Migrate To Hybrid Cloud [Blog]

Every cloud is unique when you look at them, every one different to its peers. But even in that uniqueness we can group them into types; Stratocumulus. Cirrus. Cumulonimbus and so on. Even more fundamentally, each and every cloud is constructed of water vapour. H2O.

It is the same when you are planning your journey to the cloud. You are unique, your organisation is unique, and your cloud strategy will be too – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t group what you are trying to achieve and distil it down to your fundamental concerns at the same as identifying the benefits and building your business case: organisational agility, productivity, efficiency, scalability and cost-effectiveness.

Every cloud has its silver lining but it is sometimes a little difficult to get it to the mint.

Don Marquis

Don’t think of the uniqueness of your organisation as being a barrier to adopting a cloud strategy – the bespoke nature of hybrid cloud architecture means you won’t be hammering a square peg into a round hole but creating an environment that fits your organisation.

So how do you mint that silver lining of a hybrid cloud strategy?

Which kind of cloud are you?

Firstly, it sounds simple but is often missed, we need to make an inventory of your current state. Identifying all the workloads, your user base and rate of usage for each of these workloads, calculating the cost of compute, storage and networking, defining the security, recovery and continuity needs and finally researching the all legal and compliance implications for these.

Sounds a lot but without this baseline we won’t be able to accurately assess what you have, what you need and what you want to change. Below are some pointers to help evaluate each of these areas and begin to build a picture of your estate.

Sound daunting? Our experts are on hand to help you with as little or as much of this process as you need. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

Make an inventory of workloads

The best place to begin? Making an inventory of all of your organisation’s applications and workflows, such as email systems, finance applications, databases, and CRM systems. Starting from the top and working down.

Next, we determine which workloads are business-critical, whether there is any sensitive data, which of these are prime candidates for public cloud, and which need to be highly available.

It’s a good idea to estimate the effort to move each workload to the cloud and the advantage of doing so; even a simple classification of high effort/low effort, high value/low value will give an idea.

High Effort/High Value Contact Centre High Effort/Low Value Dev/Test
Low Value/High Value Data Warehouse Low Effort/Low Value

Once a birds-eye view of these workloads has been established, the task of planning where each workload should reside becomes easier. This is something your internal teams may want to undertake or we can assist and help produce.

daisy cloudbridge consultation hybrid cloud

Identify User Base & Rate of Usage

Once we have mapped out all of your workloads, their importance to your organisation and where you can gain the most benefit from migrating them to the cloud, the next step is to identify the rate of usage and user base. This is important in order to know how you can go about executing a migration with as little effect on your users and customers as possible as well as what kind of configurations are needed.

Calculate costs

An essential part of any business decision is, of course, costing it out. What kind of level of compute is necessary? How much storage do you need? What are the networking costs? As we know the level of storage required is likely to grow and change, our cloud experts think ahead to minimise future storage costs and other hidden costs that may arise.

Define security & recovery needs

Identify your businesses appetite for risk and requirements to meet industry or customer standards is a vital part of the process; what kind of SLAs need to be in place? What sort of failover and business continuity considerations need to be taken? What are the security implications of the planned migration so far?

With more than 30 years’ experience in business recovery, we have experts on hand to assist with these critical considerations which can have some grey areas and intricacies.

Research legal

Just like for when you are assessing your security and recovery needs, make sure you are aware of the compliance and legal guidelines that your organisation must adhere to. What about future considerations? Getting all information available together at this stage is vital for planning your next steps.

Choose a type of migration

Do you need a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) where the virtual machines (VMs) are configured by the service provider? Or is this something you can do in-house with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)?

What about considerations like rolling back from Public Cloud? Is there a path back? Make sure you have a strategy that includes optional paths in the future means that you won’t ever paint yourself into a proverbial corner.

Got some silver already?

If you are already utilising a hybrid cloud architecture and are interested in changing things up, this may still help. If not, get in touch with one of our cloud experts and we can talk through your requirements and advise you on the optimal path and how we can help.

Thinking of starting your cloud journey, or just need advice on your current cloud architecture? Get in touch today with one of our experts, and we can help talk through your requirements.

University of Southampton

Daisy_Corporate_Services_University_of_Southampton

Every year, the clearing process becomes more intense. With competition fiercer than ever, our telephony infrastructure was leaving us behind. Daisy designed a cost-effective solution that enabled us to handle calls efficiently and improve the quality of the service to our prospects. Because of this. we are now able to use the data generated by the solution to inform staffing levels and marketing campaigns for future years and are assessing how else we might utilise the solution to benefit both applicants and current students alike.

Nick Hull, Associate Director (Head of Admissions), University of Southampton.

The Background

The University of Southampton is a world-leading, research-intensive institution. Ranked as one of the UK’s top 20 universities and recently securing a position as one of the top 100 in the QS World University rankings for 2019, the university boasts more than 150 years’ experience in delivering world-class education.

Each year, starting on the morning of A Level Results Day, the University of Southampton’s phone lines can receive in excess of 10,000 calls during a mass call event known as “clearing”, where prospective undergraduate students yet to secure a place on a higher education (HE) course wait to be matched with places that the institution hasn’t yet filled.

In order to deliver the high-quality and stress-free service that prospective students expect, the University needed a robust, reliable, high-performance telephony system that could easily cope with the surge in demand come results day.

The Challenge

The institution’s method of call handling during the clearing process relied on a traditional “hunt group” – a method of distributing phone calls from a single telephone number to a group of several ISDN phone lines where a number of people are then are set up to handle the incoming calls.

Scaling their infrastructure during peak periods was proving to be both difficult and costly;requiring significant investment in physical ISDN hardware in order to meet only temporary demand and leaving little room for the flexibility needed to meet any additional capacity requirements on the day. This meant that many calls were not answered and there was no facility to leave a message leading to frustration and a level of service below that which the university strived to provide.

Recognising the limitations of its existing infrastructure, as well as the limited access to key marketing data and with a desire to enhance customer service, the University contacted their incumbent unified communications suppler, Daisy, keen to explore a simple yet effective entry into the cloud.

As well as ensuring that any inbound calls during clearing were answered as quickly as possible, the ability to gain visibility of the quantity and timing of calls, the success of various marketing campaigns, and the ability to direct queued callers to the online form was of paramount importance to the business. Therefore, any proposed solution would need to facilitate measuring the success of any marketing activity, enabling them to better understand their student population and their origin.

The Solution

Facilitating the University of Southampton’s need for increased capacity and improved efficiency during clearing, Daisy proposed “Clearing in the Cloud”, a solution that leverages cloud technology for the processing of calls and mitigating bottlenecks caused by existing equipment and ingress.

After undergoing a detailed design and consultation stage, Daisy’s dedicated team set about implementing and testing the new platform, ensuring call flows would work for the desired outcomes.

By moving to a cloud-managed solution, the university would mitigate the costly and labour-intensive process of installing additional hardware and instead benefit from a solution that can scale both up and down as demand changes.

Clearing in the Cloud allows callers to dial one of 10 local rate 033 numbers each linked to a specific marketing source. These calls were then presented to the Daisy system and delivered to one of 90 agents. From here, calls are processed within the cloud and callers are either held in a queue or played a series of messages highlighting key marketing messages or, more importantly, urging callers to complete the clearing process online rather than wait in a queue.

Daisy were available throughout the clearing process in the event of any issues and are now looking to assist with the evaluation of data now on the system.

The Result

Today, the University of Southampton is able to see how many students called throughout the clearing process, with added visibility on how many calls were queued. This means that next year’s staffing levels can be aligned well in advance.

What’s more, the reporting functionality enables staff to determine the success of certain marketing streams, enabling them to focus on and, where necessary, realign marketing tactics for the coming year.

In addition, the university saw a 56% increase in online applications which they attribute to the promotion of online applications via the queue messaging function played to callers waiting to be transferred to an agent.

As a trusted partner, Daisy are looking at evaluating the service and enhancing it further for 2019. In addition, as part of university’s unified communications strategy, SIP trunking is to be deployed on campus.

CX Whitepaper | Delivering a Digital Customer Experience (CX) for Today’s Mobile Consumer [Whitepaper]

In this customer experience white paper, we discuss the digital customer experience (CX) and how it has shifted from a “nice to have” to an essential service.

More than ever, customer experience (CX) is shaped and delivered through digital interactions. While the majority of customer communications are still voice-based, consumers now rely more heavily on digital methods, such as email, SMS, web chat and social media. They expect the flexibility to interact through the medium of their choice, wherever they are. And, they expect to be able to switch between one medium and another while they are on the move.

The latest market research puts this reality into perspective. 9 out of 10 consumers want absolute omnichannel service – they expect a seamless experience when moving from one communication method to another, such as phone to text or chat to phone. 57% of customers would rather contact companies via digital media such as email or social media rather than use voice-based customer support. At the same time, consumers are now empowered by social media. Over one third of the world’s population has active social accounts. These consumers are comfortable posting their opinions and observations about their experiences on social media. In this environment, a negative customer service story can easily go viral.

This whitepaper provides more stats like this, discusses the digital customer experience and how it has shifted from a “nice to have” offering to an essential service, before providing an overview of the digital expectations and habits of today’s consumer and offers practical next steps for transforming customer experience from dated to digital.

Bright Futures Start in the Cloud

How scalable cloud solutions can reduce waiting times during the clearing process.

“Digital strategies” and “shifts to the cloud” are not new topics of conversation within the Education Sector. In fact, they’re now arguably as ubiquitous as chatting about our inclement weather. The difference however, is that we are now seeing the creation of digital strategies which formalise and structure this aspiration to shift to the cloud and turn a lot of hot air into forward momentum.
Continue reading “Bright Futures Start in the Cloud”

New City College London

The Background

New City College (NCC) is the fourth largest college group in the UK with campuses across Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, Epping Forest and Havering. Employing around 1,800 staff, serving more than 20,000 students, and having increased in both size and scale over recent years, the college retains its strong local identities. In addition, having campuses in each borough continues to provide a strong choice of courses for the communities it serves.

The Challenge

With a mix of obsolete and out-of-support phone systems and a complex set of ways for students to contact the different college sites, the college started to look at methods that would allow it to consolidate disparate systems into a single solution; one that would address obsolescence and enable a better student experience – particularly concerning student admissions.

It was also important that any new solution would provide staff a better platform in which to communicate – regardless of location – whether inside or outside the college campus environment.  And this infrastructure had to be implemented within secure, on-premise data centres.

The Solution

Having taken the time to fully understand the unique pain points of the customer, Daisy Corporate Services and key stakeholders at the college developed a flexible relationship built on trust. This relationship allowed Daisy to deploy a design, development, consultancy, training and support service that would provide the college with a Unified Communications (UC) and multimedia contact centre solution using vendor partner Mitel. When completed, this will include MiVoice Business for telephony, MiCollab for unified communications and MiCC for the contact centre element.

With such a large transformation, the solution was split into multiple phases which deal with each pain point in terms of priority.  Phase 1 has a provided a contact centre service to act as a single point of contact for admissions and improving the ability to deal with student enquiries.

This improved student experience will also mean that the existing multiple lines for contacting the college’s advice teams using different phone numbers and different sites have been consolidated under one contact centre. Customer Service team members will be provided with real-time and historical information re: incoming calls so that the best possible student experience can be provided at all times.

For New City College, a cloud-based or externally-hosted data centre were considered too high a security risk, so Daisy’s ability to provide a unified communications and contact centre platform within a secured internal VMware environment was a critical factor in the decision-making process, and so phase 2, which is currently underway, will consist of migrating all campuses to a common infrastructure implemented within data centres on-site.

Phase 2 will also see the rollout of contact centre services from voice to omnichannel. This will allow the college to provide all students with their platform of choice for communication, reflecting that the student body might see web chat for example as their preferred media as opposed to a conventional telephone calls. This will further enhance the college’s ability to meet student recruitment targets and offer an enhanced student experience in the highly-competitive further education (FE) field.

The Result

Daisy successfully met the college’s budgetary constraints to deliver powerful new Unified Communications (UC) applications and desktop services as well as delivering a UC platform residing within the college’s internal, secure data centre.

With phase 1 completed, NCC are able to enter busy admissions periods with a new, single point of contact for students. A secondary benefit is that having all the enquiries channelled into in one location allows for greater synergy, data collection, and identification of arising issues and opportunities.   In addition, projected cost savings will arise from reduction in support costs, reduction in telephony call charges via migration to session-initiated protocol (SIP), simplification and cost reduction in moves and changes in administrative costs.

The strong relationship that exists between the two parties has seen Daisy serve as a sponsor for the Apprentice of the Year category at NCC’s student awards that took place in October 2019. Paul Hadaway, Sales Specialist at Daisy Corporate said: “We worked closely with the college’s project leads to deliver a cost-effective solution which will improve the communications experience for both staff and students. Thanks to the relationship we have built with the customer, I was delighted to attend the college’s annual student awards dinner. As a sponsor, Daisy were able to contribute to the provision of recognition and rewards that these students deserve.”

The Future

Phase 3, under discussion currently, will see the rollout of a mass notification platform which will deliver a secure instant message notification system across a range of desktop and mobile devices.  This will provide enhanced duty-of-care capability for staff and students alike.

Daisy-Group-Digital-Infrastructure-in_Higher_Education

Digital Infrastructure in Higher Education [Infographic]

How HE institutes can tackle the  challenges of providing the perfect digital environment.

The students of today and tomorrow are digital natives expecting more from technology than their predecessors. With the average student now owning seven internet-ready devices, a ‘connected’ campus shapes as much of their higher education years just as much as the ‘physical’.
Continue reading “Digital Infrastructure in Higher Education [Infographic]”

University of Hertfordshire

 

IT plays an important part in university life both for the staff and the students, and the network is the key element that underpins everything else we do. Juniper and Daisy showed us best practices, and transferred knowledge and skills so now we are completely self-sufficient.
David Ford, CIO, University of Hertfordshire

The Background

The University of Hertfordshire is one of the top 100 universities in the world under 50 years old. The university is based across two campuses in Hatfield, in the UK. It is one of the region’s largest employers, with more than 2,700 staff and an annual turnover of more than £250 million. At any time it supports a community of more than 25,300 students, including more than 2,800 international students from 100 countries, and a global network of over 195,000 alumni.

The Challenge

The University of Hertfordshire had last refreshed its network infrastructure more than 10 years ago, and the old architecture was struggling to support its changing requirements. Equipment was reaching end of life and the network was unable to cope with the volume of data and the new ways people had started to use technology.

Students and staff were accessing resources from two or three wireless devices of their own, alongside the university’s own fixed PCs, so the university set out to replace its entire network infrastructure with one that would support its requirements for the next 10 years. It needed to ensure mobility and flexibility of access, enabling its users to get online wherever they were, whenever they wanted, and from any device. As all key services are available online, business continuity during the migration, as well as for subsequent years, was very important.

The Solution

Daisy, along with Juniper Networks, worked with the University of Hertfordshire to design a solution that used Juniper Networks® SRX Series Services Gateways to provide security, and a range of Juniper Networks EX Series Ethernet switches to extend the network across its campus, including the EX3300, X4300, EX4550, and EX9208 platforms. The network provides a number of VPNs, and takes advantage of Juniper’s Virtual Chassis technology to operate multiple physical switches as a single entity.

Daisy and Juniper will also be implementing the Junos® Space Network Management Platform, which will provide comprehensive management of Juniper devices with fault, configuration, accounting, performance, and security management (FCAPS) capability. This will give the university control over its entire network from a single point, as well as enabling rapid application security and intrusion prevention system (IPS) updates. The University of Hertfordshire, along with Daisy and Juniper Networks, has also created a community development initiative to provide IT services beyond the university and into the local community.

The Result

With the presence of the 24/7 network operations centre team both Daisy and the University of Hertfordshire have visibility and the ability to react as soon as issues are raised with the network infrastructure at any time. This control through visibility allows the University of Hertfordshire to focus on its core day-to-day actions. A key benefit of the service by Daisy is its strict SLAs that ensure we are clear in our approach and are fully accountable during project delivery.

While further functionality is still due to be added, the network has already expanded capacity to 10GbE, overcoming existing limitations. Perhaps most importantly, users have been completely unaffected through the migration. The university’s IT team put the success of the migration down to thorough planning and a high level of support from Daisy and Juniper.

University of Liverpool

The Background

The University of Liverpool is rated in the world’s top 1% of universities. It has renowned institutes and centres and an £89m research income, focussing on seven key ‘real world’ research themes, with 90% of its research impact being ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’. Liverpool is associated with nine Nobel Laureates in 100 years and is accredited by all the UK’s main scientific research councils.

The Challenge

The University of Liverpool is one of the great centres of research, knowledge and innovation in the UK. A Russell Group Institution, the university’s pioneering reputation attracts students, experts and partners from around the world. It has 1,300 leading researchers, 22,000 students, 195,000 alumni in 40 associations, 5,500 staff and more than 400 programmes. The University of Liverpool had a legacy estate which was very expensive to run and maintain. The basic voice system didn’t offer the range of functionality required to improve collaboration across such a large reach. The university needed to move to a server-based solution, to reduce the burden of overheads, and also deliver a platform for future growth. With such a wide estate it needed a paced migration plan which it could control, so that it could run the two estates in parallel and maintain service to all throughout the project.

The Solution

Daisy worked closely with the University of Liverpool to update the estate, deploying Mitel’s MiVoice business platform, with Teleworker, MiCollab, and call recording and Mitel’s Marwatch product providing visibility and control over the entire estate. This deployment sits atop a new 1Gig network (both wired and wireless throughout the campus) with between 3,500 – 4,000 handsets being deployed.

The Result

There has already been a keen adoption among staff of both soft phones, mobile and PC clients to make calls, plus twinning their mobiles with the desktop infrastructure. This has reduced the physical estate required, whilst allowing the university to become much more connected and collaborative than it was before. The reduction in management overhead is forecast to deliver an £80,000 per annum savings in running costs. With ‘clearing’ being a critical time for universities, the Marwatch monitoring solution provides The University of Liverpool with clear visibility of real-time analytics, enabling full understanding of calls, call volumes and success rates, and ultimately better management of its capacity to answer those calls. Moving to the server-based deployment has also made it much easier for the IT function to integrate with the wider systems, websites and resources as well as standardising the information across those systems.

Oxford Brookes University

Now, thanks to our partnership, we not only know that our campus infrastructure is secure and scalable, but we have a roadmap in product innovation and capabilities that will help us meet future network demands.
Robin Breathe, CTO, Oxford Brookes University

 

The Background

Set in a historic student city, Oxford Brookes is one of the UK’s leading modern universities and enjoys an international reputation for teaching excellence and innovation as well as strong links with business and industry. Home to more than 2,500 staff and 18,000 students, it can trace its origins to 1865 when the former Oxford School of Art was established. The university was renamed in 1992 to honour its former principal, John Brookes. The university’s School of Architecture is one of the largest in Britain.

The Challenge

Due to rapid student and physical expansion, Oxford Brookes University required a solution that would meet this growth, whilst still be able to provide security, efficiency and cost savings.

The Solution

Daisy worked together with Oxford Brookes and Juniper Networks to propose a secure campus infrastructure solution with Juniper technologies that would encompass a single operating system, with high-performance security capabilities and technical innovation built for the future. Following successful testing of Juniper’s EX Series Ethernet Switches and SRX Series Services Gateways platforms, the EX4550 Ethernet switch was singled out as the most suitable foundation upon which to build the network. The EX4550 supports Juniper’s unique Virtual Chassis technology, which enables up to 10 interconnected switches to operate as a single, logical device. This was installed together with the SRX3600 Services Gateway to ensure consistent, campus-wide security for multiple media types, as well as securing both wired and wireless communications.

The Result

With Daisy’s dynamic service interface, Synapse, included in the solution, Oxford Brookes has complete visibility and control over the status of the network and is able to spot and react to faults through Synapse’s unique fault reporting tool, helping minimise downtime and reduce costs. Daisy appointed a dedicated project manager who worked with Juniper Networks to ensure end-to end accountability from initial planning to execution and ongoing monitoring.

Havering Sixth Form College

One morning, there was no connectivity whatsoever in our admin wing and the staff couldn’t work.
Graham Francis, Director of IT Services at Havering Sixth Form College

The Background

A large five-building campus for 2,500+ full-time students and 250 staff, Havering Sixth Form College in Hornchurch, Essex provides outstanding full-time education to 16-19 year-olds.

The Challenge

An ageing HP-based LAN core network was increasingly limited in speed, scalability and performance (100Mbps and 1Gbps uplinks), with failures and downtime a regular occurrence, impacting on teaching and administration; an underpowered wireless network with weak security; unreliable end-of-life cabling.

The Solution

Redesign and replacement of core and wireless infrastructure following competitive tender including: flood wired CAT5e structured cabling and dual resilient fibre optic uplinks to core Cisco Catalyst 6500 with Virtual Stack Core design; Cisco 2960-S Switches with 10Gbps uplinks; VLAN segmentation for security; lightweight wireless network with centralised management.

The Result

A far more resilient, scalable and secure high performance network delivered at a fixed price to further improve teaching and learning and enhance the student experience at this forward-looking sixth form college. Daisy Professional Services handled design, implementation, migration of staff and students, and full project management. The project came in on time and to budget.