POS system and related back office applications function only with broadband. Similarly, delivering real-time data in the supply chain application ensured both stores and customers receive accurate information on product availability. With the extra bandwidth, Swarovski has also introduced VoIP as another way to leverage the broadband network, eliminating the need for additional phone lines.

Swarovski could not compromise its commitment to a powerful customer experience. Therefore, IRG included 3G failover as part of the broadband solution. This ensured every store would have the “always on” connectivity IRG delivers, enabling faster credit card processing and accessing corporate communications, corporate data, and using broadband applications.

Throughout the project, IRG maintained proactive communication with the retailer with status updates on the progress. This eliminated interruption of business at the store level. Moreover, Swarovski’s need of having the single NOC responsible for all aspects of the network infrastructure as it related to their retail stores was accomplished through IRG’s two U.S. based Network Operation Centers.

When the entire project is complete, IRG will have implemented its solution in over 250 Swarovski retail stores and seasonal kiosks throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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