Case Study: New Network for Global Manufacturer

Better Performance, More Flexibility, More Bandwidth, Lower Cost

The Company

Contrivian’s customer is a Fortune 1000 global manufacturing company specializing in raw material components production for the technology industry. Products include silicon and rare-earth elements, refined and transformed into components used in the manufacture of electronics in a wide variety of sectors, including mobile phones, automobiles, broadcast systems, and aircraft. Operations span four continents, with locations running the gamut of commercial offices, manufacturing plants, and remote rare-earth element mines.

The Challenge

Nearly 100 years old, the company had grown through entry into new markets and verticals as well as a series of acquisitions. As the company grew, so did its global network. Network segments were integrated by way of acquisition, and the footprint had grown to over 300 locations, each with its own challenges and requirements. Each location had multiple forms of connectivity, typically a mix of dedicated internet and MPLS circuits.

The cost of managing this global network had become increasingly prohibitive, both in terms of actual circuit cost and the management overhead required to deal with over 30 global telecom suppliers. While the company had moved to a single-vendor global MPLS network with a Tier 1 provider, numerous other circuits existed for local internet access and point-to-point connectivity to data centers and cloud services. In total, the company was managing in excess of 700 circuits at considerable cost. Many of the most remote locations suffered with very poor, extremely expensive connectivity that was outage- and congestion-prone.

The company was interested in moving to a modern SD-WAN network, but didn’t have the resources to analyze and modernize the full network estate. Planners recognized that buying connectivity from local providers in each region would likely yield more consistent performance but at increased management overhead. Further complicating matters was the move to cloud computing and SaaS solutions in recent years for collaboration; the legacy, single-purpose MPLS circuits were no longer being utilized for inter-site communications as they once were.

The Solution

The Contrivian team started with a bottom-up analysis of the overall connectivity estate across the enterprise. We identified many circuits that were between 2x-10x current market rates and out of term, circuits that were no longer being used, and circuits that were no longer fit for purpose. With this information in hand, the team created a multi-phase migration plan to replace and upgrade connectivity across the entire organization.

Contrivian deployed a mix of access technologies at each location. For major office locations and manufacturing plants, typically diverse dedicated internet access (DIA) via 10 Gbps or higher fiber from multiple providers, as well as dedicated point-to-point connectivity into cloud fabric exchanges. For large branch offices, connectivity ranges from DIA and broadband backup to broadband with LTE or satellite backup for smaller branch offices. Some of the remote mining operations presented the biggest challenges; often hundreds of kilometers from the nearest city, they were connectivity-starved, relying on extremely expensive and slow geostationary satellite bandwidth. For these locations we deployed a mix of fixed wireless, LTE, and LEO satellite connectivity, bonded together with the Lighthouse technology, resulting in a seamless, high-performance connectivity medium that works regardless of underlying provider issues.

All locations, large or small, now have the Contrivian Lighthouse technology deployed, providing real-time route optimization and performance enhancement. This means that even if specific circuits fail or experience a degradation in their connectivity, users aren’t impacted.

By serving as a single-source supplier, Contrivian became the “one hand to shake” for our customer, anywhere in the world. A dedicated account team is always available, but the Contrivian North Star portal provides real-time at-a-glance view of network health and utilization, visibility into service delivery and project management, and a place to get help when it’s needed. Rather than juggle 30 or more different telco portals, our customer now has a single view for the global telecom footprint, including procurement, delivery, monitoring, and management.

The Results

The ultimate value we provide to our customer (as with all of our customers) is the ability to focus on core business activities. Telecom and access connectivity is necessary for all enterprise organizations regardless of size; but it’s not strategic (until it stops working). As stated by the global head of IT infrastructure:

“Contrivian allows me to deal with IT, rather than the plumbing that sits underneath it all. The time Contrivian saves us in dealing with our network estate is incalculable … and that’s in addition to the actual cost savings and improved performance.”

Contrivian surveyed regional IT leaders post-implementation on a number of metrics; the weighted-average results of the survey follow.

53% reduction in overall telecom expenses

71% fewer connectivity-related support tickets

4.1X average increase in available bandwidth

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